pulling your own strings


I’ve read only one Wayne Dyer book in my life. Many (many) moons ago when I was living in the natural uncertainty of youth,  I picked up “Pulling Your Own Strings” and read it over a weekend. My father was a counselor and had a couple of Dr. Dyer’s books in his library. That week I made a few decisions, most of which I can’t recall anymore. The one I do remember is that I chose to go to art school.

I learned Dr. Wayne Dyer passed away yesterday. RIP Dr. Dyer, you gave me great  insight into responsibility and choice.

between earth and sky: contemporary art from the american southwest

Curator Peter Held contacts me in the Fall of 2014. He is organizing an exhibition that will travel to four Chinese colleges and universities in the Spring and Summer of 2015. The plan includes work from a dozen Southwest artists focusing on contemporary art from the region. He explains it will include works on paper only: photography, prints and drawings.

Earth&Sky_ASU catalogue_Page_01

We hope this exhibition will give the Chinese audience a sense of what the Southwest is: place, landscape, people and culture.  We would love to consider including 1-2 of your works that are smaller in scale.

I meet with Peter and based on our discussion I decide on animal studies. My main focus is human anatomy but I have an interest in anatomy in general. After a bit of thought, I come up with the idea to paint a creature to represent the states I’ve resided in. I’ve lived in the Southwest all my life. Born and raised in El Paso, Texas – I spend five years in Las Cruces, New Mexico before moving to Phoenix, AZ.  I plan to research each state and find an exotic creature, preferably one I’ve crossed paths with.

Each artist has 1-2 or 3 works, all in China now, in their second venue.

Peter sends a note saying the exhibit is well received. I was pleasantly surprised how engaged and interested the students were, he says, spending an hour or more to look at the art closely. It was a great opportunity to converse on a wide range of topics which the subject matter in the art provided.

Last week I receive the catalogue. In this post I share one work from each artist and include the front and back cover. I am so pleased to see the quality and variety of the artwork. All the artist live and work in the Southwestern United States and each one brings a unique sensibility to the exhibit.

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Alice Leora Briggs, The Listener falls to sleep, Woodcut


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Binh Danh, #2 Saguaro National Park, digital print of daguerreotype

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Claudio Dichocea, de Amore Prohibido y el Anarquista, el Emsee 2.0, photolithograph

Earth&Sky_ASU catalogue_Page_10

Jason Garcia, Tewa Tales of Suspense #4 Behold…Po’pay!, serigraph

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Mark Klett, Slight Track and Red Clouds, Copper Mountains, digital photograph from gelatin silver print

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Michael Lundgren, Parasitic Weight, archival pigment print

Carrie Marill, Nature-T:Monument Valley, gouache on paper

Carrie Marill, Nature-T:Monument Valley, gouache on paper


Monica Aissa Martinez, Armadillo: Texas, mixed media on paper


Leigh Merrill, Denizens, pigment print

Earth&Sky_ASU catalogue_Page_18

Matthew Moore, Rotations: Moore Estates-Sorghum (homes) Wheat (roads), 35 acres, digital photogra

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Rose Bean Simpson, Know Thyself, ink on paper

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Will Wilson, Edward S Curtis, The Northern American Indian, Norwood, MA, The Plimpton Press

Between Earth and Sky, Contemporary Art from the American Southwest will travel to 4 locations:

Sichuan University 四川大学
March 11, 2015 – March 31, 2015: Exhibit at Sichuan University

Nanjing University of Posts and Telecommunications 南京邮电大学
April 6, 2015 – April 26, 2015: Exhibit at Nanjing University of Posts and Telecommunications

University of Shanghai Science and Technology 上海理工大学
May 11, 2015 to May 29, 2015: Exhibit at USST

Xi’an International University 西安外事学院
June 8, 2015 – June 22 , 2015: Exhibit at Xi’an International University

between earth and sky catalogue

Cover: Mark Klett, Contemplating the View at Muley Point, Utah, digital photograph from gelatin silver print
Backcover: Michael Lundgren, New Form, archival pigment print

The exhibition is a partnership between ACCEX – American Centers for Cultural Exchange and Arizona State University Art Museum.

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