I am passionate about mushrooms and have been collecting them to paint and eat for over 50 years. The shapes and colours are so extraordinary and the fact that some are sublimely delicious and others incredibly poisonous adds to their mystery and surprise. I was commissioned to produce a set of paintings of fungi to be found on the client’s land in the Chiltern Hills. None are very rare but the paintings are intended to make the viewer focus on their bizarre beauty. I lead fungus forays in the autumn for friends and clients which are considerably more fun than they sound.
I organise them like a treasure hunt, with teams and prizes. Children are far better at spotting fungi than adults, and they quickly get into the spirit of the thing. The cost of taking children on a day out to an adventure park is simply eye-watering but for a value-for-money great day out, there really is not much better than a walk in the countryside which is also a treasure hunt, ending with a great pub lunch and (with luck) a basket of wild mushrooms for a superb risotto dinner? A commission like these (12 by 18 inches) would be about £500 each, but mushrooms are seasonal and there could be a wait to find the right specimens.