no woman is an island

It’s early December when I receive this email from Julie:
By any chance do you have any small works of just the brain? My sister is looking for a present for her son (my nephew) who is a neuro surgeon and I wanted to tell her about your work. If you had a small drawing of a brain, send me an image and the price and I’ll forward it on to her. Thanks!  Happy holidays! -Julie

You could guess things played out well. As I prepare to write, I ask Julie for story.

The way it came down, Julie explains, was that my sister asked in passing, Do you know by any chance an artist who paints or draws images of the brain? We want to give our son (Steven) and his wife Mary (also a surgeon) a gift that would be near to his practice (a neurosurgeon). 

Julie’s reply: Boy do I have an artist for you, and I just so happen to be organizing a solo exhibition of her work at TMA! Her work is wonderful and I think I saw a few brain images when I visited there recently. 

Julie Sasse is Chief Curator at Tucson Museum of Art. She’d made a studio visit in early November. We were going over the artwork for my upcoming September exhibition, in the museum’s → Kasser Family Wing of Latin American Art.  Wendy Carr, is Julie’s sister.

Julie continues, I really like my nephew (and his wife!). He and I went on a three-week trip to Chile the summer before he entered med school so we have a special bond—went to Easter Island as well. What a great trip that was. He is so smart and I love to hear about the lives he has saved. 

Friday, I send 4 images, along with the information she’s requested. Monday, Julie tells me to hold one particular study. Tuesday I speak with Wendy.

I enjoy hearing about her son, Dr. Steven Carr, MD., an Assistant Professor of Neurological Surgery at the University of Missouri in Columbia, Missouri. Wendy notes Steven’s creative side, He enjoys working with his hands, wood in particular. He made a toy box and a rocking horse for his son as well as a train set and a trolley car.

I tell her about an exhibition of my work at the University of Arizona College of Medicine. I recall how I especially appreciated the medical students and faculty talk about my work and point out the details. I didn’t say much, mostly I listened (and learned!).

Here ↓ is the small brain study Julie asked me to hold. I paid extra attention to details with this image. And I was using mylar for the first time. I discovered both graphite and casein paint love a mylar surface! It’s a favorite material and I continue to use it.

 Sagittal View of the Brain
Casein, Graphite Ink on Mylar
10×13″

The brain and its cells have become the focal point of many of my works since my father’s diagnosis of Alzheimer’s Disease. I’ve had time and opportunity to learn about the brain, including visiting the brain bank, in Sun City, AZ.

This artwork showed with phICA, in a container space in downtown Phoenix as well as the University of Arizona Medical School, also in downtown Phoenix.

Now it’s yours, Steven and Mary! This gift of art is in recognition of becoming a Board Certified Neurosurgeon, Steven. Congratulations to you.

Wendy and David, thank you so much. I’d like to extend a personal invitation to all of you. Should you be in Tucson, come and join us for the opening of my solo exhibition, on September 1st! Amongst other things, I plan to have a wall of brain anatomy, including microanatomy study, on display.
#UrBeautifulBrain

Thanks again, Julie!


The blog posts titled No Woman is an Island acknowledge the people and/or organizations who support me and the work I do.

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