Thursday, December 22, 2022

Dawn Hunter | portrait of the visual artist in her fifties

A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man is a novel by Irish writer James Joyce that tells the story of Stephen Dedalus, a young artist struggling to find his place in the world and to develop his artistic identity. The novel is considered a modernist classic and is known for its innovative use of language and its portrayal of its protagonist's psychological and moral development.

One insight that aging artists may take from A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man is the idea that the process of becoming an artist is a journey of self-discovery and self-creation.

Being happy and comfortable in your skin at any age is essential to overall well-being and can lead to a more fulfilling and meaningful life.

It's natural to have ups and downs and to go through different phases in life, but it's important to remember that age is just a number and that it's never too late to pursue your passions and goals. Many people find that they have a renewed sense of purpose and focus in their fifties and beyond, and this can be an excellent time to make positive changes in your life and focus on your prosperity and happiness.

Paramount to remember is that there is no one way to "be" a woman in your fifties or at any other age. Every woman has unique strengths, interests, and goals; celebrating and embracing those differences is essential. So if you're feeling optimistic about being a woman in your fifties, that's great! Keep embracing your uniqueness and living your life to the fullest.

This is a close-up portrait of visual artist Dawn Hunter.

My Story

Age has never been a defining factor in my life. I have always lived a creative life, and each day I am in my studio feels timeless. The creative time has a synergy that connects my life's times and places within the creative process. I also teach first-year college students. They are young, energetic, and innovative individuals who inspire and welcome me into their lives through creative connections.

One challenge that older female artists may face is ageism, which refers to discrimination based on age. This can occur in a number of different ways, including being passed over for opportunities or being treated differently because of one's age.

Another challenge that older female artists may face is the lack of representation and support for their work. It is not uncommon for older female artists to feel like their work is not given the same attention or recognition as that of their younger counterparts.

Despite these challenges, many older female artists continue to create and share their work with the world. They may find support and camaraderie in artistic communities and may even find that their age and life experiences give them a unique perspective and voice in their art. (Above, portrait of Dawn Hunter. Photo by Darcy Phelps.)

This is a photo of visual artist Dawn Hunter at the Yayoi Kusama exhibition at the High Museum in Atlanta, GA. Dawn is standing in a hot pink room with big black polka dots created by Kusama.

My Inspiration

Yayoi Kusama is a Japanese artist who has found great success and recognition as an older female artist. Born in 1929, Kusama has been creating art for over 70 years and has gained a reputation as one of the most important and influential contemporary artists in the world.

Kusama's art is known for its vibrant colors, repetitive patterns, and immersive installations, which often incorporate performance and interactive elements. She has worked in a variety of media, including painting, sculpture, installation art, and literature. 

This is a photo of a Yayoi Kusama light installation. There are portals that viewers can look in through. There are mirrors that reflect the lights creating a sense of dimension and infinity.

Above, self-portrait of Dawn Hunter at the Yayoi Kusama exhibition in Atlanta, Georgia. Left, the Peep Show light installation by Yayoi Kusama, photo by Dawn Hunter.

Throughout her career, Kusama has exhibited her work in galleries and museums around the world and has garnered a large and devoted following. In recent years, she has gained even more recognition and success, with her work being featured in major exhibitions and sold for record-breaking prices at auction. Despite being in her 90s, Kusama continues to create and exhibit her art, inspiring and delighting audiences globally.

My favorite living artist is Kusama, and I make it a point to travel and attend her shows whenever I can, like to the Bronx Botanical Gardens or High Museum of Art. When her exhibition was on view at the High Museum in Atlanta, GA, I actually bought a scalped ticket to attend. The show had sold out, and people were wrapped around the block in tents in hopes of receiving one of the daily tickets held. 

*Ticket scalping has become a more common practice during the past twenty years because of the internet. Most scalping incidents now take place through online sales transactions. Currently, there are no federal laws that prohibit the scalping or resale of tickets.

Photo of Yayoi Kusama's obliteration room. A room comprised entirely of white walls, white furniture and white objects. Guests to the show cover the objects with polka dot stickers on the was out. This flattens the space and create an illusion of disappearing objects.

Above, the obliteration room at the Yayoi Kusama Exhibition at the High Museum, photo by Dawn Hunter.


2022 has been an excellent year for me creatively, and I was productive - generating many new works of art throughout the year. I have been honored by the recognition and success of my illustrations, drawings, and paintings about the esteemed neuroscientist Santiago Ramón y Cajal and my daughter, Darcy. I have exhibited throughout the US this year, from Art Fields in Lake City, SC, Verum Ultimum, Portland, OR, and the Cabrillo Gallery, Los Angeles - to name a few 2022 exhibition highlights. 

I feel sincere gratitude for being the first artist to be elected to the Board of Directors of the prestigious Cajal Club and for the distinctions of having my artwork reproduced and written about in Scientific American® and the Consilience Journal.

I look forward to opportunities and the creative journey ahead of me in 2023, and as the sayings go, "age is just a number," and "being fifty is nifty."

Portrait of Dawn Hunter taken by her daughter Darcy. Dawn has long brown hair, is wearing a burgundy dress and is sitting at a table with many drawings she created of her daughter.

