Saturday, May 15, 2021


I haven't posted here in a while. not because I haven't been painting, but because I have been exploring other mediums. However, after buying Dan Massad's Palmer Museum retrospective catalogue/monograph I thought I might like to try a stark image against a  black background - something I hadn't done before. I found a striking image of fungus, by Mick Grant, and secured his permission to use it.

This is the initial sketch and scribbled infill using pastel pencils on a grid drawn only where the image will sit.

Much of the caps is completed using a variety of soft pastels, Rembrandt, Sennelier, and Roché, and a contrasting black background is filled in using pastel pencils around the edges of the mushrooms, with Rembrandt black pastel sharpened to a point.

I started work on the stems, using mostly Rembrandt grey, blue grey, mouse grey, and green grey, and extended the black background.

The background is extended fully and I began to cover the slightly greasy Rembrandt black with the softer, more matt, but also more dusty Roché black.

The bottom of the painting is not black, but very dark green, on which the mossy ground is painted.
"Fungus" © Niall O'Neill

This is the palette, colour chart, or "nuancier" that I used. It is quite extensive for such an apprently simple subject.

I framed the finished painting behind museum glass. It measures 14 x 11 inches, or 35.5 x 28 cms, and is painted on Clairefontaine Pastelmat.