rip rbg

“I would like to be remembered as someone who used whatever talent she had to do her work to the very best of her ability.” Ruth Bader Ginsburg


Thinking about Ruth Bader Ginsburg, I get out paper, pencils and paints to compose a small drawing. And because I’ve been studying the brain and neurons, I wonder about her…brains. Can we study brains like hers? Do we study brains like hers?

I collage the organ from a Washington DC map.

I honor the woman’s intellect. I honor her voice, her tenacity and her sense of agency.
I honor the outlier. I honor her courage.

RIP RBJ

#VOTE
#GenderEquality #WomensRights #CivilRights


©2020 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED BY MONICA AISSA MARTINEZ

see one do one teach one

Video

This week I learn about the methodology See One, Do One, Teach One, especially used in the medical world for teaching and/or learning through direct observation. The process can be applied to most any form of education. It feels particularly natural to the Fine Arts and reminds me of an apprenticeship.

While I did go to art school, some of my best teachers were the ones who let me work in the studio with them.

I was introduced to printmaking by artist Kurt Kemp. Kurt began his teaching career in my last year at UTEP. I needed one final Drawing class and an elective, day and time were issues for me. As luck (and kindness) would have it, he allowed me to sign up for his advanced independant studio classes. I was drawing in the early morning, and ending the evening with printmaking. I’d never printed at that point, though it melded naturally with drawing. Kurt loan me tools. He taught me to get rich black, printed marks using a hand-made mezzotint rocker on a sheet of copper. I can still hear him say Don’t drop it! This one is my own personal rocker. I’ve had it for years (yikes!).

I fell in love with drawing, copper plates, BFK paper, ripped edges, the smell of ink and all things drawing and printmaking (yes, art-making heightens all the senses). And I redirected my studies, 3D to 2D. Eventually attending NMSU for graduate school, I continued printmaking with Spencer Fiddler, whom like Kurt, had at one time worked under the great Mauricio Lasansky.  I watched both of these men make their ink from raw material, both were sensitive to the tarlatan clothe, the inking and the final printing of their copper plates.

But I digress…
I sure didn’t expect to take this trip down memory lane today, nor while creating a quick video on drawing a neuron, a few days back.

Back to drawing…
I rip a piece of heavy duty black drawing paper (deckled edges) and video tape about 34 seconds of the process as I lay in my subject, a neuron. I turn the video off to work freely, hoping to move easy and steady.
(Note: The video, I use as a means to practice focus, quick-decision mark-making, and  loosen up.)

I’m looking to balance the study with both play and accuracy by its final stage.

I stop moving quickly. I fuss with materials, edges and lines. I probably work a little more than an hour to get the first layout. A few more to get the second set up. The next day I work the composition to a final stage (btw…this drawing of a neuron is small!)

I decide the image expresses a control balanced by a loose and playful quality.

Which is probably why I think about Kurt and Spencer today.

My first study above, is a neuron. My smaller, second composition below, done in similar process, is the neuron’s supporting cell called a glial cell.

#BackInTheStudio #It’sBeenAToughSummer #UrBeautifulBrain #LiveAndLearn #SeeOneDoOneTeachOne

making sense of it all

“You, yourself, are the eternal energy which appears as this Universe. You didn’t come into this world; you came out of it.” – Alan Watts


I’m in studio working a portrait of my brother. I am wondering how beingness exits form. I draw the physical expression though it’s the subtle that motivates me.

With that said, my notes
I think about the 5 sense organs and how we experience the physical world. The physical senses include hearing (audition), sight (vision), smell (olfaction),  taste (gustation) and touch (somatosenastion).

The sense organs collect information from outside of the body…directing it…to…inside the body.  The receiver of external signal is the nervous system which sends information to the brain. Consequently one moves in the direction of that which is perceived or one moves away.

As I paint, I consider both the subtle and physical. (There is more to the senses that I won’t get into here.)

Does being enter the physical body, one sense at a time? Does the body light up slow and steady with awareness? Does being exit with each sense that goes out…going off-line…one perception at a time? And then might the infinite, as it receives being, light up?

And my study
The olfactory nerve, the first and shortest of the cranial nerves, supports the sense of smell. Smell connects to taste and also serves the respiratory system.
Note: It is the only cranial nerve, that if damaged, may repair itself.

