Woodland Wildlife Paintings on Fungi

Black Bear on Phellinus rimosus If you love Appalachian wildlife, I can’t think of a better way to display it than on a Phellinus rimosus, fungus! The fungus grows like a shelf on Black Locust trees, and when broken off can make a This is how it looks growing out of a tree. beautiful upright surface to paint images on. It is as if it was made for this very purpose. Even the back of the fungus is a beautiful, natural, bark-like surface. From Setting upright showing flat surface what I have seen, they most commonly grow about 5-7 inches by 7-9 inches, although they can grow much larger. I have been commissioned a couple times to paint pictures on these, and it’s Whitetail in snowscapebeen a pleasure every time. Since this artwork cannot be easily reproduced, each original is especially valuable. I’m hoping to be able to paint on some of these to put up for sale here on our website some time. We’ll see.

Beginning stages Progress Details Finished picture

17 Comments

  1. Everett March 31, 2010 at 6:02 pm #

    !!!!!! I didn’t know you painted! I WANT ONE!

  2. Tim Hynes April 1, 2010 at 4:59 am #

    What a beautiful and creative idea.

  3. Tammy Richards April 1, 2010 at 9:27 am #

    Very creative and just beautiful!

  4. James April 6, 2010 at 1:32 pm #

    That looks like so much fun to create!

  5. Crystal April 6, 2010 at 2:19 pm #

    That’s amazing! I had no idea anybody could paint on such a surface. Does it have to be pretreated prior to being painted on?

  6. Michael H. Staddon of West Virginia April 8, 2010 at 1:35 pm #

    I seal the surface before painting. Otherwise the paint would soak in too much and it would be harder to get a vivid image. If anyone would like me to do one, feel free to contact me. They’re typically only $200 to $800 each right now, depending on the size of the fungus. Most of what I have right now in stock and ready to be painted are on the small size.

  7. Donald April 8, 2010 at 2:46 pm #

    I know those take a lot of time Michael and you can’t do many but it is a great idea to picture them in a post. They can’t be illegally reproduced very well 🙂 By the way, creativity is the character quality of the month for this Wisdom Booklet! Thank you for your example.

  8. Karen April 24, 2012 at 11:48 am #

    I have painted on glass for years, but someone has asked me to paint on fungi. What do you seal yours with and do you use acrylic, enamel or oil paint on yours?

  9. Michael April 26, 2012 at 8:08 am #

    Karen, I use acrylic paint. I found a clear water based polyurethane effective at sealing the surface prior to painting.

  10. Karen May 3, 2012 at 1:39 pm #

    Michael, would gesso work the same as a sealer on the fungi?

  11. Michael May 4, 2012 at 8:25 am #

    You know, I haven’t tried it, but I think it should work. Sometimes the face of the fungi can be cracked, and if you don’t want the cracks, gesso may have the added advantage of helping fill them. Let me know how it goes!

  12. Karen May 4, 2012 at 3:58 pm #

    I will, and thanks for your help.

  13. Karen May 31, 2012 at 5:48 pm #

    Michael, I wanted to let you know that I did indeed use clear gesso on the two fungi I painted. I applied two coats allowing them to dry 24 hrs. in between. It worked just fine and the painting was easy. I used acrylics and I sprayed them with a sealer when I was done. One was of a lake sunset, the other a shepard, both meaningful to the person requesting them.

  14. michelle November 29, 2012 at 5:15 pm #

    you have some amazing talent! I just got a fungi today – and I want to paint it BUT – what are the steps that you do to get it ready for painting. sealing it etc. any help would be great. and how long does one have to wait before it can be painted?

  15. Michael November 30, 2012 at 4:52 pm #

    Hi Michelle, thank you for your complement. I’ve been inspired by a lot of really excellent artists!
    I think it is important for the fungus to be fully dry before it is used. Some fungi may crack a little as they dry, especially if they were moist when harvested. I expect the time relates to the size and thickness; its a lot like drying a piece of wood. If you cannot feel any moisture to the touch, it is probably dry enough.
    When the fungus is dry, and before you paint on it, it is a good idea to seal the painting surface with clear gesso like Karen described, or as I have used, some clear non-yellowing water-based polyurethane. This prevents the paint from soaking into the pores of the fungus. The instructions and drying times for these should come with them. Acrylic and oil paints both work well.
    This link might be helpful: http://www.wikihow.com/Prime-a-Canvas

  16. brian starcher April 20, 2013 at 7:33 am #

    i was wondering who i could sell these fungi ‘s too i have several different sizes iam a logger and i can get all kinds if u can help me that would be great i can send pictures thanks

  17. Tomasa Ornellas September 30, 2015 at 3:10 pm #

    Awesome posts here! Really cool posts. Good job!

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