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drawing – a system of connecting parts

The six-sided, very cool and highly complex structure below ↓ is a section of the hepatic lobule (at the microscopic level). It represents a building block of the liver that includes (at all the edges) blood and bile collecting vessels called portal triads: a portal artery (red), portal vein (blue) and bile duct (green).

liver lobule

I isolate and detail a lobule of the liver into the Portrait of Carolyn because I want to know where Kupffer cells hang out. They’re the smallest and brightest orange (in my ↑ study) circular forms in the sinusoids (blue central lines). Kupffer cells work to remove debris (bacteria and their product) and worn out blood cells from blood before returning it back to the heart.

And speaking of bacteria, this portrait study is the first to include microbes (archaea, bacteria, fungi, protists and viruses).

The study of these invisible-to-the-eye life forms include a language I might never grasp. Take the word Firmicutes (firmus, strong and cutis, skin), a playful word that basically means a division or category of bacteria.  Firmacutes, like the Streptococcus below, are labeled gram-positive. This sounds like a good thing, doesn’t it? (I have an urge here to remind you that I am an artist not a scientist.)

If I had to rate the status of the relationship between human and microbes, I say…It’s complicated!

I continue to learn about microbes and the human microbiome. I’ve become curious about cancer causing pathogens. I look for more info on viruses in particular.

While Carolyn’s diagnosis of breast cancer is the impetus for the drawing, it’s not necessarily the focal point. A whole biological system/environment is the focus of the study.

Between the fig and the fibula – that’s where you’ll find #Feisty the cat. #portraitofcarolyn #ecosystems

Drawing a #drawing. Painting a #painting. #PortraitOfCarolyn #ShesAnArtist  #WorkInProgress

I brought in #WildBlueberries (Lots of them cuz they are Queen of the anti-oxidant foods #flavonoids.) and #bananas (favorite source of #potassium). #foodasmedicine

Added a #green #herb to the drawing yesterday. Ate it while I drew it! 💚#Cilantro. Loaded w vitamins and minerals. 💚💚 #phytonutrients #flavinoids #cineole #linoleic #dodecenal

Good time to mention the composition also includes intestinal epithelium cells ↓ that form the lining of the small and large intestines. The lining absorbs beneficial matter into the body as well as restricting harmful substances.

Over Spring Break, Carolyn and I drive to San Diego to pick up her artwork from an exhibition. Would I like to visit a tourist site? She asks while describing a stone house with a tower. Off of Interstate 8 we pull into Desert View Tower.

It feels good to move around, we hike an area of rocks and eventually make our way to the building. We climb a spiral staircase leading to a tower where we experience the view of wide open landscape. There’s a bronze bell up there too, which I photograph for no particular reason, except that I like bronze bells ( I own 2 of them).

Back in the studio I recall a conversation:
I’ve meant to tell you something. I think you’ll like this! Carolyn says. She tells me about a brass bell she’d rang at the cancer center that marked the end of her radiation treatment (and maybe the beginning of something new). It’s a tradition that all patients celebrate, she explains. I’d never heard of it. Was Brian with you? She nods and says Yes!

#wip
The work continues…connecting the parts.


© All Rights Reserved by Monica Aissa Martinez

coyote logic

Coyote Logic is the title of Lisa Dominguez Abraham’s first book of poetry.
I’m pleased to note my painting Coytl – Urban Coyote is on the cover.

Lisa sent a personally inscribed copy to me, which I received yesterday. I read through some of it late last night and early this morning. Here is one of her wonderful poems. I share it with her permission.

Home Remedy by Lisa Dominguez Abraham

The wrinkled print of my mother’s grip
branded my arm when she pulled me,
a toddler, from boiling water I spilled
as I tried to touch steam
rising from the stove.
Years later she said I was still trouble,
refusing dresses and barrettes. Normal girls whispered
about boys—I yodeled to neighborhood dogs,
leading my pack through vacant lots
until the day my throat swelled with strep
so sore I confessed and opened
my mouth to my mom.
She drove me to the railyard,
to a boxcar with wheels rusted fast
and a trellis of bougainvillea.
Inside she whispered Spanish
to an old woman who braced her palm
against my forehead, angled a stick
past my tongue to dab thick salt paste
onto tonsils. Saliva trickled
like broth through constriction, a treatment
to cure strep and perhaps rinse
my voice to a gentler tone.
They listened to me breathe,
eyes narrow, waiting.


Lisa Dominguez Abraham’s poems have appeared in journals such as Southern Review, North American Reviewand Poetry East. Her collection Mata Hari Blows a Kiss won the 2016 Swan Scythe Chapbook Contest, and she is the featured writer in the Spring 2018 Suisun Valley Review. She teaches at Cosumnes River College.

Coyote Logic is published by Blue Oak Press


© All Rights Reserved by Monica Aissa Martinez

organ of vision

My friend Wright gave me some books early this week. One of them is titled Medical Meanings, A glossary of Word Origins. I look up ‘eye’ and this post is born.

Eye comes through the Old English ēage from the Teutonic auge, all of which refer to the organ of vision. Incidentally, the Old Norse vindauga, “wind-eye” became our “window.”