The olfactory bulb ↓ makes me think of a Q-tip, filled with with sensory neurons.
(Note: The nerve also  plays a role in emotion and memory sending data to the amygdala and hippocampus.)   #ICanSmell

The sense of taste (aided by the sense of smell) is responsible for perception of flavor. Taste buds can be ↓ found on the tongue, palette and throat. Their taste receptor cells (gustatory cells) are triggered by food and/or drink as it dissolves in saliva. I’ve learned about various epithelial cells in the body and here I learn about the epithelium of the tongue which holds the papillae (the small bumps visible to the naked eye).  A tongue has 2,000 – 8,000 taste buds. If one is  damaged, it can be replaced within 48 hours.

Below ↓ is the organ of hearing. I read somewhere, hearing travels with the mind.  I don’t know what this means exactly, but I like thinking they come and go together. Included in my inner ear study are the organs of balance (spool-like shapes ↓ at the ends of the semicircular canals).
(Words I want to keep that connect to this organ: receiver, amplifier, transmitter, electrical, vibration, frequency.) #IHear #IListen (more and more each day)

The eye-ball is the organ of sight and vision. It supports ones ability to see. We use our eyes to look, judge depth and interpret information. Eyes send signals to the brain that can impact hormones, sleep, and various chemicals. #sunrise #sunset
Pupils, because they track information, are a readout of ones internal state (note size of pupil).  The retina is actually a part of your central nervous system (the brain) that sits outside of the skull. #ILook #ISee #IAmVisual

brain cap. eye ball.

There is no one, single sense organ related to touch. If I had to choose (and I don’t) it could be the skin. Is touch one of the first senses to develop? It occurs across the entire body trough receptors in the skin. I focus on the fingertips ↓ because they have a large concentration of nerves. The receptors send signals via spine and lower brain to a strip curving around the cerebral cortex known as somatosensory cortex that I place into the cap. Touch is in the body and in the mind. #ITouch #IFeel

In: Oct 10, 1964. Out: July 8, 2020.
#AWaveOfLightDrawsYouIn #AWaveOfLightDrawsYouOut

My brother would like this portrait of him. I think he’d like the (brain) cap most especially.
#WorkInProgress


First Law of Thermodynamics: Energy can be changed from one form to another, but it cannot be created or destroyed. The total amount of energy and matter in the Universe remains constant, merely changing from one form to another.

 

peace out brother

“We all shine on…like the moon and the stars and the sun…we all shine on…come on and on and on…” ― John Lennon


I speak to my brother Monday evening, he’s not feeling well, has no appetite and is complaining of dizziness. Tuesday, he sees a doctor (telemedicine) and is prescribed something for vertigo. Doctor’s orders also include he be tested for Covid. By Wednesday morning he is gone. He tests positive for Covid-19, postmortem. (WTF!!)

There is a lot going on for our family. I know we are not alone. There is much going on in our county and in the world.

For now, I work a portrait of my brother because travel is limited and so are burials. It sucks that the family can’t be together. And while I always come to new work with focus, it’s not happening this time.

One of my sisters has a photo of our brother with his New York Yankees baseball cap. He smiles and holds out a peace sign. Puro Chacho, the capture is perfect. I decide to use it.  I don’t know yet if and how the image will translate into a study.

The ground work, a city map of El Paso, focuses on the area where we grew up and where he still hung out.

For a good while now, each time I fly back, he and I make a habit of taking a Sunday afternoon drive.

I lay down the map and recall some of those drives. Chacho enjoys driving, has an excellent sound system and likes loud music. The sound comes down when he wants to point something out to me. I’ve been gone a long time and I know he enjoys re-introducing me to the city. We often look for murals. The streets of El Paso have some fine street art.

In my studio, the dilemma…
My brother is no longer in body. I’m piecing things together and formulating a picture.  I don’t know exactly how to move forward. I’ve never worked this way. I’ll figure it out.

I miss you brother. Way to young to exit. I wish you’d stay’d around longer.
Peace out Chacho.

FYI…Chacho is short for muchacho which means boy in Spanish. He grew up the only muchacho among 5 muchachas.


Pay attention, take care of yourself and others. Stay alive.
And VOTE. We need strong, intelligent and caring leadership.


