February 16, 2024: Lisa Loucks-Christenson's Minnesota Fungi, Volume One (2023) and Minnesota Fungi: Blue Lichens, Volume 2 (2024)

February 16, 2024: Lisa Loucks-Christenson's Minnesota Fungi, Volume One (2023) and Minnesota Fungi: Blue Lichens, Volume 2 (2024)

Lisa Loucks-Christenson Minnesota Fungi books

Lisa Loucks-Christenson's Minnesota Fungi, Volume One (2023) and Minnesota Fungi: Blue Lichens, Volume 2 (2024) 


By Lisa Loucks-Christenson

One of the most fascinating aspects of being in nature is the chance to stumble upon rare species, making it an incredibly rewarding experience to spend time outdoors. Throughout my experiences, I have had the opportunity to witness and capture photographs of numerous instances of them. Whitewater offered me an unforgettable experience as I crossed paths with various wildlife species. The presence of cougars, who seemed to seek me out rather than the other way around, left a lasting impression. Additionally, I had the privilege of observing a magnificent black bear, a venomous massasauga rattlesnake, and the enchanting Karner Blue butterfly. Furthermore, the landscape showcased an abundance of beauty, with colorful Blue Bonnets and a stunning variety of trout lilies, ranging from petite blossoms to impressive Jack-in-the-pulpits. As I made my way through the canary grass, I felt like I was wading through a forest of giants.

A year ago, I decided to challenge myself creatively by participating in "Funguary," a winter art challenge focused on capturing the beauty of fungi. The finished book became a best-seller, and I've revisited the illustrations several times this past year, each time appreciating their intricate details.

Once again, I decided to take on the art challenge this year. In order to complete the second volume, I had to capture countless shots of lichen, molds, mushrooms, and fungi. I created hundreds of images to use for my reference photos. The 4x4 inch book I chose doesn't provide enough space for me to comfortably lay down my colored pencils, unlike other paper choices.

Instead of fixating on the names of species, my goal this year is to immerse myself in the sights and sounds of the environment. I'm considering adding an index in a future revision, just to help readers find what they need more easily. This volume is about creating fungi art. My drawing style for this year is a folk art style, achieved by layering different shades of pencils to create a crayon-like effect when blended. This work doesn't quite meet my expectations, but I can take comfort in knowing that in just fourteen days, I can close the book on it and never have to use that paper again.

The blue lichens caught my attention, prompting me to delve deeper into their appearance through investigation and drawing. They are reminiscent of the mythical "red fern," a spectacle I had always dreamed of witnessing, and now I finally have. From delicate baby blue to vibrant aqua and mesmerizing turquoise, the "hard-to-find" species presents a breathtaking array of colors.


It's a stroke of luck that it's leap year, adding to the list of rare events. The prevailing theme this year is all about embracing the extraordinary, venturing into the uncommon, and surpassing the expectations of a typical February. The title of my book, Minnesota Fungi: Blue Lichens, reflects the specific focus on these captivating organisms found in the state. It possesses a rareness that is hard to find elsewhere. It stands out from the rest. It's a joy to have the chance to create something special that happens only every four years: I'll complete an extra drawing, publish the ebook version on Amazon, and showcase the art and merchandise at the Peacock Book & Wildlife Art bookstore. 


See you on the next adventure.


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Lisa Loucks-Christenson