it rains, it pours…i draw

Teri, my friend who is an emergency nurse, upon seeing my virus study writes,
What did you do during the pandemic Monica?
Responding to herself she continues…I sketched it.


Enjoying the first part of Spring Break, I spend a couple of long days outdoors before the rains come. By end of week, I receive word school break is extended another week, to the 20th. News of COVID-19 fill the airwaves.

It rains. It pours. I draw.

Coronavirus: Internal structure. Note Spikes (glycoproteins) and single strand RNA

Fascinated by viruses, I note the coronavirus described as aesthetically pleasing. I agree.

In the studio the latter part of the week, I draw while listening to science podcasts, in general, on the subject of viruses, in particular on COVID-19. I learn about amplifier hosts and reservoir hosts. I learn words like retrovirus and zoonosis.

COVID-19 stands for coronavirus disease 2019. It gets its name from the spikes on its surface which resemble a crown. There are a number of coronaviruses (including MERS and SARS).

I understand now COVID-19 is a concern because it is a single-stranded RNA virus (top image) that mutates quickly and can travel on a sneeze and a cough. This is why Spring Break extends another week and events are cancelled – it’s logical.

coronavirus – external structure

Days flow…oddly different from morning to evening now. Tara, my neighbor, shows me a photo she takes of the empty fruit section at the grocery store today.

….Mostly Sunny, Partly Cloudy, Mostly Cloudy, Scattered Thunderstorms….

#WhoAmI? #WhatAmI? #WhatIsThisWorld? #WhatIsMyRelationshipToIt
#Art #Science #Curiosity #GottaHaveArt


Here are some educational (and so accessible) sources on viruses in general and some on COVID-19 in particular.

Out of ASU: Zombified Podcast is intelligent and makes learning easy, fun and sometimes…icky (in a good way).  This week they cover viruses. The episode was taped before current crisis began, making the ending play like a prediction.
 Bat shit featuring David Quammen

On COVID-19 in particular → David Quammen, Fresh-Air 

Everything virology, with last 7 episodes on COVID-19 → TWiV This Week in Virology

Food for thought (with valuable embedded links) →  How to act cooperatively in the face of a pandemic


©2020 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED BY MONICA AISSA MARTINEZ

1 & 2 / olfactory and optic

I’m still in the brain, at the bottom of the top (inferior view), looking at the cranial nerves (CN1 and CN2).

Learning the olfactory nerve is cranial nerve #1 (CN1). Really? Cuz I thought for sure it was #2!

Tiny sensory nerve(s) of smell 
you are
cranial nerve(s) number one.

Olfactory nerves (CN1)

I wish I knew where I read a kiss evolved from a sniff.
One can tell a lot from sniffing another…

Optic nerve, cranial nerve #2 (CN2), for me you are (will always be) #1.

eyeballs
see

optic disk
point of exit
small blind spot

optic nerve
channel site
connects brain to eye


optic chasm
evolution suggests you’re a turning point
X marks the spot

I’m enjoying the details…


©2020 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED BY MONICA AISSA MARTINEZ

medulla oblongata

This last week, in the studio, I layout another brain (inferior view) including brainstem and cerebellum. Today I add cranial nerves.

I think about Lester, a teacher.

Looking for my notes of his exact words, I don’t find them. Though I can recall the tone and pace as he said…Spirit enters the body at the medulla (pause) oblongata.

I’ve drawn the brain stem so many times in the last few years and only now do I feel the need to pinpoint the medulla. One could think I’d know…because it’s the area where the tenth cranial nerve, aka, the vagus nerve, exits the brain. The vagus nerve, not only the longest nerve of the autonomic nervous system and hence called the wandering nerve, is a favorite.

The medulla oblongata is the lower half of the brain stem connecting to the spinal cord.
I can talk science…but won’t. I can talk life-force energy…not now. Keeping it simple.

Physical body. Subtle body.
Connect.

All the deep breaths and the stillness that comes with them.
Making sense. 


©2020 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED BY MONICA AISSA MARTINEZ

in the beginning…is the line

“Drawing takes time. A line has time in it.”
-David Hockney


In this first assignment based on inner and outer contour, beginning students draw a complex natural object. Our college campus grounds are full of pinecones. They walk by them most every day. Now, I ask they study one.

They work a number of days on this one drawing. I particularly note the group’s patience and concentration as we move through the process. They arrive on time, grab their pinecone and draw. They appear careful observers from the start.

The first critique of this new year goes well. We talk about the quality of the lines,  general composition and all various challenges it took to compete these striking studies.

Here are a few…

Angelica’s Pinecone

Gisela’s Pinecone

Julyssa’s Pinecone

Aday’s Pinecone

Alex’s First

Luc’s The Pine Cone Maze

Juan’s Pinecone

Janera’s Pinecone

The class includes a group of returning students ↓ who get to pick their subject matter and work in mixed media. Basically they pick up where they left off last semester. Naturally they include various elements of design in their compositions including value, though they need to emphasize line/edge.