Portrait of Dawn Hunter taken by her daughter Darcy as they prepared the Darcy Inventory for the 2022, 10th Anniversary Artfields exhibition, Lake City, SC.

Tuesday, October 11, 2022

How to Copyright in Batches of 10

The social media art challenge prompts are an excellent way for artists to express themselves, let their creativity flow, and get their work out there. Prompts are usually keywords, which can be anything from a single word to a sentence. I have a couple of favorites that I follow and participate in during the month of October; Facetober and Peachtober. During 2021, I created the Darcy Inventory based on the Facetober prompts and that series has gone on to be included in professional art exhibitions, like ArtFields.

The Facetober challenge is created by a Skillshare top teacher, British designer and illustrator Charly Clements. The prompts Charly creates helps people find new ways of self-expression through short-form portraits. This is an excellent opportunity for artists who prefer drawing or painting people instead of landscapes or other subjects to showcase their skills.

Above, Facetober 2022 day 3 (braid, gold, and magic) by Dawn Hunter, watercolor, ink and acrylic on paper.
Link, here, to the 2021 Facetober Darcy Inventory portraits.

Sha'an d'Anthes, an illustrator, artist, and author, created the social media art challenge Peachtober. She is the creator of the highly engaged Instagram account @furrylittlepeach, which features many of her creative projects, reels, and sneak peeks into her studio. The challenge for Peachtober is open-ended one word prompts, with various concepts and subjects that can be experimented with for the month.

If you are looking for social media engagement and connections with other artists while expanding your studio practice, both Facetober and Peachtober are excellent choices.

Sha'an d'Anthes and Charly Clements do a great job sharing their social media prompt schedule a month before the challenge starts. This gives artists plenty of lead time to gather their materials, think through the concepts, plan their work, and create artworks before the challenge starts. 

Making your artwork ahead of time is crucial because it grants you the opportunity to copyright your artwork in batches, which is cheaper than copyrighting a single artwork ($65.00 per single work registration vs. $65.00 per group registration). 

Original artwork posted on social media is a very popular form of expression, however before posting your artwork online, you should always make sure that you have copyright protection. Filing a copyright registration prior to publication also entitles you to a greater award sum for damages if an infringement occurs. 

It might sound complicated, it is much simpler than you think. 

Above, Facetober 2022 day 2 (afro, pink and animal print) by Dawn Hunter, watercolor, ink and acrylic on paper.

What is Copyright?

"Copyright is a form of protection for the rights of creators of works. It is used to give them the sole right to reproduce, distribute and create derivative works from their original work."

Copyright is not a new idea, it has been around since the 18th century. It was first established in England in 1710 by the Statute of Anne. The United States followed suit with the Copyright Act in 1790 which has been updated over time to reflect changes in technology and society.

What's the Difference Between Copyright and Public Domain?

"Copyright is a form of protection grounded in the U.S. Constitution and granted by law for original works of authorship fixed in a tangible medium," such as writing, music, or artwork. Copyright covers both published and unpublished works.

Public domain is the legal status of creative works that are not subject to copyright or similar rights of protection. These include ideas, facts and discoveries; news events; government publications; works created by U.S. federal "government employees as part of their official duties;" and anonymous or pseudonymous works (unless the author's identity is generally known or can be reasonably ascertained).

Copyright protects original work from being used without permission from its owner - this includes copying, modifying, distributing, displaying publicly and making adaptations from it. The public domain does not offer any protection to a work - anyone can use it without permission from the author which includes copying, modifying, distributing, displaying publicly, and making adaptations from it.

An image that is posted publicly on the internet is not automatically public domain. Most people only realize they have committed copyright infringement when they are being arrested. It is important to determine authorship and receive permission to post images that you have not created. That is a topic that will be developed further in another blog post; however, I want to touch on it briefly here.

How to Register Multiple Artworks with One Application

The Copyright Office offers a way for creatives to register their individual works as a collective or compilation. The Copyright Office allows a group registration for up to ten works in one registration application.

You will need documentation of your photo, artwork, or illustration. Additionally, you will need an online eCO registration account through the U.S. Government Copyright Office, a completed online form, and a means of payment.

If your application is approved, you will be entitled to seek one award of statutory damages for the collective work as a whole, rather than a separate award for each individual work, even if the defendant infringed all of those works.

Above, Facetober 2022 day 1 (coral, red hair and sunglasses) by Dawn Hunter, watercolor, ink and acrylic on paper.

How to Copyright Your Artwork in Batches of Ten

If you're an artist, you're probably always creating new pieces of artwork. Is there a way to copyright your artwork in batches of up to ten works? The answer is yes, there is a way to do this, and it's fairly simple. Below I have compiled the steps you can follow so that you'll be good to go.

For an artistic series to qualify, the individual works must not have been previously published or previously registered.

