a brain. new paper. new media.


I spent yesterday afternoon working with different materials – paper and media both. I settle on an a crisp architect paper – and I render this brain. I love the surface.

I need to figure out how to display this small work without framing it. I don’t want to deal with glass and a frame. I could tack it up onto a wall but there has to be other choices –  cleaner choices.

Any suggestions?



Ruskin believed that everyone had visual as well as verbal capacities that needed to be developed in order to become a complete human being, and that the apprehension of truth depended on the power of observation. – Robert Hewison

 IMG_7897John Ruskin was an art critic of the Victorian era. He was an art patron, a draftsman, and a prominent social thinker of his time. I use this quote because we had an interesting conversation about observation, the truth and the illusion of truth. A lesson in drawing sometimes becomes a lesson in life.

I want to tell you we begin with line but more accurately what we begin is a practice in observation. I teach drawing students how to see, and I direct them to put down what they see. I acknowledge the challenge in this exercise considering it is their first long assignment and it is also complex subject matter. The group took on the challenge with no resistance and overall did a great job.

We discuss quality and variety of line. We talk about developing patience. A number of students share they didn’t know they could draw a complicated object like a pine cone. I see the satisfaction in their faces as they share process and result.

One student brings up the idea of a true line and a not so true (stylized) line. The discussion is a good one considering this is only the beginning. We are off to a fine start.

Here are a few examples of the completed studies.


Close Withering by Alfredo


Citrus by Alejandra


Complex pinecones by Ryan


Step 1, Pinecone by Kiria


Cracked by Daniela


Observation: Pinecone by Casey


Chili Pepper by Mat


Red Onion Vertical Bisect, Casey

Susan ↓ is an advanced student. Her work includes contour study (the assignment) she also uses other elements of design.


The Water Sun by Susan

pulling your own strings


I’ve read only one Wayne Dyer book in my life. Many (many) moons ago when I was living in the natural uncertainty of youth,  I picked up “Pulling Your Own Strings” and read it over a weekend. My father was a counselor and had a couple of Dr. Dyer’s books in his library. That week I made a few decisions, most of which I can’t recall anymore. The one I do remember is that I chose to go to art school.

In 2007 I thought about that decision, that book, and its title and I made a print ↑. Last week I made another one ↓.


I learned Dr. Wayne Dyer passed away yesterday. RIP Dr. Dyer, you gave me great  insight into responsibility and choice.

appeasing the ant

The goal: to paint something on a valley metro pass – a 3 3/8″ x 2 1/8″ area. That’s small.  It feels natural to paint an insect on it. And since my house was overrun by ants this summer – ant it is.  I hope to appease them. Also, consider ants and how they manuever – in cooperation. Sort of like a public transportation system. Okay, that’s stretching it.

Here is my very small, yet much, very much bigger than life-size study of an ant and its anatomy.

IMG_7860 2

And while I’m at it …
This week I play with Photoshop. I only use the software for photography enhancing not distorting. The completed painting is above ↑. The image below I take through a filter↓.  It gives the composition a fiery quality I like. I won’t do anything with the image below, I’m only playing with it.

Now I am thinking of Panamanian Mola’s …


Look for the Mesa Contemporary Arts Benefit Sow (October 6 – 15). All works will be $50. Proceeds to support Mesa Contemporary Arts Museum exhibition and educational programs.  More info → 10×10 Takes-A-Ride

today i am a biologist



Growth is a spiral process, doubling back on itself, reassessing and regrouping. –    Julia Margaret Cameron


This is the second time I make a map. The first, a few years back, was a map of the city of Phoenix laid out as a living cell. I made it for an invitational exhibition called You Are Here. That summer I saw myself as a cartographer. With this new drawing the cell itself is primary, the city is secondary and I am a biologist mapping out the smallest unit of life.

In esoteric teaching it’s believed there exists a blueprint of the physical body. Changes in the body occur in the blueprint before they appear into its physical form. As I work I think there must be a blueprint for each and every individual cell. Imagine that!

I can probably still call this work You are Here. You think cells are inside you but in fact you are in each cell. Are you the life in each tiny cell? Could you in fact be the maker of each cell?

Am I the maker of the blueprint?  Am I the one who maps out each and every cell? I can only say for certain – today I am.


Detail shot of the cell.


The Nucleus controls activities and contains the cells genetic material (DNA). The And the Endoplasmic Reticulum is like a labrynth holding and moving molecules.


The Golgi Body packages proteins and lipids before they get sent to their destination.


The Mitochondria is the power plant of the cell and holds its own DNA

I didn’t plan to work this big but in the end it’s allowed for me to really think about the space I fill – the space I live in.


cell study and the mitochondria

One source informs me there are over 10 trillion cells in the human body, another says 34 trillion. Discovered by Robert Hooke in 1665, I like that he thought it resembled cells inhabited by Christian monks in a monastery. It brings a little of the sacred into the picture. 34 trillion sacred cells!

I mapped out a living cell a few years ago. And after all I have learned, I return to basics (with new eyes) determined not to place anything into my composition until I have a better grasp of what it does. Slow  -S-L-O-W-  going this week.


The large circular form ↑ is the Nucleus. The word is Latin in origin and means kernel. It controls cell function. The nucleus holds the DNA.  What I learn about the Nucleolus (dense [purple] area in nucleus) and the Endoplasmic Reticulum (greenish areas) makes me want to ingest high-quality protein as often as possible.

And then there is the Mitochondria ↓ which comes from the Greek,  mitos meaning thread and chondrion meaning granule or grain-like.  They are part of our body’s microcircuitry.  Think power-house. The mitochondria make the physical energy of our cells AND they form subtle energies that connect to meridians. It’s this latter find that causes me to isolate it here.

IMG_7762I heard someone say yesterday that artists don’t present answers, they present questions. I have so many….

a heart and a brain

Today in Yoga we talk about the organ of the heart. I happen to have completed (yet another) small drawing of one. We tend to think of it in connection to love. Meg, the instructor, says in this case it’s connected to happiness. She explained the energy is more about accepting what is – as opposed to wanting to control. I also drew (yet another) brain.

They work together. Or do they?

IMG_7730 IMG_7729

For some reason I make a connection to Ahimsa. I’ve decided non-violence is a discipline. I’m not sure why I piece this together. But I do.