no woman is an island

Mary leaves the studio with my house fly. It comes as a surprise when she asks about my bugs and ends up with this small mixed media painting on panel. She looks at two of them. I think she said she liked the creep factor in this work.


I particularly enjoy this afternoon meeting with Mary Erickson. Our paths crossed years ago when I did some things with the Bilingual Press (ASU) through the Hispanic Research Center. More recently I know Mary through the Tempe Center for the Arts, where she is the coordinating consultant for online curriculum. We meet to discuss art, education, and in particular – STE(A)M (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math) –
yes both the bold lettering and color enhancement here are mine.

Before we get to work I learn things about Mary – mostly that she is a force. And she is generous. She shares much with me, including that she grew up on a farm. I get insight into how she processes. She tells me how she chooses to situate herself in meetings. As we speak I have to wonder, could I learn to maneuver through life in the way she does? I’d like to.

Our conversation includes health and body awareness (naturally), feminism, culture, as well as age, work and education. I learn the word andragogy, associated to adult education and learning.

We get to our discussion about art and education. She is designing curriculum for a STEAM inspired exhibition organized by the TCA that will include art installations, scientific displays, educational text panels, videos, hands on projects and workshops. My anatomy studies will be a part of the summer presentation.

We go back and forth looking at samples of my work and talking about process and materials while she considers lesson planning. What I forget to tell Mary is that I know of her curriculum through my sister who directed me there some years back – Creating Meaning in Art.


More and more I realize how my work allows me to cross paths with interesting folks. Dr. Mary Erickson is one of those people. She is a Professor of Art at Arizona State University → more.
Thank you much Mary, for everything. I enjoyed our afternoon.

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

State of the Art: Discovering American Art Now – is traveling


A few months ago I received news from Chad Aligood, curator of State of the Art: Discovering American Art Now. He noted over 175,000 people experienced State of the Art during its initial run. And added that it received an Award of Excellence from the American Alliance of Museums. The exhibition will be traveling!

It seems only fitting that a show that started on the road and in the studios of artists nationwide will have a second life as it takes its own road trip across the country. In an effort to honor the exhibition’s original impulse towards access and inclusion, and to account for the enormous size of the original show, State of the Art will be split into two different versions, both traveling simultaneously.

My works, Male Torso – Anterior View and Female Torso – Anterior View, will show at the Telfair Museums in Savannah, Georgia. This version of the exhibition will open February 18, 2016 and will run through ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­September 4, 2016.

Another version of the exhibition will travel to the Minneapolis Institute of Arts in Minneapolis, Minnesota. That exhibition will open on February 18, 2016 and will run through May 29, 2016.

more info →  Telfair Museums (Savannah, GA) and Minneapolis Institute of Arts (Minneapolis, MN)

…yes it’s exciting!

no woman is an island

Once upon a time, Liz was my next-door neighbor.  One season, thanks to the Phoenix Arts Commission, we both worked an after school program.  She taught dance, I taught art (mask-making). Because we knew each (sort of), we organized a collaboration between our 2 groups and created a final production to end the program that season. I suspect Jocelyn, the director who hired us,  was hoping we’d do this. The idea, while ambitious, did seem natural.

Two things we learned: think twice about asking young performers to sit still long enough to make and paint a mask and perhaps young artisans shouldn’t be asked to perform. While rehearsals were chaotic, we pulled it off and more importantly in the end, a good time was had by all. That was 10 years ago.

Today Liz lives in Los Angeles where she teaches and continues to dance. She shares the stage with a partner. I am happy to report → Casebolt and Smith will be performing in Taiwan next week. Merde!

sea horse coaster

Last week I drove out to Los Angeles for an art opening. While there I delivered 2 small animal studies and a virtue, to my friend’s home. She purchased Caballitos de Mar from 515 Arts. And she commissioned the Jerusalem Cricket (that I was able to include in a bug show at the Idea Museum), though she likes to say Charlie Goodyear (the cat) commissioned it. Charlie killed the bug, Liz sent me a photo, I found it creepy and was asked to paint it.


