Meet the Artists – Kristine, Roo, and Jill

Meet the Artists of the Mushroom Art Exhibit

Kristine Kirkeby, Dr. Roo Vandegrift, and Jill Bliss are three of the fifteen Artists featured in the Morning Glory Cafe Mushroom Art Exhibit sponsored by the Cascade Mycological Society.  If you would like to see their artwork along with many other Mushroom themed artworks, please visit the Cafe now through October 31st. Morning Glory Cafe is located at 450 Willamette St., Eugene, OR (next to the train station), Cafe hours are 7:30am-3:30pm.

Everyone who is a fan of the Mount Pisgah Arboretum Mushroom Festival should recognize these beautiful paintings by Kristine Kirkeby.  They are the artwork commissioned by the Mount Pisgah Arboretum for the Mushroom Festival posters and t-shirt designs.  If you would like to see these original paintings, stop by the Cafe.

kristine-kirkebyKristine Kirkeby is a freelance natural science illustrator, educated in biology and fine arts. She served as an illustrator, graphic designer, and photographer while Director of Biological Sciences Art Services at the University of Minnesota before beginning her freelance career. She works in acrylics, watercolors, scratchboard, and pastels. Subject matter includes lichens, birds, plants and mammals and has produced works for the fields of zoology, plant biology, genetics, biochemistry,  and archeology. Kris teaches nature drawing, drawing journals, and basic drawing classes in schools, colleges, and community art centers for students ages 4-84. She also designed and teaches K-12 curricula called Art and the Natural World. She lives in Eugene, Oregon. You may contact Kris at




You will find the artwork of Mycologist and artist Roo Vandegrift on the back wall of the Cafe which is dedicated to Educational Mushroom art. In addition to this original watercolor that depicts the reproductive structures of Ascomycete & Basidiomycete, Roo also has six blue and black ink drawings of microscopic mycorrhizal structures.

Dr. Roo Vandegrift was born in the Appalachian mountains of southwestern Virginia, but spent most of his childhood as an Air Force brat. He grew up in a succession of remarkably similarly boring military bases, set in remarkably interestingly diverse locations around the world, before his parents settled back in Virginia. Roo completed his undergraduate work at Virginia Tech, in Dr. RH Jones’ soil ecology lab, and then worked for several years at a venture capital funded biotech company, where he learned the meaning of “cut-throat” and “exit strategy.” Moving back to his roots, so to speak, he eventually decided on a career in fungal ecology.

Fortunately for us, Roo chose to begin his pursuit of a PHD in Mycology at the University of Oregon.  For the past five years, Roo has assisted with mushroom identification for the Mount Pisgah Arboretum Mushroom Festival.  As a recipient of a Freeman Roy Scholarship grant, CMS is fortunate to have been a small part of Roo’s success in receiving the first Doctorate of Mycology from the University of Oregon.

Roo is currently writing a taxonomic treatment of Ecuadorian cloud forest Xylaria mushrooms: fully illustrated by Roo, full dichotomous keys for identification, and a color photo supplement. This work will include around 50 species (including at least three species new to science, described for the first time in this book) and be one of the most comprehensive works on Xylaria this century, and certainly the best illustrated. You may contact Roo at 

Follow Roo’s progress at:


Jill Bliss

When you walk into the dining room of the Cafe you will probably say – “Ah, I have seen that before!” If you frequent any Mushroom or Lichen pages on Facebook or Pinterist you have surely seen Jill’s work; as it is often shared and re-shared by everyone who sees it. Now you will have the opportunity to see Jill’s work up close. She has two signed prints in the exhibit.

Jill Bliss is an artist, designer, photographer, and crafter who draws her inspiration from the natural world she immerses herself in by living off grid in the Salish Sea Islands. Jill spent her childhood years on a farm in northern California, before heading to the big cities of New York, San Francisco and Portland OR. Until she sold her house and most everything she owned for a year-long self-imposed sabbatical to reconnect with the slower natural pace of the life she adored as a child. That sabbatical year has stretched into several – she has been living, working, traveling and exploring amongst the Salish Sea islands of Canada & Washington State ever since.

Jill loves rainy days, overcast weather, moss, wild forests, rocky shorelines and remote rustic island living. She adores the natural world and handmade processes, both of which are evident in everything she creates.

Read more about Jill’s island life and see more of her artwork at her website  You will also find links to purchase her prints, note cards, stationary, planners, journals, t-shirts, mugs, and a soft cover book of her “Mushroom Medley” series.


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