Mysterious Phytoplankton in the Northeast Harbor Library!

By la, 03/31/2014 - 11:22

On Display April 2014 Northeast Harbor Library Art Show

Spring 2013 found me crafting a piece for The Mount Desert Island Biological Laboratory's show:  "Art Meets Science."   I found an Albert Einstein quote appropriate:  "The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious.  It is the source of all true art and science."

After many drafts, I lettered the quote on an 18" x 24" sheet of watercolor paper.  I then masked the lettering with a sheet of vellum that had a helpful grid!

Next, I added a green watercolor wash around the edge of the page.

Meanwhile I planned a border with  images of phytoplankton (microscopic sea creatures that provide much of the oxygen we breathe.  Some happen to be toxic when ingested by humans.)  I struggled with this part of my design process.  The layout of the lettering and the phytoplankton border were not satisfactory, but running short on time, I felt stuck.  

A few days before my deadline I signed up for Shira Singer's "Weaving Words" workshop at the Northeast Harbor library.  A mere indulgence to play with a new art form and distract myself from my pressing deadline.  Pleasantly surprised, I found the inspiration I needed:   I decided to weave the phytoplankton directly into the quote.  

To ensure the readability of the quote,  I lettered the text in copper ink around the edge. 

Next I crafted a 9x12 sheet of phytoplankton images in strips including "zentangle" designs and watercolor.

While the watercolor dried, I braved the next step:  I sliced horizontal lines across the lettering!

I then cut the strips of phytoplankton and wove them vertically into the horizontal cuts, adding some plain yellow watercolor strips for contrast.  Finally, using copper ink I drew a few extra phytoplankton for good measure! 

The final piece:  Mysterious Phytoplankton.  This illustrates the similarity between the art and science process for me.  A bit jumbled, with its inherent natural beauty shining through.

The final piece is framed and is for sale ($600 --- proceeds benefit the Northeast Harbor Library). Contact if you are interested in purchasing.


By Gurusant on

Sat nam La,I absolutely loved reading this blow by blow of how this art came to be. I especially appreciated hearing howthe inspiration to finish it occurred for you.Thank you for undertaking this web site and blog.Lucus

By la on

Wahe Guru Lucus!

Thank you for taking the time to read it and responding.  I feel happy reading your words!

With love,