Various mushroom species

Of course, the first things I thought of using in my mandalas were mushrooms. I have a really unreasonable number of mushroom photos, and they seemed like they would make great mandala fodder. It turns out that they are generally rather tricky to use, especially since you can't select just the mushroom with a transparent background - you're stuck with whatever is in the background of the photo, for better or worse.

This one started with an image of a maiden's hair fern, still barely visible in the center of the image. I really liked the effect of the long horns of the club fungus reaching all the way to the edges, as well as the effect of the rings of moss in the center.

This was my first experience with "finding" a pattern in the mandala that I had not intentionally tried to capture from the photo. I had intended the club fungus to be the focus of the mandala, but the moss really makes the most interesting patterns.

I couldn't resist playing more with the lovely white spires of the club fungus, though. I think the pattern in the center is a definite improvement over its predecessor. This one has also had its symmetry "fixed" in photoshop. The "cut line" is noticable if you look carefully. (Hint: it's a diagnal.) To get a perfectly symmetrical pattern, I'd need to use an even number of divisions - say, 8 or 12 - and for whatever reason I think the 7's, 9's, 11's and 13's give the best mandalas.

This was by far the most successful of many, MANY attempts at using both mushrooms and the "copy the Contour layer" trick. I eventually decided that most mushrooms were ill suited for this purpose, with the execption of the Amanita muscaria featured in the pages to follow.

The Mycena is actually featured much more prominantly in this mandala than this little guy (which I think is a very tiny Lepiota but I'm honestly not sure). The Mycena (and its lichenous background) will show up again in later mandalas, so I put the photo of the little parasol mushroom here.

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