December 13, 2022

Eschewing Conventional Art Tools: Block Printing Beach Plums Using Ocean Water Lands Me In the Present Moment

On a blustery day after Thanksgiving,  I wanted to make art in my sketchbook using only found materials at Duxbury (MA) beach.  I like the challenge of eschewing conventional art tools such as paints, inks, pencils, pens, glue and so on.  And I love the physicality of creating outdoors. The crashing waves of the incoming tide, the raindrops falling on my head, the irregular grittiness of natural objects, the taste of salt on the wind and the varied magnificent vistas all brought me into the present moment of encountering life itself.

Collecting Beach Plums in Varying Stages of Decay

Learning That Moisture is Key When Block Printing Beach Plums

Moistening Sketchbook Pages Before Printing Again

Finding Soft and Ripe Beach Plums

A 180 Pound Printing Press

Cover Art

Evoking a 19th Century Japanese Persimmon Painting

Reveling in the Sensory Moment

Buying a Frame at The Salvation Army

Framing Memories
Professor John Nordell teaches courses in the Visual and Digital Arts Program that he created at American International College in Springfield, Mass. He blogs about the creative process at and teaches online Zentangle drawing workshops.  


Anonymous said...


Trish Crapo said...

That was me, above. I didn’t realize it would go out as anonymous. I love this sequence, John. I’m so glad you are still creating and teaching, and really happy for your lucky students!