inflection point drawings

“There is always the inflection point in a drawing-the point at which it takes on its own presence and becomes more than its content. There is also the point where others view it and it becomes their image. I know that if I create art, these points will occur, and I can work to control part of the process leading up to these points. Ultimately, however, not all of it is mine to control.” Mary Shindell

Mary explains Vector and Pixel files to me and another gallery visitor. And while I understand some things, I don’t understand all of what she says. To make it clear she describes how her lines are made. A Vector file makes a clean, intense line, she says as she shows me one and compares it to a pixellated line. Once I see the quality of the line, I understand. We discuss her digital drawings and compare them to traditional printmaking, both in quality and process. I suggest she teach a class ( teach me is what I really think).

There are three large works on paper, on the east wall of the gallery. Each of the compositions stands as a unique work though they connect directly through process. One design uses the other, and then again.  Mary draws with graphite, inks, gouache, and she also draws using her computer.

Below are details from the large 42 x 42″ works on paper. Can you see how they connect? One is a digital photo of the original graphite drawing. The second is the original graphite drawing with added media, all completed by hand. The last one is computer generated and uses the other two.

Note: My photos are not perfectly aligned. I shoot the right side (first 3)  and then the left (next 3 of the drawings.


Left edge detail
Inflection Point: Estrellas, Moon
drawing, graphite, ink, digitally archived



Left edge detail
Variant 1: Bougainvillea, Sweet gum, Seed Pods, Mesquite Beans, Moon Craters
drawing, graphite, ink, prisma, pastel
42 x 42″s.


Left edge detail
Variant II: Fig, Bougainvillea, Sweet gum, Mesquite Beans, Moon Craters
digital drawing composited with graphite and ink archival ink jet print

Mary places the viewer above the work. We hover perhaps in space, and see the top view of a multi-layered landscape that in this case includes: the moon, the Estrella Mountains, and the beautiful Arizona flora.

I look closely at the work and identify elements but then I have to stand back to take it all in. The brilliant details captivate.


Right edge detail
Inflection Point: Estrellas, Moon
drawing, graphite, ink, digitally archived



Left edge detail
Variant 1: Bougainvillea, Sweet gum, Seed Pods, Mesquite Beans, Moon Craters
drawing, graphite, ink, Prisma, pastel
42 x 42″


Right edge detail
Variant II: Fig, Bougainvillea, Sweet gum, Mesquite Beans, Moon Craters
Digital drawing composited with graphite and ink archival ink jet print

Along the west wall Mary shows a series of small drawings and digital prints. She explains she works things out on these smaller works in between stages of the larger works.  Here are photos of two and a detail shot of a third.


Fig Moon Drawing
Digital Drawing
composited with graphite and ink drawing on Arches Aquarelle, archival ink jet print


Fig Moon 
Prisma and Gouache on Johanna

I ask Mary about the title of the exhibition, Inflection Point. She explains the mathematical term.  An inflection point is a point on a curve at which the curve changes from being convex to concave. I understand, I am familiar with the concept. She identifies it as a changing point, a point of transition.

I’ve known Mary for a long time – she continues to mesmerize me with her curiosity, her attention to detail and her growing skills. She is always on to something new and wonderful.

I will drop in to see the exhibition one more time – in case I missed anything.


Detail: Mesquite Beans, Moon

Inflection Point drawings opened this First Friday and will run to the end of the month.

Who: Mary Shindell
What: Inflection Point drawings
Where: 515 arts – 515 East Roosevelt, Phoenix, AZ 85004
When: 1/2/2015 – 1/31/2015 (artist’s reception 1/16/2015)


state of the art


I am one of 102 artist selected for the Sate of the Art, Discovering American Art Now. Carolyn and I travel to Bentonville, Arkansas to attend the opening at Crystal Bridges Museum. We hoped Mary would come with – but you can’t be in 2 places at one time and she is in Alaska. I write about the 4 days we are there, in my blog today. I share the link here.

Crystal Bridges Museum is a venue dedicated to American art and artists, a place of learning and community.


