on circles and other things vital

Circles are absolutely vital.
― Juan Filloy, Op Oloop

Remember my last post – I’m messing around with images for a little while.

I hand-paint the artist proof of an Intaglio print I made a few years back.

I think about vitality.
I think about framework and structure / skeleton and grid.
I think about circuitry, gold, silver, copper (conductivity) and motherboards.
I think about the body as a vehicle for enlightenment.
I think about the four elements – earth, water, fire and air (tierra, agua, fuego y aire).
I spend 2 days drawing circles and for a moment, I wonder about Aboriginal art.

Before the day is over I am invited to teach a workshop that will be held during the run of a painting exhibition titled Marking the Infinite (Contemporary Woman Artists of Aboriginal Australia).

Now I think about the forming of the body and pattern making.

The 10 x 8″ mixed-media print (can this still be called a print?) is untitled as of yet.

And on a side note: Silver is more electrically conductive than copper or gold.

nosce te ipsum (know thyself)


The area I complete this week is a long 45 x 7″ strip that sits across a lower part of my current composition. The study is of my father. I said earlier that he’s always had strong physical presence. I imply this by including details of basic tissue like muscle and adipose.

I want to include bone tissue. He broke few bones, the wrist in particular, while riding a motorcycle. I recall he cut the cast of himself. His wrist healed slightly crooked. I think he liked that. I drew bone tissue in my mothers image. I want to do something different – connective tissue feels right here instead.

There are 3 types of muscle tissue in the human body so I study and draw out each. And the adipose tissue I finished yesterday, is the first detail below.

IMG_7393Adipose tissue ↑, better known as body fat, located beneath the skin, around the organs, in the bone marrow and in breast tissue. The small composition includes the 2 types: white (WAT) and brown (BAT). Its main role is to store energy, it also cushion and insulates the body. I have a tendency to run cold, even here in Phoenix. I’ll think of my BAT next time I’m shivering.


This second study ↑ is Cardiac Muscle, unique in that it relies on blood and electrical supply to deliver oxygen and nutrients and remove waste product. It is almost completely reliant on oxygen to function.

This next study below is of cartilage ↓.


And the last image is smooth muscle tissue.

IMG_7391While researching I learn general information about muscles and connective tissues is relatively lacking in ancient and medieval anatomy. We don’t see any real study occur until the Renaissance.

Enter Leonardo, who combines observation of the living with dissections of the dead. And Versalius, who publishes a book titled On the Fabric of the Human Being. Valverde combines images of muscles with the adage Nosce te ipsum (Know thyself). Later on muscles are studied in connection to motion, not only in the body, but in the world. Descartes describes muscles and tendons as devices and springs which seem to set nerves in motion , giving the body machine like association. And I find Blavatsky’s words, that basically usher us into the 20th century – Man is a little world-a microcosm inside the great universe…in the matrix of the macrocosmos…He is in it as it is in him…

I teach college level drawing. Sometimes I think I’d like to teach anatomy class. I would have students draw out parts and relate them to systems, and then to themselves. It would not be a science class. I am not sure it would even be an art class. It would be a class for the lay person wanting to know themselves more fully.

el último dibujo en una serie de cuatro

“I stand in awe of my body.”  Henry David Thoreau

This is the last collage in a series of four.

A collage (From the French: coller, to glue): is a work of formal art, primarily in the visual arts, made from an assemblage of different forms, thus creating a new whole.

To create this new whole I choose from: a hand, feet, liver-stomach-gallbladder-spleen, bladder-uterus-fallopian tubes-ovaries, large brain, large inner ear-and drum, ovary, heart, nose, small brain, taste bud, eyeball-tear gland-tear duct-middle ear, palm, male pelvis, testis, rib cage-shoulder blades, and kidneys. I’ve drawn all these great shapes and then some, in the last few months.

I love the color of this one eyeball ↑, and I am still so drawn to the intricacy and shape of the ← inner ear.  Shapes and colors work well together.  And I want the hand ↓, it’s the outline of mine, with lots of added detail (for the sake of depth and color). With these decisions, I pick out the heart and nose and I go back to the first grouping of the six senses. Same idea, different configuration.  Seems like a good way to close the series.

I have enjoyed the labor of making these small intricate works. Such orchestrated structure, how can any of it possibly be random? How can the wonderful inner ear with its spiral shape, loops, and drum be random?  Now I have to go finish the life size figure.  I have a feeling these little works will influence change in that. I have to the end of the summer to complete it, so that’s okay. You’ll see all the finished work in September, at TCA.

I liked the work very much. I loved the study of the body. But like I said before, it brings me right back to spirit. I wonder if you see it. A measure of life is present here and now. It’s the Vital part, in A Constant Vital Commotion.