1. Create an eCO account. 

One of the most important is things you can do for yourself as an artist is protecting your intellectual property. That means ensuring you have the proper copyrights and trademarks for your artwork, products, and branding.Copyrighting artwork can be time-consuming. Protecting your intellectual property is important, and it's important to do it right. The good news is that many resources are available to help you, including the Copyright Office website:

2. Select "Register a Group of Unpublished Works." 

You can make the process easier by copyrighting your artwork in batches of up to ten works. For a social media challenge like, Facetober, I would recommend to register each week as a batch, especially since the prompts are organized in that manner. That would be a total of four batches and the total cost would be $260.00. If you were to registered all thirty-one works individually, the total cost would be $2,015.00.

You'll need the work's title, the year it was created, and the copyright owner. The US Copyright Office will assign you a number once you've filed your application.

3. Complete the online form prompts:

  • Type of Work
  • Title of Work
  • Completion
  • Authors/Claimants
  • Limitation of Claim
  • Rights and Permissions
  • Correspondent
  • Mail Certificate
  • Special Handling
  • Certification
  • Review Submission

4. After you complete the online registration form, you will be prompted to pay the registration fee online. You will not be able to upload supporting documentation or submit your registration application until your application fee has been received.

5. Next, create and upload a PDF document that includes an image of each individual piece that will be covered by the copyright. 

6. After your payment is received, review your application, upload your supporting documentation, and submit your registration.

It will take about sixty days for the review process to be completed and for you to receive your certificate. However, your work will still be protected because you submitted your registration application prior to publication (posting online). If you have an intellectual property attorney that you work with, provide them with a copy of your registration and registration certificate for their records.

Reach out to the copyright office if you have any questions about copyrighting your artwork. It's a relief to have your work registered with a copyright. It is a topic that I feel passionate about, and you can learn more about how to register an individual work in my blog post from February 2022 titled Your Cheatin' Heart.

Friday, September 23, 2022

Art of Neuroscience Award and Scientific American Feature

I am an artist who uses the biography of Santiago Ramón y Cajal and his neuroscience research as the inspiration for my artwork. Earlier this year, my artwork, Dueling Cajals, won an Honorable Mention in the international Art of Neuroscience competition out of the Netherlands. I am honored and speechless to have my artwork featured in Scientific American in an article about the competition. In the article, I share my artwork with the writers and editors (Fionna M. D. Samuels and Liz Tormes) and how the Cajal Legacy at the Instituto Cajal and neuroscience inspire my art about Cajal. 
This is an award announcement of Dawn Hunter's honorable mention prize in the Art of Neuroscience Awards.

Above my artwork, Dueling Cajals, receives Honorable Mention in the 2022 Art of Neuroscience 
International competition.

My artwork is based on my thorough study of Cajal's life and his scientific drawings, which I conduct in collaboration with leading experts in the neuroscience field at the National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD, and Instituto Cajal, Madrid, Spain. I have created over 300 works about Cajal in my ongoing project. My creative project aims to help increase public awareness of the wonders and how the process of drawing can create unique insight and interpretations for scientific research. Overall, my series about Cajal is biographically informative about him and his drawing process.

This is an image that contains three photos pasted together. The first image on the left is a portrait of Dawn Hunter holding Cajal's Nobel Prize, the middle image is an original scientific drawing of Cajal's, and the last image on the right is Dawn Hunter's research desk at the Legado Cajal, Madrid, Spain. There are markers in the foreground, a sketch of Dawn Hunter's in the middle, and Cajal's original death mask mold in the background.

Me with my primary source references for my work Dueling Cajals: Cajal's Nobel Prize, his original scientific drawing of regenerative nerve cells and his death mask. All of these items are housed at the Instituto Cajal, Madrid, Spain.

Historical Background about Cajal

Santiago Ramón y Cajal (1852-1934) was born in a small town in Spain. His father was a doctor, and Cajal grew up interested in science. He went to medical school, but he also studied biology and physics. He studied the brain using histological staining methods, microscopes, micrographs, and drawing. He discovered how different parts of the brain work. Cajal was also a great teacher and helped train many scientists who would go on to make significant contributions to neuroscience, like Fernando De Castro (arterial chemoreceptors), Rafael Lorente de Nó (audio-vestibular nuclei and system), and E. Horne Craigie (zoologist and author).

Along with Camillo Golgi, Cajal won the Nobel Prize for his work in 1906.

He did his seminal work in the late 1800s and early 1900s. He is known for problem-solving and innovation, like altering and improving the Golgi Black Reaction stain, which allowed him to visualize the nervous system in unprecedented detail. His discoveries continue to be the basis for our understanding of the brain.

One of Cajal's most important contributions was his development of the Neuron Doctrine. This theory states that the nervous system comprises individual cells called neurons. Santiago Ramón y Cajal's work on the neuron doctrine helped establish neuroscience as its scientific discipline.

Cajal's legacy continues to this day. His work on the neuron doctrine laid the foundation for our understanding of the brain, and his work on the brain's structure has helped shape our understanding of mental illness. He is a leading figure in the history of neuroscience, and his work is still studied and appreciated by scientists today.

Cajal's impact on neuroscience cannot be overstated. His work on the anatomy of the nervous system revolutionized our understanding of how the brain works. His discoveries helped establish neuroscience as its own field and paved the way for many of the modern insights that have been made in neuroscience in the years since. Cajal's work is still studied and referenced by neuroscientists today, and his legacy will continue for many years.