 

roadside attraction phx

ROADSIDE ATTRACTION, brainchild of ArtFarm PHX and practical art gallery (AKA Patricia Sannit, Chris Jagmin, Lisa Olson and Lani Hudson) takes art (art work and in some cases the art making) outdoors, to be seen by the widest variety and largest number of people, given our current restrictions. Opportunity was created for valley artists, representing different viewpoints and media, to express their diverse voices.

This experimental exhibition not only encourages art experiences in new, unusual and surprising locations, it also allows for a self-directed, drive-by, bike-by, stroll-by, physically  distanced, socially engaged art experience.

Come and go, as you wish!
Info → artists, photos of work, artist statements and location map.

 


Invited early but arriving late.

I spend days (weeks) this summer wondering do I want to teach drawing next semester. I learn Zoom (for on-line art workshop) and Canvas (on-line college teaching). And while I appreciate technology and use it regularly, organizing this current phase in time sometimes feels confusing and unnatural.

Listening to a neuroscience IGTV (thanks Huberman Lab), I come to understand human progress as the consequence of 2 things:  neuroplasticity (brain and nervous system’s ability to change in response to experience) and technology development (build and create new things that allow us to extend beyond our own biological limitations).

Nueroplasticity reflects changes and connections between neurons (nerve cells). Nerve cells do not connect directly they have a space between them called a synapse (chemicals and electricity).

I know that as an adult, if I want to roll with change I need focused attention (what I want and/or how I want to feel), a sense of urgency (so apropos to the time) and rest (focus on/focus off).

Enter: Roadside Attraction invitation…and all I can think is that I’ve wanted to paint one of our perimeter walls (so out of my comfort zone).

I read an article about bee swarms and how they are like a giant brain with each individual bee behaving like a neuron in the human brain. #ImPaintingBees

FYI…bees are eusocial flying insects. #SocialOrganization

In the days that follow I complete my Canvas training while breaking to make stencils and begin painting bees. It doesn’t matter that it’s June in Phoenix. I work in afternoon shade as neighbors drive by offering a nod and/or a thumbs up. A few want to paint bees on their perimeter wall (I offer my stencils).

I can’t help but think of Jackson Pollock as I use black and gold house paint and brushes. I know why action painting is likened to dance.
The wall buzzes with form and movement…heading towards center.

Thanks Roadside Attraction…I needed this. #EverythingsConnected

#PhysicallyDistancedSociallyEngaged #ItsAllAnArtSpace
#RoadsideattrationPHX #MonicaAissaMartinez


©2020 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED BY MONICA AISSA MARTINEZ

TCA Draw-A-Thon 2020

Tempe Center for the Arts will be hosting their annual Draw-A-Thon.
This year it’s going virtual. A live, on-line, real-time event!
12 Hours/12 Artists
RSVPFacebook Live


Next weekend, June 6th at 9am, Michelle Dock, Gallery Director at TCA, will host an Exquisite Corpse Workshop. Last week she invited Mary, Carolyn and myself to draw one (for fun).

In general, I keep to the size of the paper Michelle suggests. And while she notes a light-weight paper, one can fold, works best, I prefer a heavy duty sheet of drawing paper (which means we can’t fold it). Ok, I want 2 sheets of drawing paper (can’t fold either).

I rip an 8.5″ x 11″ sheet of BFK white and an 8″x10″ sheet of Arches Black.
I take the direction of exquisite corpse very literal and start drawing. I cover my area and pass it on to Mary who works her area, followed and completed by Carolyn.

Can you tell who does what?
What’s your best guess for how much time we take with each small drawing?

face mask, microbes and devil’s tail

Mary and Carolyn both like the paper and choose the medium they are familiar with.
Yes, we each enjoy the drawing!

Interested in making an one? Join Michelle Dock next Saturday at 9, for her workshop. You have plenty of time to gather up family or friends and your drawing material.

Should you want to experience other approaches to drawing (Hey! DRAW all day!), follow the link to the list of workshops and the artists involved  → EVENT SCHEDULE  (includes morning, mid-day, ffternoon/evening)

WHO: TEMPE CENTER FOR THE ARTS
WHAT: DRAW-A-THON
12 Artist/12 Hours
WHEN: Saturday, June 20, 8am-8pm
WHERE:  TCA is coming to you! →  Facebook Live  RSVP

All levels, all experience, all ages welcome! Use phone, I-pad or computer. And share your drawings with the hashtag #tempearts #GalleryAtTCA #DrawAThon

OH HEY! They have a free coloring book for you to download! My coyote is in there along with other cool images from artists near you. → PDF

#gottahaveart

ahh…life

Ahh, mother. Ahh, infant. Ahh, life.