And they do a fine job holding the afternoon critique.

Edith’s The Dried Flower

Angel’s Duality : Typo Phobia

Angel’s in-class assignment ↑ is in mixed media drawing while her homework is the same seed pod completed ↓ in marker. Good idea Angel, I could start assigning this set up to future classes.

Angel’s Lotus Pod : Duality, marker

Seb’s Avalanche

Eamon’s Now That’s What I Call Pod Racing

Aine’s Artichoke

Basically students learn to look closely and see their subject matter. I ask they always  consider the lines they use to describe what they see. Most of them (Drawing 1) do this with a variety of fine markers and no eraser.  All the while coordinating eye, hand and brain…process is key.

Good start everyone!

no woman is an island

Late last week I receive a few emails from Jack who is in Phoenix, from Sacramento, for a business trip. I came through the airport and fell in love with your art and especially “Wandering Nerve…” I want it to live with me. Is it spoken for?

I like that he wants my study ↑ of the wandering nerve, aka vagus nerve, aka pneumogastric nerve … to live with him.

Another email:
Do you want to sell it? Do you make prints? I’m here for 3 days.

The work is an original. No prints. Yes, it’s available. I forward more info.

Marvelous! He notes he’s checked in with his wife too. All good.

He fowards:
The microbiome is growing in importance to me individually and the Vagus Nerve is a major player in my current health. I’m so grateful to see it combined in an artistic way too as art has been a similar factor in my life.

This weekend we speak. I learn a little about Jack…

At one point in life he considers becoming a psychologist and/or a minister. He talks about his interest in Eastern religions, community development and personal growth. We talk about philosophies he’s studied. I’m intrigued to know he once lived in an Ashram in South India.

Jack recounts a time, years ago, when he first came across images of Van Gogh. He describes his emotions and the physical sensations as he looked at the work. The experience seeds his interest in art and it continues to grow … which is why we connect today. And he thought he was coming to Phoenix for a business trip!

I listen as he tells me about his physical health, early ailments, and then later more serious issues including inflammation and severe pain. The latter leads Jack to research (a Stanford Lab) among several things, the microbiome and the vagus nerve, and eventually he makes the necessary life-style changes. In particular he talks about food, old cravings as well as a new way of eating that he’s designed for himself. He no longer deals with pain and he notes the breath, now easy and open. I ask questions, he answers with directness and ends with…the vagus nerve…it directs you!

I like his description of the vagus nerve… like a runway...he says. His quiet excitement is clear … I love the wandering nerve!

 We talk a little about the body directing the brain, and the brain directing the body.  It’s 2-way communication, I say. He agrees.

Jack’s life is full. He has plans with his family, which include a return trip to India and to write a book…

Art on a Cellular Level continues to June of 2020 at Sky Harbor airport.

Before our conversation comes to an end, Jack mentions how much he enjoys walking through Sky Harbor. It’s one of the nicest airports I’ve been in…and I’ve been in many.  He especially appreciated the art spaces.

I’m pleased you took the time to experience the artwork. I’m especially glad you’re well and in good spirit. Thank you Jack, for connecting and sharing some of your extraordinary life with me. I am happy the Wandering Nerve will live with you!


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

©2020 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED BY MONICA AISSA MARTINEZ

art making, sound making

What might a painting sound like? What might sounds look like?

The exhibition i hear what you’re seeing, curated by Laura Haleshighlights seven paintings and drawings by Arizona artists, imaginatively narrated in sound by students from Arizona State University’s School of Music and ASU’s School of Arts, Media and Engineering.

Featured Visual Artists:
Laura Spalding Best, Bill Dambrova, Cam DeCaussin, Lara Plecas, Ellen Wagner and Monica Aissa Martinez.

Featured Sound Artists:
Devin Arne, Shomit Barua, Laura Brackney, Andrew Robinson, Jacob Miller Smith and Gina Xu.

Here are some detail shots. You’ll have to show up to experience the rest of it.
#art #sound #words #mixedmedia

Laura Best, Refracted Oasis

Bill Dambrova, She asked me my name and I gave her my social security number; that’s how they got my spleen

Cam DeCaussin, Or so I’m told but how would you fake it

Lara Plecas, Petite Alliance

Ellen Wagener, Cloud Bank

Monica Aissa Martinez, Lymphatics (front view)*

*my work will also include a poem titled Signal by Kelly Nelson

 

Who:     Center Space
What:    i hear what you’re seeing
Where:  Inside of the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts
7380 E 2nd St, Scottsdale, 85251 View Map
When:   Opening: Friday, January 17, 6:00–8:00 pm.
runs to April 26, 2020

Join us for the opening! Free and open to the public.


Center Space is a newly imagined community space for visitors to learn about the arts by doing. Each fall and spring exhibition will feature hands-on activities or interactive displays. It is open to the public daily from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. and during evening performances.