Fish Out of Water Monoprint

Start Where You Are


Several years after my husband died in 2003, I decided to take some classes at the local community college for enrichment. One of them was a printmaking class. Until then I had not practiced much drawing beyond kindergarten. My kindergarten teacher had worried about my immature  scribbles. I let this teacher discourage me for most of my life.

I came across this quote by Arthur Ashe:

“Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.”

I want to embrace that wisdom now. How many times have I let my lack of experience or skill stop me from starting something new?  Let my lack of confidence imprison me? Too many.

I found a sketch by Maurice Sendak of a fish out of water. This really resonated with how I was feeling when I took the printmaking class.

As an act of self-expression,  I decided  to make a monoprint with that fish in mind.  Not according to someone’s standards, but for pure process and self-expression. So I scratched out my best “fish out of water” on an inked glass plate, put it face down on a wet piece of paper and ran it through the etching press. When I lifted the paper off off the plate, I felt as if I had given birth. Exciting!