Last Fall, while working to understand the microbiome and its relationship to obesity, I knew it was in the cards that I’d focus on a neonatal study and breastfeeding (among other things).

I listen to podcasts as I paint. My drawing paper is a good place to note key points. #TheBodyIsPolitcal

I’ve learned to consider mother’s milk as food, medicine and signal (thanks to Katie Hinde and → Mammals Suck…Milk!).  This is complicated stuff (I say this a lot lately). I’m sharing general notes to explain my direction and include a few links for the science.

So much happens behind the scenes, when mother feeds child. It seems somewhat multi-leveled and maybe multi-dimensional (I don’t mean the latter to read esoteric but admit I like implication). I know breastfeeding shapes babies immune system. I learn it shapes the brain, influences emotion and behavior, and more clearly I understand breast milk feeds (gut) microbes.

My representation of the structure of a lactating breast includes secretory lobules, alveoli, ducts, fat and connective tissue ↑. I circle and magnify area to emphasize the focus. Isolating and highlighting ↓ epithelial layer (I like these cells!), I note milk lipid droplets and casein (And I wonder if the same animal protein when added to pigment becomes my Casein paint!)

I read oxytocin makes muscle cells contract and prolactin support the milk secreting cells.

Stem Cells

I learn human breast milk contains (non-invasive) pluripotent ↑ stem cells → mammalssuckmilk. .

While initially I plan to only draw the intestine, I recall babies have a large (way large!) #ThymusGland. It enters composition as do heart and lungs. And I always include the mighty #Liver.

Mother’s breast milk is living. It is both nourishment (calcium, magnesium, sodium, phosphorous, potassium…etc) and hydration. And if I understand correctly…each and every time (wow) mother feeds baby, her milk satisfies the child’s needs at that particular moment in time.

Baby’s spit/saliva carries a signal as it washes ↑ back up into mother’s breast where receptors pick it up. Communication via fluids…you can imagine the benefit to a building immune system ↓. (Breast milk mixed with baby saliva generates hydrogen peroxide → H2O2  )

I don’t forget (I wrote about them before) the human milk oligosaccharides ↑ (HMO’s), the complex carbohydrates unique to human milk that baby cannot absorb. Reminder: HMO’s act as fertilizer for populating gut microbes. (fucosyllactose component of oligosaccharide feed bifidobacteria)
#IntestinalFlora #GutEcosystem #Microbiome #ImUnderstandingSymbiosis!

I go back to my desktop notes to make sure I’ve included particulars in the post. While there’s more to the artwork, I repeat and emphasize…the relationship between newborn and mother is multi-dimensional.
#ILoveMitochondria

A woman’s body. Will continue. Holding the life.

While painting this study, I read and listen to Katie Hinde, whose work was introduced to me by Dr Joe Alcock.
→ TEDWomen What we don’t know about mother’s milk
→ Blog  Mammals Suck… Milk!


This post is dedicated to my sister who lives in Connecticut. Analissa had her first baby   just as the country went into physical-distancing. I hope to meet my ↓ nephew before too long. In the meantime, I text her when I learn a fun fact.

Nephew Roberto AKA Tito

And to my neighbor Amy, mom to 4 week old Hailey (this Portrait of…).

A few years back after having her first baby, Amy came over carrying several of her text books on anatomy, physiology and microbiology, which she left for me to use. They’re heavy! (I use them regularly.)


©2020 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED BY MONICA AISSA MARTINEZ

cadavre exquis (in physical distance mode)

Warming up to draw an exquisite corpse AKA exquisite cadaver, originally known as cadavre exquis. The method of working is a technique invented by the surrealists in the 1920’s. Shout out to #AndréBreton!

I do believe I defeat the point (though not the one that moves to create the line) of working an exquisite corpse when I practice solo this oh-too-fast-for-me sketch. You’re looking at the outcome of 90 seconds or less.

Visual Arts Coordinator Michelle Dock, contacts me interested in a sample study of an exquisite corpse made by 3 artists. She’s in planning for the Tempe Center for the Arts annual Draw-A-Thon 2020 this June. This year workshops will all be virtual.

