Saturday, May 30, 2015

Neuron Nests and Branches

When Cajal was a child he would steal and raise baby birds from their nests.  He would also collect baby bird nests and pay his playmates to collect them, too.  He would make detailed drawings and notes about them, and when he was done, he would return the baby birds to their mothers.  These activities were the beginnings and the psychological foundation for his scientific research.  Additionally, birds were important symbols of strength and resilience to him throughout his life. 

This is a drawing of two nests juxtaposed with neuron branches by artist Dawn Hunter
New Nests and Neurons, graphite and ink on paper, 16" x 20"

This is a detail of the drawing that features nests juxtaposed with Neurons by artist Dawn Hunter.
detail, New Neuron Nests

Like an earthquake, true senility announces itself by trembling and stammering. 
Santiago Ramón y Cajal

This is a portrait of Santiago Ramón y Cajal juxtaposed with Pyramidal Neurons by artist Dawn Hunter.
Graphite and ink on paper, 5" x 13"

This image portrays the "branches" of the neurons juxtaposed with an image portraying self reflection near the end of his life. Cajal describes in his last biography written at the age of eighty, his fears of neurological deterioration and his self awareness of it in old age.

It is a page from my accordion book project about Cajal.  Each fold out or open page is 5" x 13," and contains a unique drawing. This work is an ongoing evolving work that chronologically through the fusion of Surrealism and Romanticism, portrays his childhood imagination and biographical events from that time.

Other images from the accordion book are featured below from beginning to its current end.  This project is ongoing, so other pages will be added.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

May Day 2015, drawing of Santiago Ramón y Cajal

In celebration of Santiago Ramón y Cajal's birthday, annually I create a new drawing or painting.  This year I drew a portrait where Cajal is positioned at the edge of the format, and through composition and surrealism explore his tendency to think of subjects in tandem, specifically the past and the shaping of the present by the past.  In this drawing there is represented a fusion and juxtaposition of his thoughts & perceptions of neural networks and his recollections of his explorations of abandoned castles of his youth.  With total and heightened awareness, I would say that Cajal lived his daily life in three parallel states:  recollecting the past, active discovery in the present, and visualizing the future.  In his biographies he makes clear how much his scientific observations were shaped by his boyhood perceptions & experiences.

May Day 2015, graphite and ink on paper, 5" x 13"

An excerpt from Merlin's Song by Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Daughter of Heaven and Earth, coy Spring,
With sudden passion languishing,
Maketh all things softly smile,
Painteth pictures mile on mile,
Holds a cup with cowslip-wreaths,
Whence a smokeless incense breathes."