August 09, 2010

Wealth With Half a Dollar...

When I was growing up, a regular part of my summer vacations, after we came to Canada, were the trips of discovery my parents and I took together.  Each year, for eight years or so, we packed up the car with camping gear and headed off for two or three weeks, each year to a different part of the States or Canada.  We spent the days driving, stopping randomly at worthy points of interest, and spent each night in a different place.
Over a series of successive summers we covered the deep south, the East Coast, the mid-west, the west coast, and northern BC up to Alaska.  Throughout those years, we picked up a lot of memories and a lot of random souvenirs:  an Aunt Jemima dinner bell from Louisiana, a small Navajo mat from a Stuckey's (of all places) in Texas, a turquoise and silver ring from New Mexico. 

Clearly, judging from the plethora of gift shops in most tourist places, most travelers have the urge to pick up little mementos of the trips they take, things that will, in future years when the traveling is done, bring back the sense of the place they came from.  Even now, all grown up, I still fall prey to the souvenir urge.  I still want to bring back that special "something" from our excursions although, these days, it's rare those special somethings come from any store. 

For example, these are my souvenirs from our trip to the Oregon coast:

  1. Two large mussel shells from the beach at Depoe Bay (the photo doesn't do full justice to the beautiful blue glints inside)
  2. A speckled palm-friendly rock from the beach at Oceanside
  3. The fragment of a sand dollar from the beach at Seaside
The sand dollar is my favourite.  First of all because of all the others scattered around on the sand, this one was the only one that had, still, kept it's darker gray colouring.  All the others had already faded out and the markings were harder to see.  Second, because of the markings. They're like tree branches or arteries or something and really appeal to me.  

In fact, I'm totally fascinated by the thing. Such a small thing, yet the intricacy of design is amazing!

I want to try to capture it so I've done a couple of sketches:
in pen,

 and in pencil crayon.

But the true test will be whether or not I can, successfully, turn it into a relief print.  Is it even possible to accurately transfer that fantastic texture to relief without having to make the print a giant one?  
I should really be working on the block I have ready from a couple of months ago, another floral.  But I wasn't happy at all with the way my last one turned out so here I am, turning my attention to something that might prove even more frustrating.  Then again, maybe not.  That's always the gamble and the pull, isn't it?


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