A new adage

If you know the adage, “If it seems too good to be true, it probably is,” then please permit me to create a new, memorable nature-printing-related philosophy which is: “If a plant appears to be too difficult to successfully print, it probably is.”

Today I printed Christmas cactus which has been blooming intermittently since Halloween. The leaves reproduced nicely; the complex, bulbous blossoms look like a tangled mess. I also attempted to print a Trout Lily (Erythronium propullans) which is, in addition to being on the “endangered species” list, a really pretty little plant. The petals curl in a most alluring manner and the curved, upright leaves are adorned with an attractive, mottled pattern of irregular brown spots on a muted-green background.

Capturing the curve of the six petals turned out to be impossible for me to replicate in two dimensions. An added obstacle was that the receptacle (the part of the flower stalk where the flowers are attached) was so three dimensional it poked through the paper when I pressed the paper against the inked plant. And the green ink color for the leaves that looked so right is clearly too yellow. The attractive green paper is a gift from my teacher and friend, Sonja. The green background allows white flowers to be visible, something not possible when printing on white paper.

Despite my disappointment, I enjoyed admiring the plant in the garden of my neighborhood friend, Marie, and I learned a lot about the plant—from attempting to print it and reading about it.

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