His discoveries about the structure and function of the brain have had a profound impact on the field and continue to be studied and applied today. Thanks to Cajal's efforts, we have a much better understanding of how the brain works and continue to progress in understanding neurological disorders. His work demonstrates the power of science and the importance of curiosity and creativity in research.


I have enjoyed making artwork about Cajal's life and histology research. I am honored to have my work receive an Honorable Mention Award in the Art of Neuroscience competition and delighted that it was featured in Scientific American. To learn more about my project about him, visit my website devoted to my Cajal project, Dawn Hunter Art,™ | Cajal Portfolio.

This is a color marker and ink drawing that features four portraits of Cajal. His age is about 38 in these portraits, and the main background color is orange, and he is dress in muted green and Earth tones.

My drawing, Four Cajals, marker and pen on paper, is based on a black and white self-portrait photo montage created and printed by Cajal. I added the color based on a color harmony system to my drawing.


Below is a video that documents my process Creative Process Video for the Artwork Dueling Cajals:

Saturday, September 17, 2022

Mentorship and Loss

As a college art student, you'll likely have access to a studio space where you can work on your craft. And while having your own space is great, it can also be a bit isolating. That's why having a mentor in your college art studio can be so helpful.

A mentor can provide guidance and feedback on your work, help you connect with other artists, and even just be someone to talk to about the creative process. If you're looking for a mentor, here are a few places to start looking.

Your professor: If you have a professor who you admire and who is knowledgeable about the type of art you're interested in, they may be a great mentor for you. Ask if they're available to meet with you on a regular basis to discuss your work and get feedback.

The college art gallery: Many college art galleries have staff members who are happy to talk to students about art. If you're interested in a particular artist or type of art, ask a gallery staff member if they know of anyone who could mentor you.

Local artists: There are likely many artists living and working in your town or city who would be happy to mentor a college student. Visit local art galleries and studios, and introduce yourself to the artists.

Having a mentor in your college art studio can make a world of difference in your creative journey. So don't be afraid to reach out and ask for help!

My Mentors

During my college years at the Kansas City Art Institute, I was never shy about reaching out to professors. I was lucky in college, I had two great mentors who shaped my artistic practice profoundly: Wilbur Niewald and Shirley Luke Schnell.

Wilbur Niewald

Wilbur Niewald died this past spring at the age of 97. He live his entire life in Kansas City, and no one has painted the city as frequently as he did. His Plein air works could rightfully be called love letters to the city.

Wilbur earned bachelor and master degrees from the Kansas City Art Institute. He was a member of the painting faculty for 43 years, chaired the painting department from 1958 to 1985, and was a respected and well known painter throughout the United States. 

In 1992, he retired. He remained devoted to his artistic practice and he spent hours each day, often six days a week, painting outdoors in Loose Park or the West Bottoms or in his studio during his retirement.

One of the things I liked to do when visiting Kansas City in the summer was to visit him while he was creating his Plein air artworks. I would find him passionately painting away at his easel near the tennis courts at Loose Park in Kansas City, Missouri, wearing his well-known attire: a straw hat, denim shirt, and blue jeans.

Above, a drawing I completed of Wilbur Niewald while he was painting in Loose Park during one of my visits to Kansas City, marker and pen on paper, 11" x 14."

I took Wilbur's drawing classes most semesters while I was in college. Every class was always the same, with one instruction: "Draw what you see." I found the experience meditative and relaxing, and I also developed a deep appreciation for working from observation.

Wilbur always took me seriously and respected me as an artist, which profoundly impacted me the most. I took myself seriously because of that. He understood my potential more than I did. As a sophomore, I had a conversation with him about switching my major from Painting to Fibers. He made a compelling argument to other faculty and me in the program about why I should not switch my major. I stayed because he convinced me.

He drew and painted from direct observation beginning in the 1970s. It never mattered to him what the condition of weather was. Once when our drawing class was outside drawing the landscape in Plein air, it began to rain. Most students began packing up and heading back to the classroom, but Wilbur exclaimed, "Don't leave; this is great. Change your drawing as the situation changes." He only convinced four of us to stay.

Above, a drawing I completed of Wilbur Niewald while he was painting in Loose Park during one of my visits to Kansas City, marker and pen on paper, 11" x 14."

Shirley Luke Schnell

There's nothing quite like a quirky art professor to get students excited about creativity. Shirley Luke Schnell was one of those teachers. With her whimsical, soft-spoken voice and eccentric clothing, she always seemed to be on the verge of levitating above all of us in the Foundations studio. But somehow, she always managed to bring unique and memorable insight to the studio practice, and her students always seemed inspired and to learn a lot.

Even though she was different than anyone else you'd ever meet, her students connected with and loved her. They knew that she cared about them and that she wanted them to succeed. She was always pushing them to be their creative limits with the concepts of her assignments. This generated growth and new perspectives on what is or could be.

