Sunday, October 25, 2015

Alice fell down the hole

There I was hovering over this great mole hole in search of the right dirt (for making paint) when I  slipped into the other realm. I suddenly noticed mushrooms all around me. There were tall ones, skinny ones, white ones, yellow ones, orange ones and ones that looked like sponges.  The reptilian brain remembered you could make spore prints at certain times of the year. After a short internet search I was off to the pasture with my school lunch tray papered with my precious kozo paper - smooth side up.  I was glad the cat who has recently adopted me went along. It makes talking out loud more acceptable when bubbles of excitement burble out of me.

Of course this doesn't mean I didn't freak out the new neighbor. He is always watching us. When he saw me slowly make my way over the pasture "deep in search mode" he was on alert. He could not make sense out was why I was carrying a hors d'oeuvre tray and looking down at the ground. His curiosity finally got the better of him so he sent the dog over. Now he had my attention!(due to my new friend the cat) Thanks to inbreeding it was a non-issue between the species. Talk about dumb as dirt! The dog that is and his owner, possibly only a few steps behind. So, he looks at the tray and asks, "them edible?" I respond, "I have no idea. I am simply doing a photo shoot today and later I will be doing spore printing." I am still giggling at how his eyebrows touched his hairline and his mouth agap. When I said I would be using them in my artwork he was totally dumbstruck to the point of sputtering.

I can't imagine what he would say if he knew just the day before I was painting egg yolk and DIRT. I couldn't help but cackle as Yum Yum, the cat and I turned back to our searching. I wished I was wearing my black Halloween cape so I could shout - "And I make brushes out of a horse hair and feathers from birds too! Tell your little dog Toto to watch out - I liked his stiff little whiskers!" cackle-cackle.

 I KNOW, it's a bit absurd but seriously - there is beauty all around us. Just look at these beauties.

 This little bundle looks like chocolate cups filled with white chocolate and sprinkles. Farther down you can see the little eggs. Someone should use this inspiration to do a marzipan Yule log for the holidays!

 I will warn you - this type Boletes, I believe, turn to a withering pile of mush at about the 36th hour of the printmaking process. I kid you not. Future experiments will all be done in a uninhabited distant 'out building'.

 These giant ones below were discovered in the parking strip at Costco not far from the homeless encampment. I hope I didn't ruin someone's weekend plans. I think I have identified them properly as Amanita muscaria. These huge specimens are hallucinogenic, not to mention toxic. No doubt the reason they are so pretty. Can't you hear them saying pick me - pick me? They have white spores making them a little harder to capture, but we will see. Let me assure you I have no intention of eating, indulging or consuming any of these specimens. I am already crazy enough. I will coat any print specimens to assure no transmittal too.

 This little mess is a rusting experiment that I had going at the same time. I have placed paper, paper toweling, metal, tea bags, salt  and leaves into a bundle and placed into a Ziplock bag. I then put it in my press (old laminator).

I call all these little experiments - Field Study. It goes right along with my dirt study and prior to that the weed study. All of it relates to understanding the natural resources on this parcel of land and the connections between the various pieces. All in hopes of developing a better appreciation for the land and those things that live on it and in it.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Sense of Place

This past month we drove over 5,700 miles through 6 states. As we traveled along I collected surface soils (earth pigments).  The wide open spaces of Montana, Wyoming, the Dakotas and Idaho have a few things in their favor - dirt, rocks, color and sky. I am not sure what will come of all this collecting, recording and experimenting.  I can't help but think these little jars represent "a place" when I read the label I affixed to the jars. Images of those colorful hills come to mind. Here at home in the Northwest, where everything is covered up by plentiful vegetation, the contrast between this place and the places those little jars represent is great. The contrast between 'here' and 'there' is as equally great when it comes to the people, foods, politics and religion.  In fact, I am having a difficult time recalibrating my inner "sense of place" and sense of peace too. I worry for the future of the land.

I have crushed and sorted the material using a mortar and pestle (found at Home Goods)
and sieves from the Asian grocery store - H-Mart.
Yet again more kitchen tools used inappropriately? 

 I am attempting to experiment with various binders - egg, glue, walnut oil and
Gum Arabic (assuming I can somehow get the lid off!)
Will there be vast differences in effect? Adhesion?
How will this 'paint' be used?

 The pigments below were purchased from the Sioux Trading post in Rapid City, S.D. 
They were hand dug from the Northern Cheyenne Reservation in Montana.  

What will come of all these natural colors?


I did find it hard to journal as the truck bounced along over the back roads
but at least I have clues about our adventure.
(well, I also have 2490 photos, but some taken at 70 miles per hour. I like to test the limits of my IA).
Now we are home with the plumbing acting up, skies grey and the rain pelting down, it is getting harder and harder to remember the 'light'.