Where some see the dead, bug-munched, rotting fall leaf, botanical artist Bryony Wynne-Jones captures the lace and beauty.
“It’s all natural history. Anything that grows or flies,” she explains of her craft. “It’s exciting but also incredibly peaceful.”
The watercolour creations, drawn then layered in colour called to her decades ago in Britain.
“I thought I could do that … so I turned it into a career,” said the 43-year Victoria resident. “I’m very, very happy teaching it and doing it. You’re nose-to-nose with toadstools and feathers.
“It’s also always available. You don’t have to wait for a model or a sunset.”
The James Bay resident prowls for filmy leaves and lurking fungi and feathers in Ross Bay Cemetery or Beacon Hill Park. She shares her talent at Monterey Recreation Centre where she has been teaching for the last 19 years.
“I’m learning from my students even more than they’re learning from me,” Wynne-Jones said, adding there’s a renewed North American interest in the work. “It takes patience but it’s almost like meditation. You end up almost like a little bug creeping along the mushroom.”
The greatest joy is in the finding, whether it’s out hunting up something to draw, or simply on a walk.
“Stumbling on things and the anticipation of setting it up,” she said. “Being at one with nature, as schmaltzy as that sounds … it’s my thrill.”
Explore the shapes textures and smells of her favourite subject, mushrooms, as Wynne-Jones leads the Monterey Recreation workshop Watercolour Mushrooms – Fabulous Fungi.
“I love all the botanicals but I’m crazy about mushrooms,” she said.
Wynne-Jones will take participants through the process of drawing and rendering in colour. Supplies required.
Fabulous Fungi runs Nov. 15 from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Register at the recreation centre, 1442 Monterey Ave. or at recreation.oakbay.ca online.