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Ron Karley


I have made a speciality of painting fungi for over fifty years. My first encounter was at the age of fourteen, when I collected an assortment of species from Fairmile Common in Surrey and displayed these in the classroom for a school project. I then produced a series of paintings of these fungi to add to the display. Since then, I have painted in Surrey, Devon, and especially in Dorset since 1992, after retiring from my post as Headteacher. I have produced many paintings since then and I sell regularly at shows, exhibitions demonstrations and galleries. Prints are also available, together with a series of greetings cards. The fungi are depicted together with their immediate environment of autumn leaves, mosses, lichens and woodland or grassland debris. Several fungi species are often included in one painting. I am a regular exhibitor at Dorset Art Weeks, when my wife Dorothy and I turf all our front room furniture into the back of the cottage and set the front room up as a gallery and demonstration area. During this event,I demonstrate my fungi painting and Dorothy paints her favourite subject, flowers, especially wild flowers from our own wildlife garden.

The fungi are collected in the autumn, using gouache and watercolours, with species grouped together that I find growing in proximity, or in the same habitat. Because the season is short, only the fungi are painted initially, the detailed backgrounds being added later, when the fungi season has finished. This way, I can complete many more compositions than would be the case if I tried to finish the paintings one at a time. As with the fungi, all the background material is painted directly from life - photographs or other illustrations are never used. I prefer not to work with preliminary sketches or pencil. This results in a gradual build-up of the painting, judging where best to place the various features as I go. This approach works well for me - although it can go wrong!

The material for the background is faithful to the species of fungi depicted. Essential, as many have specific habitats or only grow associated with one species of tree. I press leaves, collect twigs, bark, needles, etc from each habitat, and maintain a simple moss garden to avoid collecting mosses from the wild. I know of no one else who keeps a pile of dead leaves, bracken and assorted bits of trees in the dining room cupboard!

I visit art clubs in the autumn to provide demonstrations and fungi painting sessions.

My favourite area for finding fungi at present is Puddletown Forest, a marvellous habitat with both common and rare species found, and within walking distance of my home. With so many autumn hours spent creeping about in the undergrowth, I wonder how long it will be before I get arrested!

Please visit the gallery by clicking on the link below


All originals are painted on acid free paper using gouache. Mounts and frames are individually chosen to compliment each painting. Almost all are "landscape" any "portrait" will be indicated. All dimensions in mm.

Events Diary

Meet me and see my display of paintings and cards. A demonstration is usually provided.

Saturday 13th May and Sunday 14th May. Old School Village Hall, Upwey, Dorset. 9am to 5pm.
Ron will be there with a display of originals, prints and cards.

Saturday 20th May to Sunday June 4th. 10am to 4pm daily. Roller Cottage,Lower Bockhampton, Dorchester. DT2 8PZ.
OPEN FOR ART. Open Studios.
Meet Ron and Dorothy at home where they will display Ron's fungi paintings and Dorothy's flower paintings and collages, at ancient Roller Cottage. Prints, cards and tea towels all featuring their art. Demonstrations of painting throughout the sixteen days. Venue number two in the OPEN FOR ART free brochure, which is available at hotels, attractions, surgeries, etc, in Portland, Weymouth and Dorchester areas.

Contact Details

Ron Karley
Roller Cottage
Lower Bockhampton
Dorset DT2 8PZ
01305 261426

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