Dry as a Bone

Being a naturalist I tend to celebrate the end of the year with the harvest at the end of October. The earth quiets down waiting for winter and the cold days to come. I took a walk very early this morning in Topanga Canyon, where I go a few times a year, to see how things were wrapping up for fall. Although I know California is going through an extreme drought it was sobering to see how dry it really was. 

Bleached out.

Bleached out.

From the ridge. Looking lush until you look below the canopy.

From the ridge. Looking lush until you look below the canopy.

Even in the cool hollows of the trail where there is always just a faint patch of mossy rock to be found it was bone dry. Dusty and gray. The areas where I always see the trap door spider homes that I did a piece about a few years back was cracked and barren. The eucalyptus leaves hung sadly and the dust rose around me like a cloud when a jogger passed by. There were two deer at the entrance to the trail munching on something, but I couldn't imagine what it was since I only saw a single plant that actually seemed fresh and green. I know the plants here store water for years, but lately it must be a struggle.

 

Dry hollow.

Dry hollow.

Drooping Eucalyptus

Drooping Eucalyptus

The only fresh green I saw.

The only fresh green I saw.

Although the trail was dry, the morning sun still lit up our beautiful canyon plants and somehow even the dry branches seem to glow. As I exited the trail I noticed a new information area outlining the animals of the area, and I was dismayed to the the deer tick is now in the LA canyons. I watch carefully for scorpions, tarantulas and snakes, but now to keep an eye out for that nearly invisible monster seems too much. I guess every living thing here is looking for something to drink!

More info here about the drought and how to conserve water.

Golden stalks.

Golden stalks.

The former home of the funnel web spiders.

The former home of the funnel web spiders.

Critter trails.

Critter trails.

Iceplant

The other day I ran a piece of iceplant through the little press to test the limits of 3d objects. It was a little hard to crank but I think when I bolt the press to a table it can handle some soft 3d objects nicely. It squashed the iceplant well and there was a nice bright green imprint and splatter. I left the print lying around for a few days and most of the green turned a rusty brown like dried blood. 

Day Two Printing By the Shore

Once again I set up by the Philip's camper by the shore. They were kind enough to store my press inside for the night so it wouldn't get rusty, and give me a choice shady spot for a really sunny day. It was amazing to just hear the surf and feel the breeze. As printmakers we are often in enclosed shops with our large heavy equipment so this "plein air" printing was a treat.

The morning swim's haul.

The morning swim's haul.

LIve, dying, and dead seaweed.

LIve, dying, and dead seaweed.

Pam printing.

Pam printing.

Phili and Pam with their prints.

Phili and Pam with their prints.

More prints of the day. They ended up looking a lot like cyanotypes. We were inspired by the blue of the sea I guess!

More prints of the day. They ended up looking a lot like cyanotypes. We were inspired by the blue of the sea I guess!


Mobile Indelible Press @ Carlsbad Beach

Inspired by the wonderful Drive By Press, who travel around the country with an etching press in the back of a truck printing woodblock prints on tee shirts, I decided to take my little press on the road south for a few days to Carlsbad while visiting my friends that are camping here. In the regular vein of my work, I was interested to record the mark of the natural world around me while traveling through it. You can't get a better studio view than this!

My picnic table printing set up and seaweed from my morning swim.

My picnic table printing set up and seaweed from my morning swim.

Kelp ( I think ) ready to print.

Kelp ( I think ) ready to print.

Rolling up the kelp with some ink.

Rolling up the kelp with some ink.

Ready to run through the press. 

Ready to run through the press. 

The final image.  I like how it looks like some ancient viking helmet.

The final image.  I like how it looks like some ancient viking helmet.

Sandy pulling some prints while lunch is served. Just goes to show you- you don't need a lot of space!

Sandy pulling some prints while lunch is served. Just goes to show you- you don't need a lot of space!

Paul pulling a sand print.

Paul pulling a sand print.

The sand plate. Looks good against the light too.

The sand plate. Looks good against the light too.

After printing we went back to our hotel. The heaviest item in the room helped to flatten the prints nicely.

After printing we went back to our hotel. The heaviest item in the room helped to flatten the prints nicely.

Prints of the session.

Prints of the session.