I'm drawn to pattern as it relates to function. The rings of wood grain and scales on a fish are not only pleasing to look at, but serve a purpose. These works are examples of using different processes that play off water's own properties of surface tension, capillary action and polarity. In this way, I can let water speak for itself. These watery abstracts are then populated with organisms whose forms reflect their fluid-filled homes.



Trompe l'oeil of the Cyanotype or Blueprinting Process (Gouache)


One process I am attracted to is cyanotyping or blueprinting, invented in 1842 by Sir John Herschel on a quest for creating color photography. A photosensitive solution of ferric ammonium citrate and  potassium ferricyanide is prepared and used to coat a paper surface. A specimen is then placed on the treated paper and flattened with a piece of glass before being exposed to a UV light source. The image is then placed in a stop bath of only water, rinsing away unexposed solution and oxidizing the iron from 2+ to 3+ to create the characteristic Prussian blue pigment. An acquaintance of Herschel, was Anna Atkins who used his photography process to create gorgeous images of marine algae. The cheap price of production and few toxic chemicals made this process appealing for quick reproductions of technical drawings and was used by architects and engineers to create their iconic style 'blueprints'.



Suminagashi is another process with ancient Japanese origins. Translating to "floating ink" it was used as a paper marbling technique by alternating drops of ink onto a surface of water. The density of the ink is less than that of water and when applied correctly spreads atop of the surface exposing the movement and flow of water underneath. A piece of paper is then placed on top, and the tiny fibers create an absorbent surface where capillary action allows the ink to transfer a single moment in time.