Mushroom Tea I (WIP)

This week before Halloween seems a good a time as any to begin work on my barn owl.  This bird, who goes by the name of Owlivia at the local Wildlife Education and Rehabilitation Center, is paired with an Aynsley teacup (circa 1939) filled with trumpet mushrooms. I love the woodland magic of this combination – now to try and do it some justice with paint!

Mushroom Tea I (WIP)  1 - Marie Cameron 2015

Loose sketch in oil.

Mushroom Tea I (WIP)  2 - Marie Cameron 2015

Loose dark background.

Mushroom Tea I (WIP)  3 - Marie Cameron 2015

Blocking in the owl.

Mushroom Tea I (WIP)  4 - Marie Cameron 2015


Mushroom Tea I (WIP)  5 - Marie Cameron 2015


Mushroom Tea I (WIP)  6 - Marie Cameron 2015

Blocking in the table, feet and mushroom perch.

more tomorrow ( I hope) … the chainsaws are coming….

Mushroom Tea I (WIP)  7 - Marie Cameron 2015

The chainsaws were only intermittent today and I was able to really start laying in some details in my owl and work on the appropriate background contrast to really make her glow. In the white of her face there are lots of other hues – lavenders, blues, greens, ochers and rusts. It’s these subtle variations on white that create depth and volume and vitality.

Chainsaws came back for a few days to finish off the oak so I wasn’t able to complete the painting but at least I have the owl standing on a mushroom now instead of a pair of oversized gulab jamuns!

Brewing Mushroom Tea

Barn Owl W.E.R.C. Brewing up some mushroom magic in the studio!

It started with that gorgeous barn owl, “Owlivia” from  the Wildlife Education and Rehabilitation Center.  I knew I wanted to include her in my birds & teacups series so I took lots of pictures when I had the chance. Then I had to scout out a perfect teacup. I thought should be a in a woodland theme, maybe ferns or branches but when I saw the mushroom teacup by Aynsley of England (circa 1939 -) I knew I had found the perfect whimsical compliment to the owl. At first I arranged pink oyster mushrooms in the cup and while I love the color, I wanted to see what a stronger form would look like. In the end, I prefer the king oyster mushrooms which will help to make a more interesting composition.


Pink Mushroom Tea


Mushroom Teacup - Marie Cameron in studio


Mushroom Tea Reference


Mushroom Teacup Reference


Mushrooms showing some wear


Mushrooms turn out to be pretty fragile to  work with ….I ‘d better eat them up quickly!

For the Birds

With W.E.R.C. photo O Puohit 2015How exciting to run into the great volunteers from WERC – Wildlife Education and Rehabilitation Center and their amazing birds at Los Gatos Birdwatcher!

These birds either had an injury that meant they could not be released back into the wild or they had been imprinted by humans (as was the case with the acorn woodpecker who would be attacked by her own kind). These birds now serve as educational ambassadors in the community at schools and the like.

What a privilege to see these fascinating birds up so close and so glad I could take lots of photos for future reference. I’ve already picked up a mushroom teacup for the barn owl.


Volunteers at W.E.R.C. photo Marie Cameron 2015

WERC’s friendly volunteers.  Did you know that owls can’t move their eyes?

Acorn Woodpecker W.E.R.C. photo Marie Cameron 2015

Acorn Woodpecker

Peregrine Falcon W.E.R.C. photo Marie Cameron 2015

Peregrine Flacon

Great Horned Owl W.E.R.C. photo Marie Cameron 2015

Great Horned Owl

Pygmy Owl W.E.R.C. photo Marie Cameron 2015

Pygmy Owl

Screech Owl W.E.R.C. photo Marie Cameron 2015

Screech Owl

Barn Owl W.E.R.C. photo Marie Cameron 2015

Barn Owl