Liz lives with my first small cat (anatomy study) called Issa Cup of Tea. She picked that up at Mesa Contemporary a few years back.  The feline is another element of our friendship (Ali, Monkey, Mango, Potus, Shobi,Chupa….etc).


Thank you Liz. All the creatures are home now. Look after them.

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

On this trip I also deliver Prudence who pairs with Temperance, two works on paper, from an older series – the The Worlds Stage, a play in finite acts. She waited a good while to head west. Now they are both with you too. Thanks again Liz!



“in pursuit of your humans”

I think about Wade as I pull this drawing out of storage…


In February, 2014 – I received a few emails and a phone call from a gentleman whom I believe said he was from Louisiana. Wade had seen the New York Times article announcing the State of the Art exhibition at Crystal Bridges. He read about my studio visit and work. He was planning a one day trip to Phoenix, and wanted to see pieces…gallery…ect. 

I was teaching the day he was scheduled to visit and could not meet with him. He managed to locate two spaces where my work was hanging. I spoke to both owners of those facilities and before the day was out I had the opportunity to talk with him on the phone. I remember Wade because his reaction was sincere and his words were kind and generous. He was excited about my work and the attention it was receiving. I especially liked that he referred to my anatomy studies as ‘your humans’.

Wade asked me to stay in touch. I received lots of emails from across the country, because of that article. This last July (2015) I received an email from Wade. He was in Phoenix again and dropped me a note to tell me he was thinking about my art and hoped that I was doing well.

…about my humans
They have made their way to Los Angeles for a month showing at LA ARTCORE Brewery Annex.

Martinez_A Self Portrait

I have about 8 full size studies now – and counting. I hope to find an exhibition space that will show all of them together as one installation. I may complete 2 more to set up what I might refer to as generational mapping: four generations that includes these two drawings, my parents, a niece and nephew and 2 smaller ones, representing the generation after that.

Connections to the Natural World opens today – my humans are showing
along with the work of six other AZ artists.

LA ARTCORE Brewery Annex, Lincoln Heights 650 A South Avenue 21, Los Angeles, CA 90031
Reception and Artist Talks, Sunday, Jan 10, 2016, 1-3 p.m.
Exhibition Dates: Jan 2nd-Jan 30th. Hours Wed-Sun 12-5 pm

See you in LA!


Saatchi Global Gallery Guide

And as for State of the Art, it will be traveling :

no woman is an island


Last Spring Wright contacts me about a Palo Verde Beetle I’d just painted for an upcoming bug exhibit at the Idea Museum. I have a sister who is into bugs and anatomy, he says, and this would be a great gift. I respond, You have a sister that’s into bugs? And anatomy?  I should meet her one day. 

Today he brought the family to my studio. I meet everyone including his sister Cady. Within minutes of being introduced we are discussing anatomy. She mentions a short study at Stanford and working with cadavers. Cady Did (they call her, yes like the bug) is completely surprised when she learns the studio visit is arranged for her to receive a graduation gift.

She is home for the holidays, lives in Oregon and will be graduating from Pacific University with a degree in Occupational Therapy. Congratulations Cady. Wright is correct, the gift is fitting. Even that the composition  includes the word surprise (as in Surprise, AZ) feels appropriate.

The whole family pitched in to make this happen. Thanks everyone! It was great to spend an afternoon with all of you.


Olive, Mead, Cady, Monica, Wright, Jenni, Day and Sandy

No woman, or family member in this bunch, is an island – for sure. As everyone walks out of the studio Sandy comments, I feel like I should get college credit or something for this studio visit. I wonder if she can know how much I appreciate the comment.

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

While having connected to Wright last year, I finally meet him at a studio visit the Breakfast Club hosted at my place last May. He brought along Sandy, his mom. Today my husband and I enjoyed meeting his wife, his daughter and son, and his sisters. Everyone has their hands in the arts in one form or other.

On another note, the Palo Verde Beetle along with several other of my bugs, will be include in a publication to be released in 2017. More on that later.

charcoal – the end!

“One looks, looks long, and the world comes in.”
– Joseph Campbell


It feels like the semester moved quickly – carefully but quickly. We only just started charcoal and now it’s over, I comment. We’ve worked on charcoal for at least 6 weeks, but we didn’t break in between assignments like we usually do, to discuss things.

