Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Gone fishing

In Newfoundland you can't simply go out and randomly catch an ocean fish, you have to wait til the government sets the Recreational Food Fishery sets a date for a few weeks a year to fish.   The dates in 2011 are July 24 - August 14th withs another couple of weeks later in September/October.

So with the chance of some fresh cod for the freezer, a trip out in a boat was taken.  Not by me I might add.  I don't do small boats on the ocean unless the big one has sunk and I have no other choice.  Some cod were caught for the freezer and I obtained my small printing cod to play with.  I haven't done a lot with cod, as they're difficult to come by.  It sounds strange saying that, as cod was the staple of everything Newfoundland for so long and is what drew many countries to the shores.  People find gyotaku a strange thing and the concept of sacrificing a fresh cod to use for printing is almost sacrilege.

I did a half dozen prints of this cod before I popped it into the freezer for another day.  I don't find them wonderful fish to print with.  They're a bit soft fleshed and the skin tends to wrinkle easily, making it difficult to get a strong image.  The fish I used was about 14 inches long and I printed it on several different papers to find a suitable print.  I still have to add eyes and decide if I'll take it further or not with colour.  I may try one of the prints as a wax batik and see how that turns out.


Crystal Cook said...

What an interesting piece. I love the feeling of history that comes with it. And I'm SO with you about the small boat, I had a chuckle when I read what you said. :) Also, I love the grisaille portrait below, such a sensitive rendering, it's really well done.

Billie Crain said...

Your comment made me chuckle.:D If I used a fish for printing my Dad's side of the family would probably string me up. All are avid fisherman and hunters and let nothing go to waste. Personally I don't see your gyotaku as a waste of fish at all. To me, at this stage your prints always look like fossils which I think is very cool.

Jeanette said...

Oh Crystal, I hate water when I can't see the bottom. And then there are tons of whales around this time of year too which add to my unease in a small boat, even though I adore whales.

The gyotaku pieces have appeal on many levels. This one still needs an eye and to be mounted so the paper flattens out, but I don't think I'll do a lot more with it besides that. Thanks for your comments about the portrait.

Billie, I wouldn't dare tell anyone local that I used a cod for printing. First the process would make them think I was crazy, then the concept of using a food fish would confirm their thoughts!

I like the simple look like this one, as well as the coloured versions too, but I think this one will remain simple beyond adding the eye.