An award-winning etching of a lightning whelk shell by Mark WoolbrightMark Woolbright, Printmaker

I'm still a kid.

When I go hiking or go to the seashore, I come home with broken seashells, bones, driftwood, feathers, odd stones, and seed pods. I take them home and I try to draw them. Sometimes when drawing shells, I imagine new shapes. I began to wonder, "What would a shell with two or three spirals look like?" So I invent "new" seashells. Or the points and ridges of a weathered seashell might remind me of desert rock formations. So I mentally "uncoil" the shell like a scroll to make a horizontal landscape.

When I draw from nature, I find structures and details I had not seen before. But the more I see, the more I have to leave out, or the drawing gets too crowded. My art is a mixture of discovering and hiding.

I often spend weeks working at an etching. But in 2009 I was in show in which each artist showed 50 artworks done in 50 days. It was a real challenge to make an etching a day. It forced me to silence the inner critic, to simplify my ideas, and to not get lost in details. I'm excited I was selected to participate in 50/50 again this year!

In the past two years my etchings have been won prizes in shows at the Triton Museum of Art, the Los Gatos Art Museum, and the Gualala Art Center, as well as being in juried shows at the Sanchez Art Center in Pacifica and the Sebastopol Center for the Arts. My wife, Edie Uber, and I have been "Dueling Portrait Artists" at fundraisers in the South Bay.

I studied painting at Park College near Kansas City and then studied printmaking at CSU in Fort Collins, Colorado, where I earned my BFA. In the 1980's my art was in shows and small galleries in Colorado. I was commissioned to make a suite of landscape etchings of Phantom Canyon by a group that was trying to protect it from development. Phantom Canyon is now part of the Nature Conservancy.