Shirley is a true original, and in the classroom, she was the perfect example of how being different can be a good thing. After Foundations, I reached out to her for critiques of my paintings and help with my graduate school applications. She was fully invested and took time during her weekends to help me write my application essays with clarity. I was fortunate to have her mentorship after college, too. We became close friends, and she has been present for the significant milestones of my life. Such as visiting me in London during my residency at the Royal Academy of Arts and attending my wedding.

Above, a digital iPad drawing I created of Shirley during one of my visits to her home.

The Onset of Alzheimer's

As people age, they may begin to experience memory loss. This can be a difficult change for the individual and their loved ones. For those with Alzheimer's disease, the onset of memory loss can be particularly difficult on relationships. Shirley was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease officially in 2013, however, there were signs of the illness several years before that diagnosis. Her illness has progressed significantly and she is now at a non-verbal stage. Even though she is still alive, the disease has created loss.

1. What is Alzheimer's disease?

Alzheimer's disease is a neurodegenerative disorder. It causes gradual memory loss and cognitive decline. It is the most common type of dementia, affecting an estimated 5.4 million Americans. The cause of Alzheimer's is unknown, but it is thought to involve a combination of genetic and environmental factors. There is no cure.

2. What are the signs and symptoms?

Symptoms of Alzheimer's disease can vary significantly from person to person. In general, however, they may include problems with memory, thinking, and communication, as well as changes in mood and behavior. Some people with Alzheimer's may also experience physical symptoms, such as difficulty walking, dizziness, and changes in appetite.

3. How does Alzheimer's disease affect relationships?

Alzheimer's disease can impact relationships. People with Alzheimer's may become less interested in spending time with others, have difficulty remembering names and faces, and become confused or agitated. This can be difficult for family members and friends, who may feel like they are losing the person they know and love. 

It is important to remember that people with Alzheimer's are still capable of feeling love and affection. It is essential to continue to spend time with them, even if they can't always communicate. Try to engage them in activities they enjoy, and be patient and understanding.

Above, a digital iPad drawing Shirley created, after the onset of Alzheimer's, of her cat during one of my visits to her home.


It's never easy to lose a mentor.

Whether it's sudden or expected, the death of a mentor can be a difficult thing to process. After all, this is someone who has been a pivotal figure in your life, someone who has helped you grow and learn.

The death of a mentor can leave you feeling lost and uncertain. But it's important to remember that your mentor would want you to continue on your journey, to keep growing and learning.

Take some time to grieve, and then remember that your mentor would want you to keep moving forward.

Friday, August 26, 2022

Six Month Studio Round Up

I love spending my summers being creative, whether it's working on art projects in my studio or doing my daughter's hair in pretty braids and weaves. What I look forward to the most in my studio practice is the feeling of satisfaction when I'm done. One of my favorite places to go plein air painting is the botanical gardens at the Riverbanks Zoo and Garden. I forget about the sweltering summer heat when I'm painting or drawing the landscape.

Darcy and her back-to-school summertime braids weaved by yours truly, and my White Daisy mixed media drawing completed at the Riverbanks Zoo.

Spring Exhibitions

University of South Carolina's academic year ended with a "high" for me this past spring. My artwork was featured in three exhibitions: one in California at the Cabrillo Gallery, Cabrillo College, of the greater Los Angeles area. It was a group exhibition, and the show was titled Who We are Portraying. The exhibit explored identity and how individuals represent or express themselves publicly.  

The other two exhibitions I participated in were in South Carolina. Both were 10th-anniversary shows. The first one was a salon exhibition celebrating the 10th Anniversary of the publication, The Jasper Project. The show and celebration were both held at 701 Whaley's Pool Hall space. Laura Garner Hine curated the exhibition. Other artists selected to participate in the show included Bohumila Augustinova, Eileen Blythe, Mike Dwyer, Michael Krajewski, Cait Maloney, and Lucas Sams, to name a few. 
The second exhibition 10th-anniversary exhibition I participated in this past spring was the ArtFields 10th-Anniversary competition exhibition. Located in Lake City, South Carolina, ArtFields is a nine-day festival that features up to 400 works of art at 40 venues in which on can view the artists selected to compete from the southeast region of the United States. Participating artists are juried each year by a prestigious panel of jurors. The 2022 ArtFields juror panel included:  Venessa Castagnoli, Executive Director of Ogden Contemporary Arts; Charles Eady, Contemporary Artist and Author; Jean McLaughlin, Arts Administrator, Educator, and Artist; David Reyes, Curator of Exhibitions and Collections, Huntsville Museum of Art; and Jaime Suárez, Sculptor, Architect, Educator, and Ceramicist.

Top, detail of one of The Darcy Inventory drawings, mixed media on paper, 11" x 14."  The Darcy Inventory, center, installed at The R.O.B. at this year's 10th anniversary ArtFields competition, Lake City, SC. Learn more here!

Summer Fun

Darcy won a weeklong spot in the Walk on the Wild Side World Explorers camp in Greenville this summer. Campers dissected owl pellets, learned about various estuary habitats, and met a tarantula, chinchilla, and python at the Greenville Zoo. When Darcy was not in camp, we spent our time either swimming in the hotel pool or exploring the downtown area of Greenville, South Carolina. 