The paragraph finishes with:
In years past, the upper canine tooth was called the “eyetooth” in the mistaken belief that it was connected to a branch of the same nerve that supplies the eyes.


Carolyn brings over a couple of different sets of medical images. One includes profile shots of her head. The cover reads Full TMJ Right Closed & Left View. I pop it into my laptop, pull up the images and recognize Carolyn’s facial bone structure.

I already know a direct image will be the focus, right then I am certain a profile drawing will also be incorporated into the composition.

Life-size studies are a lot about research and getting general anatomy organized. When it comes to details like the facial features, I very much enjoy the act of drawing ( mostly graphite, some color pencil and an eraser kind of drawing). I like capturing likeness. The challenge eventually is to bring anatomical detail in and not lose resemblance.

Obviously I focus on the eyes (eyeballs) with Carolyn.

Initially I outline her profile into the upper right-hand corner of the picture plane and leave it there for some time.

Taking a second look at her x-rays yesterday, I change my mind and decide I prefer it to the left (her right).

Before I realize it, I am incorporating the brain….not in the plan but it makes sense why I do it and it may stay.


PS…
At the end of the day – the drawing tool appears in hand. 

#Eye #Hand #Brain
#Artist #OrganOfVision #WIP

milagros – small holders of light

The word milagro is Spanish and translates to miracle. Milagros are Mexican folk charms. I like to consider this series of small representations of organs and creatures my version of milagros.

The small holders represent active attention to a subject. And from this point of view they become an offering of prayer or a focused request/focused action for care and well-being.

Coming across the small metal frames, over a year ago, I naturally want to fill them. I find time here and there and one by one the series comes to be. The small 2-sided drawings represent a front and back or an internal and external.

Each milagro is made to hang in space and hold the light.

I spend Saturday afternoon arranging the new series for this coming week’s Third Friday reception. The work is available and hangs to March 15th – on the MANTLE at MADE.


MADE art boutique is a unique locally owned retail and community space in downtown Phoenix.

The MANTLE at MADE features a small works solo-exhibition each month by a visual artist. The reception includes cookies and wine – every Third Friday of the month. I’ll be there this Friday.

MADE art boutique also carries my coasters.

Directions and more → MADE

micro to macro

“The task of the right eye is to peer into the telescope,
while the left eye peers into the microscope.” 

I understand this quote from artist (Sorceress of Mexico) Leonora Carrington more after a periodic table of elements makes its way into my drawing last week.


January 6, 2019
What are you eating these days Carolyn?

Raw honey is big. Radishes, apples, especially pink ladies, and I juice an orange nearly every day. Now we are in grapefruit season so I am adding that.  I also eat a lot of tomatoes, cucumber, zucchini and cabbage. And I eat a bit of radicchio everyday. Love it. And every day is guacamole. Potatoes are nearly every day. Sprouts are every day. Sage is nearly every day. Seaweed mostly Dulse everyday. And lots of asparagus and Brussel sprouts. Lots of grapes, raspberries, mushrooms and bell peppers. Greens every day. Haha, enough?

She doesn’t mention celery juice. Nor does she say anything about the cilantro she hands me as a snack almost every time I visit lately.

Carolyn is not necessarily raw Vegan, though she’s post radiation treatment and is still in cleanse mode.

Grounding the composition in fruits and vegetables, I gather bits of nutritional value for a few of them, to share on social media. They are like small vignettes with running text – easy and informative.
#FoodAsMedicine #MyQuickNotes #Education #InCaseYou’reCurious

#DrawingCelery. ❤️#JuicingCelery.#FoodAsMedicine Vitamin K, folate, potassium, fiber, manganese, pantothenic acid, B12, B6, calcium phosphorus, magnesium, flavonoids, carotenoids (VitA), non-starchy polysaccharides (pectin), apiuman (#anti-inflammatory!),  #antioxidant! #phytonutrient!

🐝 #pollen as #medicine. #Raw 🍯 is honey as it exists in the hive (contains pollen). 22 amino acids, 31 minerals and plenty of vitamins and enzymes. Micronutrients acting as antioxidants reduce inflammation, lower risk of ❤️ disease and some cancers. #BeesRock. #Raw ❤️🐝🍯

🍎medicine: Increases acetylcholine (an essential neurotransmitter 👈🏼), strong 💪🏻 antioxidant, she holds B-Complex maintaining ur blood cells and again ur nervous system, she offers good ole VitC, and plenty phytonutrients (protection from free radicals), some fiber, calcium, potassium, and phosphorus. Call her 🍎miracle fruit. 1 a day (or 2) x years = nutritional powerhouse. Avoid the seeds. These are #PinkLadyApples #justeatit

Tomato. 🍅 Or is it tomatl (Nahuatl)? This berry may have originated in Mexico. The Spanish encountered the 🍅 from their contact w the Aztec. #Mesoamerican #antioxidant #lycopene #vitaminC #potassium #folate #vitaminK Sketching tomatls in the am.

