August 3rd 2010

I thought I'd post my first painting for "The Dazzle", an upcoming group exhibition at Narwhal Art Projects, because it's already up on the gallery's site.

I've been working on this series for months, and am having so much fun using oils. I've been wanting to do this project for a long time. I used this idea for a couple of grant proposals back in the winter of last year. I had decided that I wanted to create a series of animal paintings, covered in cordyceps; a genus of fungi that act as a parasite.
The parasite normally attacks an insect host, but I thought it would be interesting to create studies of mammals with the same infliction. The spores enter the system of a creature, take over it's nervous system and drive it upwards to high ground. When the parasite finally takes over, killing the host, the spores are released into the air, (by way of breaking out of the body), and begin to search for the next victim. (Gruesome!)

As I began to study these fungi, I had the strangest reaction to the image reference I was coming up with. The photos can be quite grotesque, while at the same time strangely beautiful. The formations created by these spores erupting from the host are delicate and intricate, and look a bit like lace. I wanted to try to create paintings that portrayed this strange beauty in the same way that I was seeing them.

There will be four other paintings finished for this show. I'll post the others closer to the date of the show, which is September 9th 2010.


  1. wow, how wonderfully creepy and strange. I love it!

  2. ahh! so beautiful Melinda!
    I thought it was frost at first that had taken its life, and now that I read your description, it is far more interesting than frost.
    I love your extreme attention to detail.

  3. Thank you Katherine, Celine and Anthony!
    Celine, I love that you saw frost in them! I was hoping that people would see other patterns and things in them, (like frost, or lace maybe).

  4. I love this painting, very pretty... and an interesting idea to base a show on. (I just looked it up and this fungi is kind of scary!)

    Do you think you'll ever be selling prints of this particular mouse painting? I really love it and would consider purchasing a print should you choose to make them available in the future. :)

  5. Thank you, Rachelle.
    I may sell prints after the originals have sold, but not until then. I can always let you know if and when I decide to, though. If you're interested, send me a message via my website.
    Thanks again!

  6. ohhh this is so lovely!

  7. So delicate and still. They make me feel like I've been stumbling around a cold forest and have stopped to be with just this little mouse.

    Thank you!

  8. This is amazing. Just this morning, by chance, I was reading The Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Mushrooms. It was sitting on my parents' coffee table. I was captivated by the science and the method behind parasitic and mycorrhizal mushrooms. These things, mushrooms, fungi feeding on dead organic matter or living organisms, I find so delicious. Mushrooms are tasty, yet eerily disquieting. These paintings do an amazing job of capturing the feeling I had while reading of hyphae and mycelia. The paintings are grim, yet elegant and graceful. I can't wait to see them in person.

  9. These are beautiful paintings. Congratulations on your upcoming shows!