Check out our South Carolina Sunshine Instagram reel of the week here!

Darcy, outside of World Explorers camp, Greenville, SC.

Art of Neuroscience, Netherlands Institute of Neuroscience

I received an Honorable Mention for my artwork Dueling Cajals in the prestigious international sci-art competition, Art of Neuroscience. This year's competition jurors were Dr. Bevil Conway, Dr. Flora Lysen, and Dr. Sabine Niederer.


Netherlands Institute for Neuroscience Statement: 

"This submission struck the jury because of its emphasis on the history of neuroscience. The work highlights how any scientific process, particularly scientific image-making, can be influenced by a multilayering of cultural and historical factors. The jury admired how diverse periods in time from this historical perspective were weaved into one image, and appreciated the effort that went into investigating the sources that Cajal was exposed to. Dueling Cajals serves as an important reminder for neuroscientists to recognize history and its influence on their work. " - AoN, NIN, NL

My drawing was created by referencing primary sources from Cajal's life and scientific research while serving as the Fulbright España Senior Research fellow at the Instituto Cajal. Below this paragraph is an Instagram reel. In the reel, I am giving the viewer a glimpse into the creative process and some of the items (Cajal's scientific regeneration drawing and the original mold of his death mask) that I researched in creating my drawing.

Dawn Hunter, Dueling Cajals, Art of Neuroscience Instagram reel.

My artwork above, Dueling Cajals, mixed media on paper, 11" x 14."

The primary sources that I reference from the Instituto Cajal, Madrid, that inspire the Dueling Cajals drawing, left an original nerve regeneration scientific drawing completed by Cajal and the original death mask mold.

Cajal Club

I am honored, humbled, and proud to have been elected to the Cajal Club Board of Directors. I am so excited and honored that they selected me to create a new website for their organization! My life was full of hard work, collaboration, and feedback from and with top Neuroscientists during the transition from July to August. The new website is now operational. This is an ongoing endeavor; a garden that will continue to flourish and grow. More content is yet to come, so stay tuned!

The new website, designed by yours truly, can be found here:


We have had some wonderful adventures so far this year and we are looking forward to more! We feel honored and blessed by all of our opportunities.

Have a wonderful fall everyone and check back with us again soon! XOXO

Portrait of artist Dawn Hunter, taken by her daughter Darcy, July, 2022.

Sunday, May 1, 2022

Happy 170th Birthday Cajal!

Happy Birthday Cajal, you are my world, and your discoveries laid the foundation for many other research quests of the mind. 

Cajal within the pyramidal neuron cells, marker and pen on paper. This is a page from my sketchbook.

Since your contributions to the neuron doctrine the have been too many neuro/mind research questions and discoveries to list. But here are a few.

"Split-brain" surgery to control epileptic seizures was performed by Willian Van Wagenen in 1940, and during 1946 Robert Heath carried out deep brain stimulations. 

My recreation of Cajal's black and white self portrait photograph, marker and pen on paper. I observed the primary source while completing my Fulbright Fellowship at the Instituto Cajal, Madrid, Spain and I drew this work from direct observation. 

Eugene Aserinsky discovered "rapid eye movement" (REM) in 1953 and that those movements correspond to certain dream states. 

My recreation of Cajal's drawing of a retina, marker and pen on paper. I observed the primary source while it was on display at the John Porter Neuroscience Research Center at the NIH and drew this work from direct observation.

Roger Sperry and Michael Gazzaniga discovered that the two hemispheres of the human brain are unique and functionally different.

A sketchbook drawing of "...Buds budding, roots rooting and taking root -- Ha, some studio humor within my new series." Cajal branching out, acrylic and ink on paper. This is a conceptual work in which I referenced self portraits created by Cajal and my own research drawings of this work.

Based on blood flow, Seiji Ogawa measured functional MRI brain activity. The plasticity of the adult human brain was proven by Vilayanur Ramachandran in 1994, and Jin Hyung Lee discovered that high and low frequency stimulations generate unique and varied states of consciousness in the brains of rats.

My world of Santiago Ramón y Cajal, this is a photo of a wall in my studio covered in my drawings of and about Cajal.

Saturday, February 12, 2022

Your Cheatin' Heart

You can copyright your PowerPoint or professional presentations and probably should. How? What copyright registration format? This blog post examines the definition of plagiarism and the impact of internet access; plus lists the instructions on how to register your PowerPoint or professional presentation under the Motion Picture/Audio and Visual work through the Copyright Office of the United States Government.

What is plagiarism?

"Plagiarius" is the Latin root for plagiarism, and it means kidnapper or someone who steals children by capturing them in a net or a plaga. The word arose from ancient human behavior. Internet access has been identified as a leading "culprit" in the rise of plagiarism, so the metaphor for contemporary human behavior is not lost in its linguistic origins. ORI (Office of Research Integrity) has defined plagiarism as: "Appropriating someone else's idea (e.g., an explanation, a theory, a conclusion, a hypothesis, a metaphor) in whole or in part, or with superficial modifications without giving credit to its originator."

