no woman is an island – continues

Monica we are visiting Phoenix and just had a yoga class at Desert Song … and fell in love with your work. Especially the ‘Subtle Female Back Body’. Anita said she loved another work, ‘Handstand’? Could we make an appointment to view your work or give you a call this morning?

Marti and her husband John are in my studio by noon, and when they leave they take 4 artworks (technically 3) with them. In between we talk about their children, dogs, cats, quilt-making, wool, yarn, travel, fishing and of course – Yoga.

They spend time looking at the various large figure studies I am painting. They respond to them and I appreciate the dialogue. As we move through the studio they see and like my recent animal anatomy compositions. In particular they like the 2-sided hanging works on paper (this is why I consider this one work two). They choose the cat and bird – titled Earth and Air.

I talk about the hanging system and how I am playing with ideas for larger work. John explains another type of hook/hardware to me. He wonders if I have any fish images. I do not. They are heading to a fishing store after our studio visit.

Did I mention Marti and John live in Portland, Oregon.


12″ x 12″
Casein, Graphite, on Paper
Print on plexi

This work is collage (with architectural renderings), painted, sanded and varnished. The cat is egg tempera, the bird is casein. I mention the durability of casein. I tell them about it’s earliest known use in Egyptian work. Casein is a binder. Consequently with all that layering they are stiff works of paper and designed to hang in space, as opposed to being framed and on the wall.


12″ x 12″
Egg Tempera, Graphite, on Paper

They also choose 2 reproductions – images I had printed on plexiglass. The originals are  casein (bee) and egg tempera (cat).  Marti likes The Cat and John likes The Bee. I explain the reproductions are also experimental ways of finishing and hanging an image. While all of it can hang traditionally, it can also hang uniquely without framing.


Cat Study
12″ x 12″
Print on plexiglass


Bee Study 
12″ x 12″
Print on plexiglass

My animals will be residing in Portland. Thank you Marti and John. It was good to meet you. John enjoy your fishing and Marti, quilt-making is great work – get into that studio.

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


… and then there were 2

upside down, right side up, in a human or in a cat – I have learned to identify the bones

“One has no right to love or hate anything if one has not acquired a thorough knowledge of its nature. Great love springs from great knowledge of the beloved object, and if you know it but little you will be able to love it only a little or not at all.”

― Leonardo da Vinci

I have a general idea of what I want to carry out, but don’t know how or when I’ll get there. Though I trust I will. The groundwork for this piece requires that I break down and clearly understanding not only the body, but the pull in its structure.

I recall my undergrad anatomy professor as she pointed out the bones and identified them by name. Impressed by her understanding of the skeleton, I imagined then I could never point and identify the bones. Today as I work in the studio, I hear on the radio that 10,000 hours of deliberate practice makes an expert. I haven’t worked that much on the bone structure, but at this point  I believe I could comfortably teach an anatomy class.


I am working on a drawing that shows a female figure in hand-stand. She is being supported by another figure, his hand above her one foot, so she can press into and locate balance. I mention in an earlier post how in this posture hands become like feet. You carry the weight on fingers, hand and wrist bones called phalanges, metacarpals, and carpals. I like the word phalange. Move up the arm and the bones you locate are the ulna and radius, and in the upper arm is the humerus. I add the collar bones or the clavicles. Right now I have in place the esophagus and trachea above the jaw bone or the mandible.


I outline ribcage and pelvis before I focus on the lower extremities of each figure. We think of leg as the entire area between the hip and the foot but technically the leg is the area below the knee cap or patella and ankle. This always surprises me. It consists of the larger tibia and smaller fibula. The feet include toe, foot and ankle bones called phalanges, metatarsals and tarsals. I’ll tell you more about those and the hand bones another day. For now, I’ll say I’m happy to refer to phalanges a number of times. I place the largest bone in the body which is the thigh bone or the femur. Then I return to the pelvis, and detail the hip bone area including the tail bone, or the coccyx and the sacrum or the base of the spine. Finally I define some back bone or spinal column and rib cage which includes the breastbone and ribs – all of which extend up and out of the pelvis.


I include a cat in the composition. I can name her bones too, the majority of which  coincide with human bones.

IMG_3869 IMG_3865

A handstand is likened to a world gone upside down. Learning to stand on my hands pulled up loads of fear. When I began studying yoga, over a decade ago – I might have left the room when the pose was called out. Now I do them regularly. I doubt I have put in 10,000 hours of that either. Practicing hand-stand is a great barometer to how one feels on any given day, or any given year.  It teaches so much.

Drawing the figure right-side-up and upside-down, front and side views – has taught me a lot too.  I wish everyone the opportunity.

Next : muscles and organs.

issa – cup of tea

Here is a small painting titled Homage to the Cat (or Issa – Cup of Tea). The small collage on canvas is for the Mesa Contemporary Art’s annual 10 x 10 Benefit Show. Surprisingly the challenge I have is going from working large (like I have been this last year) to going very small. Small was natural for me. Now I feel confined, unlike the cat I render.

The work is an abstract study of the skeletal and muscular systems of the feline.  I set her into a map of Maricopa County and the surrounding area.  After completing the work, I return to it and add a cup of tea to the lower left corner.

Three years ago we rescued and adopted a gray and white tabby kitten. We drove out to Florence, AZ to see her. Calm and easy, she came to me. She happily laid on her back, in my lap,  as we drove the 60 miles back to Phoenix.

The kitty ran away the first night with us. We managed to hear her meowing in the dark of the night, and my husband scaled several walls to retrieve her. I called her Papillon the next few days, french for butterfly. It was also the name of a 1973 movie about a prison escape. Florence, AZ has 3 prisons. Between her coming from Florence and the great escape, it seemed logical.

Today she is Issa. She loves the car and often travels with us to Texas. We walk her a couple of times a day. She knows all the neighbors, and they her. If not for her jumping ability I might think she’s more dog than cat. I’ve known her to jump rooftop to rooftop and from ground to roof in an instant. One of her favorite games is chasing a ball thrown to the top of the house. She runs up to chase it, or waits for it to drop, we never know how she’ll respond. I’ve often wondered what sort of bone and muscle structure this animal has.

Tiffany, at MCA, reminds me about the fund-raiser and I decide to set aside time to complete this study for it. It’s a light-hearted collage painting that depicts our cat, in x-ray. The name Papillon never stuck. I was too superstitious that she’d live up to it. She’s named after Kobayashi Issa, a Japanese Haiku poet and lay person Buddhist Priest. Today I learn Issa means Cup-of-tea. One of the qualities a haiku poem has is celebrating the ordinary.

Here’s to Issa, and her morning and evening walks.

Reception & Sale: Weds, Oct 10, 2012, 6-8pm

– $10 per person at the door
– MCA Members (and one guest) get in free and 10% off their entire purchase.
Patron  Members receive 20% off their entire purchase.*
– Sweet treats will be served
– Cash Bar

Unsold artwork will remain on display and available for purchase through Sun, Oct 14th.
For more info → Mesa Contemporary Arts

All proceeds benefit Mesa Contemporary Arts Museum exhibition and educational programs.