Sharks in progress

I usually wait until I'm all done with something and then share on this blog, but I'm going to try out blogging more often and showing stuff in progress and how things connect.

Today I'm thinking about sharks and bears.  After I took part in the awesome printmaking class at 3 Fish Studios (see yesterday's post), I started noodling on what would make a next good subject for printing.

Firstly, I have sharks on the brain.  Here are some sketching I've started.

Last week, my boss Matt was talking about a friend of his who was about to attempt the (rather insane) feat of swimming from the Golden Gate to the Farallon Islands.  Rather insane because, sharks.  Namely Great White Sharks, or Carcharodon carcharias.  Matt asked me if I was familiar with the islands and knew about the sharks.  He mentioned a book written about it, which I bought and devoured (rather shark-like) in one night.

The book is "The Devil's Teeth" by Susan Casey. I really felt torn about this book. Way back when, I worked with Peter Pyle at PRBO and coordinated the shopping and such for the Farallon Patrol.  (So, yes, I definitely know about the islands!)  The radio to the scientists' house on Southeast Farallon Island lived on my desk in Stinson Beach office. 

Later Peter was my landlord when I rented his house in Bolinas, just steps away from the beach (so glorious.)  He was always such a solid, smart and personable guy.

So I was thrilled with how well Casey captured him and described the value of the research he and Scot did on Great Whites but very bummed at how things played out - all of which was unknown to me since I'd been out of touch and Peter's not really the type to gush all his personal details! However, this book renewed and deepened my gratitude that I was able to work at PRBO (now Point Blue) and get to work with these biologists while learning so much about birds and marine life. What a treasure, loved every second of it.

And while I can't be a researcher myself, I can use what I do to explore and enjoy sharkies - and that's drawing them.  I think they'll be good strong subjects to print too, can't wait to try that.
I'm also thinking about bears because of this tragic situation with the mama grizzly in Yellowstone who idiotic humans are threatening to kill.  I'm in the camp of "if the hiker ventured into Grizzly turf when she has babies nearby, then Grizzly allowed to eat human."  It's heartbreaking and angering to me.

I've signed the online petition but it might do my soul some good to draw and print up some bears.  I don't know if I'm just spitting in the wind, but it's what I can think to do now.

I also renewed my effort to volunteer for Beach Watch again.  I was bummed last year when I didn't get into their training.  I thought a returning volunteer would be top of the list.  It's possible that when I told them how excited I was to do some sketching, they got the idea that the sketching would interrupt survey protocol, but I assured them it would not.  We'll see if I get any response from them this year.

In the meantime, say prayers for our apex predators today, dear humans!!

Update August 14: I decided to try my hand at a submission to Illustration Friday.  The topic this week is "Heart."  The illustration at left is a good example of why I love challenges or assignments.  I never would have combined Mexican tin hearts and my love of sharks without stumbling on the "Heart" prompt. I first thought I might put a dog in the center but then thought it would be funny to put a shark in there and it grew from that.


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