After completing my own single, small, ↑  practice sketch to see if I can work quick and reference-free, I take a clean  8×11″ piece of paper and measure out 3 even horizontal folds. I choose and draw into the middle space. I plan to deliver the 1/3 completed composition to Mary Shindell tomorrow and then eventually Carolyn Lavender will receive it. They’ll each draw into a section. This is collaboration in the time of a pandemic.

Three women who draw. Careful organizers of space. Letting go of order (creating a new order).

Mary’s easy, she’s done this before. Carolyn hesitates when I ask. I suspect it could be fun. I’ll share the result with you and give you more info about Michelle’s workshop soon.

Did I cheat by practicing? This is as spontaneous as I have ever been in the studio, I broke a few habits, I like it and I’ll be doing it again.

#Fluid #Unpredictable #SequencedCollaboration #VirtualSurrealism


©2020 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED BY MONICA AISSA MARTINEZ

look, see, teach / look, see, learn

The act of drawing remains a fundamental means to translate, document, record and analyse the worlds we inhabit. The role of drawing in education remains critical, and not just to the creative disciplines in art and design for which it is foundational.*


I am detailing the above work when I receive something in my Canvas inbox from a student taking Anatomy and Physiology 201. I don’t know the sender but clearly she attends the college where I teach drawing in the Fine Arts department, so I don’t hesitate to open the email.

The message is sent to only a few people and includes an image file of a human brain. It appears she needs help identifying particular areas.

Confused to receive the email, I soon realize she’s thinking I can be of help to her. I appreciate understanding this and I also like knowing the one response she did get…is correct.

Someone else sends her an on-line course book. I take the opportunity to look through it. It seems like another world from what I teach. (But is it?)
#Look #See #AndLearn


I’m thinking…
about next Fall and whether I will return to PC to teach drawing. Right now  I don’t know about a full semester of on-line drawing instruction.
#Observation #HandsOn 

*Why drawing needs to be a curriculum essential by Anita Taylor


©2020 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED BY MONICA AISSA MARTINEZ

a story about an artist-in-residence

March 2020 I receive an email from Amy Silverman…

I hope this finds everyone healthy and safe. I can’t recall a stranger, more unsettling time. The last time I felt normal was March 11 — the last time we had a Bar Flies show.

Sadly, as I’m sure you know or have guessed, we have had to put the live shows on hiatus for the rest of the season. So I’m dusting off and tweaking an idea I had for fall that will allow us to continue sharing stories with our community — from a safe distance.

Amy continues with an invite to participate in the inaugural Illustrated Bar Flies.

I often attend Bar Flies monthly story telling/live readings at Valley Bar, in downtown Phoenix. If you haven’t been…you should go. Thoughtfully curated, each story is a unique (wow) telling. There’s DJ’ing pre and post individual readings (shout-out to Deborah!).

As with all Bar Flies stories, this illustrated version is true. The theme is HOME.

April 2020  I’ve been home researching the crazy virus that appears to be taking over all of our lives. I’m now teaching my drawing class on-line. In the studio, I work a large abstract, mixed media study based on what I am learning about the coronavirus.

The week I get the invite from Amy, I’m out in the front yard and run into Reed, my next-door neighbor. And with this interaction, I decide I’ll participate. I want to try something new that’s fun AND I can clear up a misconception. 

My story title: Looking for the Truth

looking for the truth

you are never alone

they have an intelligence

real time information…dang! they reprogram a cell!

fomites…wash your hands!

 

solitude

I rest my case, artist-in-residence is the true story.

I learn to organize differently AND I have fun…enough to even have an ↓ outtake.

seeing eyes-balls that never make it into the story

#VirtualBarFlies #WeAreStillSocialDistancing #organic #linear #YouAreNeverAlone
#WhoAmI? #WhatIsThisWorld #WhatIsMyRelationshipToIt
#ImStillArtistInResidence


May 2020 
Amy sent the invitation out to a group of people. Click on anyone of these links – go read them. Each story is true. Each story is different.
Phoenix Magazine  →  bar flies Archives
Instagram →flypaperaz
Facebook → Fly Paper, stories that stick
Eventually they’ll live on the Fly Paper website.

→ more about Bar Flies


©2020 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED BY MONICA AISSA MARTINEZ

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

I’m enjoying the details…


©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.

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