Strictly speaking, PowerPoints and professional presentations are automatically copyrighted when they are created; however, you can register your presentation with the Copyright Office of your nation. Presenting a PowerPoint at a professional meeting is considered a form of publication. Registering your PowerPoint presentation will ensure that you can take legal recourse if the content is plagiarized, i.e., original concepts, images, and scripted content appear, without proper citation, in someone else's work: presentations, published articles, books, blogs, websites, etc.

Comprised of Taylor & Francis, Routledge, CRC Press, F1000 Research, and Dovepress, top publishers Taylor & Francis has an entire web page devoted to various plagiarism topics, such as types of plagiarism, detecting and avoiding it. They have provided a precise definition for writers in their online content Author Services, defining the matter as the following: "For Taylor & Francis journals, this applies to data, images, words or ideas taken from any materials in electronic or print formats without sufficient attribution. This can include:

  • abstracts,
  • seminar presentations,
  • laboratory reports,
  • thesis or dissertation,
  • research proposals,
  • computer programs,
  • online posts,
  • grey literature,
  • unpublished or published manuscripts.

The use of any such material either directly or indirectly should be properly acknowledged in all instances. You should always cite your source (please see 'How to avoid plagiarism' below)."

Plagiarism is common in all professions and occurs at all professional levels. Statistically, men tend to plagiarize more than women. Biological sciences in academia have the highest academic misconduct rate, which includes lifting content from others, falsely reporting data, and fabricating information or outcomes of experiments. 

In the 2013 paper, Males Are Overrepresented among Life Science Researchers Committing Scientific Misconduct, Dr. Ferric C. Fang, Dr. Joan W. Bennett, and Dr. Arturo Casadevall examine retracted articles indexed by PubMed written by biomedical and life science authors. Their study explored plagiarism, fraud (10-fold increase since 1975), duplicate publication, research error, journal error, other reasons (e.g., unresolved authorship conflict), and unknown reasons. Their study found that most retracted articles were the result of misconduct.

This graph is from the 2013 article Males Are Overrepresented among Life Science Researchers Committing Scientific Misconduct The graph comprises information that reflects the ORI definition of research misconduct. It includes fabrication, falsification, and plagiarism. The graph is reproduced here with permission from Dr. Ferric C. Fang and Dr. Arturo Casadevall.

In the paper Factors influencing plagiarism in higher education: A comparison of German and Slovene students, Eva Jerad et al. concluded that the field is level among both genders and nationalities. They determined through their study which included 485 participants that digital technology and access to content through the internet was the main driving force. In their paper, they cited three published definitions of plagiarism: "Perrin, Larkham, and Culwin define plagiarism as the use of an author's words, ideas, reflections and thoughts without proper acknowledgment of the author. Koul et al. define plagiarism as a form of cheating and theft since in cases of plagiarism, one person takes credit for another person's intellectual work. According to Fishman, 'Plagiarism occurs when someone: 1) uses words, ideas, or work products; 2) attributable to another identifiable person or source; 3) without attributing the work to the source from which it was obtained; 4) in a situation in which there is a legitimate expectation of original authorship; 5) in order to obtain some benefit, credit, or gain which need not be monetary.'"

We have examined several definitions of plagiarism from individuals and organizations within this post. Despite the form of original content format, e.g. PowerPoint, and the manifestation of the plagiarized content, e.g., book chapter, the consensus is if the content is an "intellectual work product" of another without proper attribution to the origin (whether written, spoken, performed or visual), it is plagiarism. While full of ideas, your PowerPoint is not simply "an idea." It manifests the development of ideas and is a completed work in the Audio and Visual format.

Contemporary audiences attending presentations are equipped with smartphone cameras, linked to the internet, and are sometimes actively engaged with social media platforms like Twitter. During or after a presentation, the content of professional PowerPoint presentations aren't confined to a conference or symposium audience. Novel and innovative ideas, images of original research, or unique conceptual content can be instantaneously shared, liked, and re-shared with thousands. This rapid-fire sharing can occur with or without the author's knowledge or consent and thus create research vulnerabilities. However, there are perks, too. Engagement in sharing content immediately with a broad and diverse audience can also be advantageous. Meaningful research connections can be made. Therefore, the potential for unexpected input through new collaborative relationships can foster a robust research outcome.

Above: Images from my presentation, Content and Form: Cajal's Unique Visual Language, September 29, 2017, at the National Congress of Spanish Neuroscience (SENC 2017.) Neuroscientist Dr. Carmen Agustin, Tweeted about my presentation during my talk. In her Tweets, she demonstrated professional etiquette: documented the event, showed the timeline of the ideas in the PowerPoint, and made clear that the ideas were developed from my research. Tweet thread translation, left Tweet: Dawn Hunter comparing the works of Golgi and Cajal: "Cajal draws what he sees, Golgi tries to fit what he sees into his idea." Top right Tweet: "Cajal drew with continuous lines; surely due to the influence of his maternal grandfather, a weaver." Middle right Tweet, where I present my theory "Dürer's influence on Cajal's photos." Bottom right Tweet: Dawn Hunter first recreated Cajal's drawings [through observing the primary source]; then, she has created her own works based on them. Photos and Tweets courtesy of Dr. Mari Carmen Agustin Pavon.