Today we wrap up and talk about 2 separate value studies. One is cloth and pattern (and knots) using local value. The other is a still life using an artificial light source.

I wonder out loud what did they learn. What was the thing you each developed more and more with each assignment?  Patience, someone says. Certainly patience. What else? A few other things come up and then I hear – Seeing. We learned to see. Yes!  That’s it. You learned to look closely and you learned to see!

We move through the individual assignments and talk about careful observation and how that developed throughout the semester.


49 Shades of Gray, Gwynn


Groovey, Ryan


Knot, Alejandra


Knot in this Country, Alfredo


Let’s get Knotty, Kiria


Lost in the Shadows, Gwynn


Nyeh-heh-heh, Alfredo


Defeated by a Cup, Henry


Still Life Practice, Casey


Mugshot of the Century, Aaron

Susan, an advanced student, works independently. Her goal for the semester is to gain confidence with portraiture. She begins with a baby and make her way to a mature adult. She adds to the challenge by working in silverpoint. With research and trial, Susan  completes six fine silver points. For variety she brings color into the final 2 images of the Dalai Lama.  One of the qualities of silverpoint work is with time it oxidizes. The color  seems to take on a life of its own as it changes rather drastically. Time will tell us more – it’s all about experiment in this case.
Here are her 6 portraits.


Conversation about charcoal: layering it, erasing it, the beauty of the knots, shadows and light, and the illusion of depth.
We talk about developing patience. Most importantly we talk about looking and seeing – and the value of careful observation. If you ask me there are always lessons in drawing about the world outside the studio.


minister of the reservoir and the water gate

I enjoy drawing this bladder. I use a fine point graphite pencil for all the detail before I start to paint it.


The urinary bladder is a hollow organ that is both muscular and elastic. It collects waste fluid (urine) excreted by the kidneys. This one belongs to a male and includes the seminal vesicles, vas deferens and prostate.

A neighbor (specialist) informs me, after seeing the work, while it may seem the urethra travels through the prostate that in fact, it does not. The prostate, she describes, is like a donut with a hole at its center, should it be removed nothing is left in that space. Consequently the bladder lip and the urethra would need connecting. Apparently the prostate provides a channel the urethra does not travel through, only the various body fluids do. This sounds efficient and natural, like a river. (…the interesting conversations my drawings bring me…)

In Chinese Medicine the bladder, seen as part of an energetic system, is called the Minister of the Reservoir. And not to leave the prostate out, it comes from the Greek – prostates – and means the one who stands before or the guardian. I include this information because I like the words. And for the record, the prostate is not the protector of the bladder.

Because urine is made in the kidneys, I decide to pair the bladder with one and begin to sketch out a kidney and consider a few of their functions: they help balance the quantity (can I also say quality) of liquid in the body, they affect blood pressure, they are a filtering system.  And I discover they also generate Vitamin D.


Postscript: As timing has it …
Kat can’t known what I am thinking about as I leave the studio to keep an appointment with her for an acupuncture treatment (a first). Within minutes of entering her office she says she’ll be balancing my Kidney Yin. I don’t know exactly what this means but you can imagine my curiosity piques.  She explains briefly kidney yin associates to water and hydration. I am hoping to stay present and ask questions, but it doesn’t happen.

The subtle work Kat provides allows me to relax  so much, I don’t feel (or see) the acupuncture needles. She moves around the table working with cupping, vibration, light, heat, and more. Early on I ask questions but can’t take note of it all and eventually just give in. One thing I do hold is the sound, or maybe the sound holds me. Before I know it the experience is over and I am back in my studio wondering even more about kidneys and now kidney yin.

The bladder is the yang water element and the kidney is yin. I read kidney yin is known as the body’s water gate.  I read the space between the 2 kidneys is the gate of life.

When I research the meridians they are known as something slightly different. Kidney Meridian (flows upward) and is the Root of LIfe. The Bladder Meridian is the Guardian of Peace, and is the most complex of the meridians.

A thanks to → Kat for the timing – magic.
Oh…and my next drawing is connected to this experience as well.