For the last 2 1/2 months, I have been in residence at the Sitka Center for Art & Ecology on the Oregon coast. During my stay there, where I was given a working studio and a cozy cabin, I focused on my various plankton projects and engaged deeply with the local ocean environment. Regular visits to the nearby Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport, connected me with plankton biologists and others who helped me understand more of the wildly fascinating life cycles and relationships in the plankton community right under my nose at the beach.
My microscope and its camera were excellent tools for total immersion in the plankton universe. John Chapman, a biologist at the Hatfield Marine Science Center, generously invited me to collect plankton late one wintry night off the end of the Newport fishing pier. He brought all the needed equipment and I was able to return to my own "wet lab" at Sitka with a veritable bouillabaisse of zooplankton to observe for the next several days. I was mesmerized and delighted with the quality of the images in every drop of water which I sketched and photographed continually as each organism gradually slowed down and eventually expired, making them much easier to draw!
My work on the prototypes for the plankton board game and action figures continues with more characters carved in alder and painted. Below are a few, poised to make a move on the prototype game board.
Plankton Action Figures - from top LEFT: Dinophysis, (produces diarrhetic shellfish toxin); Sea urchin larva; Pteropod; MIDDLE: Oyster larva; Diatoms, (the oxygen champs); Barnacle larva; BOTTOM:Alexandrium, (produces paralytic shellfish toxin); Ceratium, more oxygen! ; Crab larva