Wednesday, February 17, 2016

February Blossoming Wildflowers

These wildflowers, a type of Spathe, bloom in February. Even in the snow, the unique blossoms of the Skunk Cabbage Symplocarpus foetidus, pop up in marshy areas of the Northeast. I like to go to the Quogue Wildlife Refuge and observe them. The root system generates heat and melts the snow. The bright green leaves come later. The name is from the look of the leaves. They resemble cabbage, and if you disturb or cut them, they have an awful odor. Since the Wildlife Refuge gives us a boardwalk to keep us out of the muck, you are not likely to experience this odor. I never have.

"Skunk Cabbage," colored pencil on vellum, 12" x 12"

"Skunk Cabbage," graphite on paper, approx. 5" x 7"
"Spathe," drypoint etching on BFK Rives paper, edition of 10, paper size 11" x 15", image size approx. 6" x 10" 

All the above were drawn from memory. The drypoint etching is an example of another Spathe plant, not a Skunk Cabbage.
     Drypoint etchings are drawn directly on a zinc plate with a sharp stylus that cuts into the metal. Ink is pushed into the grooves of the plate, then wiped off the surface with a starched cheesecloth called a tarlatan. Then dampened paper is pressed onto the plate, and run through an etching press under great pressure. The resulting print is unique each time it is printed. This photo shows the background so that you can see the deckle and torn edge of the paper. You can also see the plate mark, an indentation around the image. Etchings print with a slight three-dimensional effect. Even the lines are slightly raised.

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