Saturday, November 20, 2010


Tapeworm 8" X 9" drypoint etching on Rives Heavyweight paper. Trial proof.

Been in a bit of a bad temper lately. This one's been brewing for a while and is rooted in some mid-life issues about success, failure, hopes and disappointments and some big and seemingly unresolvable conflicts. These moods are cyclical and will usually pass if I just wait long enough but nothing beats back a bad mood like creating something repulsive and pointless. Sort of a spread-the-wealth kind of thing.

I was in the hardware store buying some things for the house and saw they had some sheets of rolled aluminum. 6" X 18" and fairly thin. I took one home, cut it down to about a 6"X 8" size and scratched in this tapeworm using a metal point. I printed a few test copies so I could mess with the press and see how aluminum prints.

This is sort of a made-up tapeworm; somewhat in-between what a taenia solium (pork tapeworm) and dog tapeworm or flatfish tapeworm would look like. They all have fairly complex life cycles passing through multiple requisite hosts. Sometimes pausing forever if stuck in the body of the wrong host. The small end has little hooks and suckers to attach to the lining of the intestine and it slowly grows new segments, elongating segment by segment and can reach 20-30 ft (13m) in length. They don't actually suck blood from the wall of the intestine or stomach but absorb nutrients from the lumen of the intestine through the walls of the segments. Each segment has it's own digestive and reproductive tract and by the time the little segments fragment off and pass through the gut out of the body, they are little time-bomb sacs of eggs waiting to be ingested by the next host to start a new cycle.
Human carriers are usually asymptomatic unless infected by multiple worms that can then cause malnutrition by absorbing so many calories (rare) or severe anemia from B12 deficiency--the worm absorbs all the B12 from the gut(more common). In the cyst stage the pork tapeworm can cause all sorts of medical illness; the cysts can form in the muscle, internal organs and brain and are a common cause of adult-onset seizures in nations where incompletely cooked pork are consumed.

But, as I said, this is more of a metaphorical tapeworm.

What kind of nastiness are you carrying inside?

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Feathered Visitors

Another odd visit yesterday from a group of four California Quail; two adult males and two juveniles (one didn't feel like hopping up onto the trunk). They were in the back yard looking for bugs and tolerated my presence for a good half-hour.
Surprisingly they were chased away by a squirrel. Walnut in mouth, the squirrel really chased them up and down the tree, off the lawn and didn't quit until they flew away.
We have lots of Quail in the brush of the wilder areas but as we have a fenced yard they've never ventured in before nor have I seen them in the neighborhood.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Jajim: Blues 1 and 2

Monoprints again. I went back into the studio to try and finish these two prints I had started several months back. I had started with an acetate/plexiglass drypoint--the lines scratched into the plexiglass sheet with a metal point. Printed in black on RIVES BFK paper.
Then I started in with blue ink, painted onto the plate with a brush to start giving it some color.

With this session I went back in again painting in the vertical blue stripes with different tonalities of blue ink; mostly Pthalo Blue and some cobalt/ultramarine.
I tried to vary the color a bit with each stripe. and built up the color with two to three layers, each time running them through the press.

The background had been loosely brushed onto the plate and run through the press but I added a rose/quinacradone pink/rose halo around the tapestry part and blurred the edges to make it glow a bit.

Lastly, as my ends had smudged quite a bit, I painted in with a brush and some sumi black ink and white opaque watercolor the black and white trim.

I like the one with the big blue smudge the best--the blues are smokier and richer and the pink/rose really glows due to it being printed on too-wet paper and resisting a bit the paper so it has a mottled/irregular effect that was as accidental as it was serendipitous. I still can't really say I have a grip on the Akua colors--I was using monotype colors--or the press. I'll try to work a little smaller to facilitate some more experiments. Dry paper/wet paper/wetter or dryer ink. Mostly I'm having trouble with lots of smudging at the edges--it may be the nature of the method. The paper and inked plate qet squished together and unless the ink layer is very thin, it has to go somewhere. In my case it seems to be going out the sides.