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the various and sundry creations of sylvus tarn
Coral Reef,
Actually, this was inspired by something completely different...

Hard though it may be to believe, my focus in school was on drawing—pencil and pen and ink. I especially loved the very fine c-100 and c-104 nibs for ink work, although I'm actually better with pencil. Lines breaking up into dots, a technique I first saw used to beautiful effect in Scientific American’s illustrations as a child, is still one of my favorite ways to make marks on paper.

Obviously the beginning point, with a lot of early sequence (white & yellow) patterns showing. All images shot 07apr2002, though I created the page two years later, on 22may2004.

I recently had completed a second drawing in a decade+ old series using this technique, and decided, despite the difficulty making spots with the psynsky stylus, to attempt it on eggs. It rendered the second egg in this year's sequence something akin to a sea scene, to the point that Rob said it reminded him of a coral reef.

Another view of the “beginning” half of the egg. Photographed with a Nikon coolpix990.

The patterns are in transition from the beginning (white) to the end (blue.)

I also discovered by traditional pysankists recommend beeswax: it's stickier, and adheres better to the eggs than candle wax; and it also flows through the tool tip much more evenly.

This view nicely illustrates the blue and white dots, as well as the green patterns.

This view shows how I covered condensation spotting with wax (green right end, above white patterns of egg) to preserve it. The variability contrasts nicely with the crisp white patterns above and below.

Despite some peeling, I was very happy with the way this egg turned out. I thought the white, yellow and particularly the green patterns were very successful. Next year I might start with green, thus limiting the sequence to three dips to see if that helps with peeling. I could also try using wilson cake decorating dyes...I haven't thus far because I'm unsure of the best salt/vinegar/dye ratios. (Those kits give a premeasured amounts of dye—with 3T vinegar to 1/2 C water. Hmm....)

minor updates 13sep2015 – new summary, add'l dating, camera info.


[2002] [pysanky]