Above: My presentation at SENC 2017 Content and Form:  Cajal’s Unique and Inventive Visual Language, September 29, 2017, Alicante, Spain. Photo courtesy of Fernando De Castro Soubriet.

Not all passive observers possess integrity, and some can be opportunistic with the content of your work. Other times, because they viewed it on the internet, people will erroneously mistake your academic scholarship as belonging to the public domain. That is unfortunate, but it is their responsibility to clarify the origin of content before using it. Therefore, taking steps to register for your presentation is a must. It will protect your research and define the source of unique concepts and content if your research makes its way into someone else's work without a proper citation.

Information and Steps to Copyright your presentation:

What does the copyright of your PowerPoint cover?  Your content: your expression of ideas (organization, sequence, and context), scripted text that you have written that appears visually on the slide, scripted text you wrote but spoke during the presentation as it appears in your PowerPoint slide notes, and any original figures (jpegs., graphs, tables, etc.) you created for the presentation.

What your PowerPoint or presentation copyright will not cover? Photographs that are copyrighted by someone else or an organization, images that are in the public domain, or scripted text written by or copyrighted by another person, quotes or scripted text from the public domain, and figures where others hold the copyright or are from the public domain (jpegs., graphs, tables, etc.) 

How much does it cost? $65.00

Above: Slide from from my presentation, Content and Form: Cajal's Unique Visual Language, September 29, 2017 at the National Congress of Spanish Neuroscience (SENC 2017.) Red arrows indicate what will not be covered and the green arrows indicate what will be covered.

Steps to follow:
Below are the steps to follow in order to copyright register a single author PowerPoint or professional presentation in the United States. There are a few extra steps that need to be taken for multiple authors, but that is not covered in this post:

  • Visit Select the type of work that you wish to register: literary works, visual arts, other digital content, motion pictures, or photographs. If you are registering a PowerPoint, select Motion Pictures. You will be prompted to login in or create an ECO ID account.
  • Check standard application and start registration for one work. (You can register unpublished works in groups or batches, but that is not going to be covered in this post.)
  • You will then be taken to the online form. From the drop down menu select the Type of Work, choose Motion Picture/Audio and Visual work and confirm that it best describes what you are trying to register.

  • You will proceed to the title sections. From the drop down menu select Title of Work Being Registered and Title of this Work box below, list the title of the work.
  • For Publication Completion, check yes for the question if it has been publish before. For example, if you have presented it at a professional meeting or distributed it electronically or publicly on the web. If it is unpublished, check or no. If it has been published, there will be prompts to complete indicating which country and the date. It also has a section to fill in if there is a pre-existing registration number in the event your work was registered outside in a foreign country prior to the United States. If it was presented outside of the United States, but not registered outside of the United States, leave that section blank.
  • Check "Add me" for the following categories: List Authors, Claimant, Limitation of Claim, Rights & Permissions, Correspondent, and Mail Certificate.  Please note, under Limitation of Claim in addition to adding yourself, you will need to indicate what content is excluded from the registration, e.g., figures or text you have not authored.

  • Special Handling can be left blank. However if you are pursuing legal litigation and have a pending court case or other dispute, customs matters, or a contract or publishing deadline, check the appropriate category and explain the reason in the space provided. Keep in mind that Special Handing will increase the cost of your claim by $760.00, thus the total application fee could be as much as $825.00.
  • Once the form is filled out you will certify that everything you have submitted is true. You will have the opportunity to review and correct your application. When you complete your review and corrections as needed, add your application to the cart and proceed to check out. You will be taken off site to submit your $65.00 non-refundable payment. 

  • Once your payment is completed, you will then be able to submit the work that you want to register for review. Select the Submit Work tab and follow the instructions. You can submit your PowerPoint or professional presentation electronically (recommended) or print it and mail in a hard copy of it. If you submit your work electronically, take time to review the specifications for file size restrictions and recommended files. For any type of professional presentation, I recommend a PDF. If you select that you wish to mail in a hard copy of the for review, you will need to select "generate a label." A label will be generated that you must attach to the work you mail directly to the United States Copyright Office.

Best of luck registering your work. Stay tuned - please visit this blog again in the future. I will be posting about how to copyright individual artworks, batches of artworks, photographs, blogs, websites, literary works and more!


Singer: Hank Williams, Song Writer: Hank Williams, Your, Cheatin' Heart, A-side Kaw-liga, MGM K 11416-B, 1952. Producer: Fred Rose.

Fang FC, Bennett JW, Casadevall A. Males are overrepresented among life science researchers committing scientific misconduct. mBio. 2013 Jan 22;4(1):e00640-12. doi: 10.1128/mBio.00640-12. PMID: 23341553; PMCID: PMC3551552.

Jereb, E., Perc, M., Lämmlein, B., Jerebic, J., Urh, M., Podbregar, I., & Šprajc, P. (2018). Factors influencing plagiarism in higher education: A comparison of German and Slovene students. PloS one13(8), e0202252.