The creatures is an assembly of 31 plates printed in several steps on a 70x50 cm sheet (1).
Top half of creatures of the sea showing 19 of the 30 plates used. The plates have a size of about 13 cm and have been printed with water-based ink on fairly smooth 170 g paper. (2) The procedure permits printing in successive steps directly on the still wet ink, either applying pressure on the paper or the plate.
Matisse decided end of 1930, age 61, to travel to Tahiti (April-June 1931). Years later, 1952-3 his papercuts around Oceania reflected the marine shapes observed, sketched and fotographed. The procedure has been to assemble various cutouts to decorate walls (3).
In 1995, in a project to paint the bunker walls of Fort Méné at Ile de Groix, south Bretagne, used as youth hostel, I assembled various of such Matisse elements together with some invented, as I found them extremely well suited for large size decoration (4).
The idea has been to assemble likewise lino cutouts and thus arrive at a procedure to get multiple copies of a composition, and to vary colours as well as arangement (5). Encouraged by Judith Klavins‘ comment of my „eclectic group of sea creatures“ I will provide some background info on the cutouts. My personal selection of encounters.
A wave at Grands sables, the convex beach, Ile de Groix, in August 2007 at sunrise, water im Gegenlicht. These are the first 2 plates printed, a light blue background, a dark blue wave (6)
The second creature is a brittle star (Ophiuroidea), shown in 2 movement phases as cut out. I watched this animal at low tide at the south coast of Groix near Locmaria (Aug 2009). The movements of the „five long, slender, whip-like arms“ are fascinating, exploiting the surrouding (7).
The tuna head has been taken at the mole of Port Tudy, Ile de Groix, during the tuna sale around 1995. I printed this one silver on blue, but as this was a very weak image decided to overprint in dark blue (8).
The dancing spider crab, Seespinne, was observed at the Marinarium at Concarneau. Fascinating the movements of the 8 legs on the flat stony gound, took various fotos and films, not so clear due to the difficult light conditions (Dec 2014)(9).
Traces of the ragworm, la gravette, see here Hediste diversicolor (In the Nationalpark Schleswig-Holsteinisches Wattenmeer, Germany, July 2006, Foto M. Buschmann). „When the availability of suitably-sized food particles is low it emerges from its burrow and hunts for small invertebrates, seizing them with its strong jaws“. Traces seen at low tide close Port Melite, Ile de Groix (10).
Codium fragile, Gabelalge, green sea fingers, this type of seaweed attaches to surfaces, here a shell seen at the coast near Locmaria, Groix. An invasive species from the Pacific near Japan, arrived in Europe about 200 years ago (11)
Dog cockle or European bittersweet, Glycymeris glycymeris, Meermandel, zigzag-type, collected at Grands Sables, Groix. Note the tar border, reflecting the Erika spill. Transfer with carbon paper, plate and print on white background (12).
The green sea urchin, Psammechinus miliaris, followed at the south coast of Groix. It rapidly covers itself with pieces of algae, shells or crabs for protection, with all the spikes moving in different directions, also moving around (13).
Sand riffles at low tide, coast near Port Melite, Groix, at sunrise (14).
Jellyfish of blue and yellow (red) types. Nesselqualle and Haarqualle, Cyanea, are found occasionally at Groix. In 2015 many small ones covered the beaches, a good chance to watch and look at and tape the movements, got burned as well (15).
Fingertang, Oarweed, Laminaria in the sand at a crick close to Trou de l’Enfer, Ile de Groix. My favorite snorkling site viewing these large brown alga dancing in the various currents (16).
Schnurwurm, bootlace worm, Lineus longissimus, a Nemertean - the most primitive creatures with a mouth and anus, all the other creatures further down the tree of life just have mouths. It is one of the longest creatures reported, with 30 m or more. But this tiny one I spotted at low tide close to Locmaria, Groix, must be a baby. Took a video to look at the movements, waves marching through the body. See in the foto, still from the movie, the head and thick and thin regions during movement (17). May be highly toxic due to tetrodotoxins.
Chlamys varia, the variegated scallop, bunte Kammmuschel, le Pétoncle noir, Grands Sables, Groix.(18)
Remains of a Buccinum shell, Wellhornschnecke, common whelk, gros buccin, bourgot or bulot (19).
Patterns emerging of waves approaching the beach. These borders form when the tide goes down rapidly due to the large difference, sketched at Ker Bethanie, Ile de Groix (20)