Step by Step

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The Gyre

This is an idea I’ve entertained for quite some time: a print series about the Pacific Gyre and the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. To put it briefly, a whole lot of the stuff we throw out, especially plastics, winds up floating in the North Pacific. This is bad. It kills animals and fish. It destroys ecosystems. And it’s all our fault.

I finally hit upon the idea of showing a small marine world contained inside a plastic bottle. The prints will be a combination of linoleum block and monoprint. Here’s the master bottle being carved, along with three fish drawn on their blocks.
Plastic bottle and fish

Here are the fish carved and proofed. They are, clockwise from the top of the piece of paper, a surgeonfish, a mahi-mahi, a Pacific bonito, and a jack, all fish that are found in the region of the gyre.
Seeing how the fish look

Inside the plastic jug will be an undersea world – created entirely of plastic. I mean that literally and figuratively. I am using plastic trash to make the monoprints. In these drying backgrounds I’ve used plastic string bags that once held onions to create the netting.
Netting made from plastic bags

Future layers will be made using latex gloves, zip ties, bottle caps, coffee lids, and 6-pack rings (to name a few). I wasn’t even sure plastic 6-pack rings were still in use; living in California and not drinking beer in cans give one a limited view of such things. I was tickled, though not really, to find them today in my local grocery store. I remember my mother, way back when I was a small child, sternly telling my sisters and me that these rings should always be cut apart with scissors before they were thrown out, so birds and animals wouldn’t get caught in them. Frankly, I’m rather shocked that we haven’t figured out a better way, after all this time, to bind together our recreational beverages. But even though it’s evil, this set of rings will make great shapes on the prints. (And I will certainly cut them up and recycle them after printing.)
A six-pack with plastic rings

I’m hoping to have a few of these finished in time to be included in Ink | Paper | Print, the MPC Printmakers Club show at the Felix Kulpa gallery in August. Stay tuned!

p.s. This is the first time I’ve used my new Ternes-Burton registration pins. They are great! I have never had such accurate and easy registration before. If you are considering using them, I say go for it.

Catching Up

More days, more drawings. It’s a lot easier to make drawings than to upload them, especially since I go old-school and use a camera, not a phone, to take pictures of my drawings.

Oops! I forgot to take a picture of my drawing for April 6, which was just a doodle. I was in bed and tired and cranky, and said “The heck with it!” about doing a drawing, upon which Sarah-Hope handed me her sudoku book and pencil and said “Draw something!” So I did. Thank you, Sarah-Hope, for keeping me on track. I’ll post the image later.

Here is April 7th’s drawing. I would like to do a large ink and acrylic drawing/painting of this, like my blue-black paintings. It’s part of a meat grinder I picked up -where?- long ago.
Drawing of a meat grinder drill

April 8 is an idea for a linoleum block print, featuring a medieval city with multiple perspectives.
Drawing of a medieval city

April 9 is another idea for a linoleum block print, this one featuring agricultural workers picking strawberries.
Drawing of farm laborers picking strawberries

A Quick Sketch

The sketch for April 5, a quick drawing at a cafe.
A quick sketch of a man on the phone at a cafe

Now that I’m into this project, I’m itching to dig into a larger and more detailed drawing. After the weekend, I hope!!!

Two Days in One

Ah yes– sometimes it’s hard to keep up with your planned schedule. This week is turning out to be a bit hectic – art fair! print show! classroom presentation! dentist! baseball game! taxes! – and while I’m keeping up with my drawings, the posting might fall a bit behind.

So here are my drawings for April 3 and April 4, together in one blog post.

April 3 was a late-night, just-before-sleep sketch of the handiest model, our cat Maggie. Miss Maggie is a bit of a wiggle-worm, so things like perspective and relative sizes of head parts got a bit wonky. Although if you cover one of her eyes at a time, it looks more like her.
Maggie's portrait

Maggie does not look pleased with the results.
Maggie eyes her portrait

April 4’s drawing was also an evening affair. Here I play with ink and wash and some of my water-soluble colored pencils. This was fun!
Abstract drawing

Plus, you should be keeping up with Deb’s poetry postings. Yesterday’s was a gem.
Blessings on Pharoah

Plastic Does not Belong in Whales

Today’s drawing was done first thing in the morning, while I was drinking coffee. I had read the news last night that huge amounts of plastic were found in the stomachs of the 13 sperm whales who beached themselves in Schleswig-Holstein, Germany. And while the cause of death was actually their inability to find the calamari they feed on due to storms at sea, the existence of wads of human waste in their stomachs turned mine.

Whales swim through fields of plastic debris.

This is why I pester my young compatriots at work to recycle, recycle, recycle; it’s why, first thing in the morning, I take the copious amounts of plastic and glass out of the trash bins where people left it the night before and put it in the recycling bags. Because maybe my co-workers think it’s inconvenient to walk 3 feet to dispose of their plastic waste properly, but I bet it’s even more inconvenient for the animals with which we share the planet to suffer from eating that waste.

I’ve been meaning for a long time to do some prints about the Pacific gyre. It might be time.

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