🥒 Cucumber medicine: Benefits skin, eye health, balances body’s PH level, eliminates bad-odor causing bacteria (bad breath), good for ur ligaments, cartilage, tendons, bones, hair, supports neurological function, has anti-cancer properties, supports normal flora and peel is beneficial too. I could go on. Who knew the list was this long! And it’s a fruit. Slice it, juice it. #Hydration #FoodAsMedicine Draw it 🥒 Paint it 🥒

#dandelion #greens #medicine #bitterherb Interesting thing about this ‘weed’ – every part of her is considered medicinal including root. This one came from my neighbors yard. #anti inflammatory #anti carcinogenic #anti-oxidative Easier to eat than to draw.

Drawing #radish today. #FoodAsMedicine. Holding #sulfur #vitC #fiber = anti-fungal, anti-cancer and digestion aid. Interesting thing about the radish – its companion plant is the cucumber. They thrive best growing near each other. #Ayurveda #TCM

I not only consider the elements found in the body but also the make-up of the food that sustains it. Enter: The periodic table of elements.

Red squares represent elements that compose our human body while fewer warm tones represent trace elements. I include symbol and atomic number.

I add in a few microorganisms, bacteria ↓ in this case.

And maybe archaea (pointing to time past) ↓.

And here are things 22 days later…


On a morning run, I listen to a lecture on the periodic table. The information really  does take my attention from microscope to telescope. Minutes later I come across side-walk chalk-art.
#Cosmic #BigBang #WeAreOne

no woman is an island

Early October I receive an email from Julie Sasse, Chief Curator of Modern, Contemporary and Latin American Art for the Tucson Museum of Art.

I hope you will remember me from your participation in some of our Arizona Biennials. A group (anywhere from 20-45 people) from our Latin American Art Patrons are planning a trip up to Phoenix on Wednesday, January 9, with a first stop to see the Teotihuacan exhibition at the Phoenix Art Museum, followed by a lunch. I’m not sure if your studio can accommodate a group, but I’m checking to see if that would be of interest to you and if your studio is located in the downtown Phoenix area. If you would be up for a visit sometime soon after 1:30 that day, our group would enjoy seeing your work.

Of course I remember Julie! I recall her support of my work. I will thank her in person. Yes.

All 45 members! of the LAAP arrive to the studio Wednesday afternoon. I share my art process and content with the thoughtful group. My husband, who is present, enjoys meeting members so much, he forgets he’s supposed to take photos! I understand completely.

I do have one photo. It catches a moment when I respond to a question about the portrait of my mother.

Soon after the photo is shot, I meet Nancy.

She approaches holding a small print. She wants to know about it. Is it available for purchase? The limited edition intaglio print titled Her Diagnosis – A Windy Liver is numbered 1/1 (1 of 1) because while it is a printed edition of 15 and is the first of the hand-colored series – each print is original. It holds a memory I have with my friend Maria. The border-lined text that makes its way into the composition as fragmented Spanish sentences comes from a song by the group Maná. The album plays in the studio the day I carve the words into the copper plate. And yes, the print is available.

Nancy, did I tell you the print along with 4 other hand-colored works, hung at the Phoenix Art Museum? The group exhibition called Local’s Only celebrated the art of 12 Chicano and Latino artists based here in the city. It feels right that you own it – in some way it is a full-circle experience. Enjoy the work and thank you so much.

As everyone returns to their bus, one woman stays behind taking a moment to share her thoughts about my work in general and she mentions her daughter, who is in medical school. She speaks to me in Spanish. I appreciate hearing what she says and how she says it – because she’s right.

One fun way to kick off this new year! A special thanks to Julie Sasse and the entire group of Latin American Art Patrons, for taking the time to visit my studio.


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

In, On, and Of Paper

Photo credit: Bentley Gallery

In this exhibition, Bentley Gallery features 22 artists who recalibrate the limits of the traditional paper surface, breaking boundaries and challenging preconceived notions of materiality. They explore form, sustainability, language, gender, architecture, spirituality, psychology, fashion, genealogy, and modernity.

Paper, as a viable surface, whether it be for writing, calligraphy or drawing, came into being in China during the Eastern Han Period (25 – 220 CE) with the advent of woven plant fibers, later refined in the 13th Century with paper manufacturing utilizing watermills, only to be fully realized in the 19th Century with the invention of the wood-based papers that we use today.

Paper as a drawing surface was traditionally used as the first step in the preparation of a work of art in another medium. i.e. painting, yet drawing as a singular expressive technique in and of itself gained significance in the early part of the 20th Century. In terms of contemporary art practice, works made on paper have the advantage of immediacy and fluidity of line and form, while also suggesting a more informal gesture and the impulse toward broader improvisation and experimentation.

Paper has contained within it both the advantages and challenges of being a mutable surface, a less rigid and predictable substrate, allowing for greater exploration and variation within the larger work as a whole, thus allowing for a greater sense of whimsy, freedom, and improvisation in the initial creative process.

WHO:       Bentley Gallery
WHAT:
     In, On, and Of Paper – a group exhibition
                curated by Rembrandt Quiballo
WHERE:  215 E Grant St, Phoenix, AZ  85004 

WHEN: Third Friday Opening
Tomorrow at 6-9pm
Jan 18 – Mar 9

Directions
Free and open to the public – You’re invited!