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.

4Martinez_Fly

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.

IMG_8528

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.

lines, lines, and more lines…

In this assignment students are looking at lines that make up the structure of an object and inform us about shape. And they are looking at texture, lines that help define surface quality. In class they are drawing shells. Outside of class, they have choice, subject matter varies.  They learn, in the case of the shells, to separate texture from value/color. I explain if anyone has a problem distinguishing value and texture,  feel the surface with your fingertip. Eyes become sensitive and so do fingertips. Everyone is still learning to be patient.
There is something there, I see it. But I can’t feel anything. What do I do?
Ignore it. You’re noticing color / value. It’s not texture, I say.
But I want to show it!
I know, but you can’t.  Not now.
When?
Soon.
How soon?

This is a complex assignment. They enjoy it. I enjoy it. It’s important that they pace themselves, and work with care. The classroom always gets so quiet, you can hear a pin drop.  I have music on during class, and during this particular time they don’t appreciate loud or noisy…

It’s the first time they are considering composition and deliberately balancing positive and negative space.
End result…always pretty exciting.

Juan

Elizabeth

Gabrielle

Javier

Javier

Julieta

Julieta

Katie

Gabrielle

So…in the process of  completing this drawing, several students gift me some shells. One student, from last semester, dropped in just to give me a couple of great shells.  They pay attention….they don’t forget.

In memory of Donna, RIP

rendering a torso-because i have to (formation cont.)

A sketch...

Working on my black gessoed canvas.  I stretched it yesterday and within minutes of starting, I take the prepped canvas off the bars, for ease in working. Right now, I’m calling this a sketch.

I had no plans to draw out a torso, but when last week, I completed the construction of the head and limbs of my new work, and I put it up on my studio wall to see it hang together…well…I was left with an empty center. Empty space in an area that in its complexity is full of important organs, and energetic systems? No way. The work needs a trunk. It requires a connecting center.

This time, that I paint internal organs, I’m concerned with the accuracy of shapes and their scale and proximity to each other. The area is dense. I need to approach this in a more realistic manner than I ever have before. I lay quick contour lines of the physical anatomy and naturally I start thinking about the energetic anatomy of each area. And for this reason especially, I am jazzed to do the work

I’ve not specifically mentioned, in all the writing about my new work, that at the ground of my studies and this piece, are the Chakras. I became interested in the Chakra system years ago, while in grad school.  There’s so much to the study that I’ll let you research the idea, if you’re inclined.  I’ll make simple connections here for quick reference.

To situate myself I place the clavicles. Below them I sketch in the heart, and the beautiful bronchioles that resemble a tree of life. I quickly edge in the diaphragm to close the space. It’s in this area where we hold love and hatred, resentments, self centeredness and loneliness.  It is also the space where commitment, forgiveness, and compassion reside.  Its tone is green for the most part, and a bit of pink.
I take yellow and with it place a recognizable liver beneath the indicated diaphragm, and I add a gall bladder. The lovely little bladder reminds me of a plant stem with a soon to ripen, flower or vegetable. I arrange the kidneys in their space and include the spleen.  Next, the stomach, I like to draw the stomach.  It’s a rounder, whimsical form, and has line work that I always exaggerate. The pancreas is in the same area, I don’t like the shape and so I only indicate it on the edges of the stomach. I move into the meandering small intestines. These organs are all associated with self-esteem, self-confidence, and self-respect. They relate to trust and fear. This energy effects responsibility and decision-making and resonates with integrity and self-discipline. It’s also a sort of storage space for strength, when it’s required. Important qualities to move into the world with.
With orange, I frame the small intestines with the large intestines and plug-in an appendix.  I set in the bladder, the vagina, ovaries and fallopian tubes. I prefer profiles of these organs, but in this case I have to draw it head on…not so visually appealing to me. These organs are connected to creativity, ethics, honor, and sex.
The ending of the large intestines, the rectum, I draw in red, it belongs to another energy system concerning safety and security, which I’ve already spoken about in earlier posts.

It’s complex in stuff, shapes and energetics. It becomes simple in colorful, straight on, line composition.

in the process...

As I sit with it all for a while, I start finishing areas a bit. I decide to lightly sketch in the thyroid and thymus glands cuz I like them.  And then I include the rib cage, it’s an important and defining structure and it connects me back to the clavicles. I like that I end in the area where I began. I’m done, for now. I call it a sketch at the start of the post, but maybe now…it’s become a close to completed drawing. I do like the  work off the bars, but I’ll probably re-stretch.

Again, I have to say I’m amazed with the incredible system we call our body.  I am impressed with all that it holds for us, and all that we hold in it.

becomes...a Drawing

To be Continued…..