I arrive into Bentonville, Arkansas to attend opening events for the State of the Art exhibition. The show is extraordinary in that it truly does display my contemporaries – working artists from across the United States. I receive a glimpse of where I sit in the grand picture → Continue Reading

among the wild is one domestic

The Feral Cat
10407927_10204499024746198_8125045016618442358_nCarolyn captured a feral kitten she’s calling Feisty. The white cat was small but wild; with patience and know-how Carolyn helped the kitty become healthy and now it’s learning trust. Feisty will be ready to make his way to a good home soon.

After weeks of working with the cat Carolyn wants to introduce the feline to another person, and at her request I spend an afternoon working in her studio. I manage to spill Feisty’s water and food but in general the first visit goes well. After another visit the kitten appears to recognize me. I have a decent sense of cat anatomy,  and between that and Carolyn’s cat behavior knowledge – Feisty settles in my arms. I am like a tree limb – as he hangs in relaxation.


The bones
Carolyn’s studio is like a research lab for animal study. Organized along the shelves are  skeletal bones and mummified critters that she has found and collected. Here are the newest additions – a series of bird bones she has cleaned and preserved in small transparent boxes – they’re magical.


Raven skull.


Raven bones

IMG_6590 IMG_6585

IMG_6584 IMG_6586

And then there’s the artwork …
Will you be drawing Feisty? I ask Carolyn after my first visit with him. I don’t really draw domestic animals, she answers. I’m amused because that one day I would not have described the kitten as domesticated.

While in the studio I note all the animals on the walls, staring at us that afternoon. Here are only a few of them.


Bear – Bear


Baboon – Baboon


Monkey – Monkey

There’s all the Preservation series as well.

IMG_6598 IMG_6600Current work – a graphite on prepared paper drawing – sits on the table most of the time we are in there. Feisty sits nearby it.


A lead pencil next to a rendering of a very small bear.


I don’t ignore the cut outs of animals of all sorts – that are arranged in bags and boxes.


On my visit last week I mention to Carolyn I want to blog about the 3 dimensional and 2 dimensional activity that makes up her studio right now.

Of course it includes Feisty, the now truly one domestic creature among all the wild ones.


All of Feisty’s taming and progress is posted into Carolyn’s Facebook page and will continue until he finds a good home.

I mentioned I am familiar with cat anatomy. I spent last summer studying and making numerous works about it. This summer I learn more about animal behavior and the creation of trust. One cannot help but consider human behavior and how we treat the most vulnerable among us, it says so much about us as a people.

“If you talk to the animals they will talk with you and you will know each other. If you do not talk to them you will not know them and what you do not know, you will fear. What one fears, one destroys.” – Chief Dan George, Tsleil-Waututh Nation

If I ask you to give me the connecting thread that moves through Carolyn’s studio, what would your answer be?

Inherent Traits: In Progress

Monica is working on a large anatomical drawing of her mother Elisa. I am impressed by her use of a warm orange background broken up with several areas of purple wash. The color palette is so inviting and she tells me that orange is the color of creativity and in Yogic studies it is associated with the pelvic area. These background colors appear full of emotion and the paper has also been coated with gesso and a very thin layer Golden Moulding Paste to give it a slight texture. I talk to Monica about how it is possible for her to work in direct contact with the surface of the figure. She explains that casein is a protein and as it is touched (she rubs it with a cotton cloth) it acquires a polished look.


Monica works directly on top of the drawing

In the drawing Elisa’s hands are clasped in front of her body and I understand that she is quite handy. She builds and repairs things in her home and has raised six children while working as a hearing and speech professional in the schools. Monica includes a drawing of the inner ear in the space next to her mother’s head. It floats as a symbol for her work.

inner ear

The inner ear


Monica works on the drawing ‘s inner ear detail

The compact organs in the chest and abdomen are depicted in strong vital colors and will remain visible as the work progresses. Monica has decided to omit the skeletal structure in order to make the organs an intricate, energetic focal point. There is a space where the gall bladder once was and because it has a very plant-like look and was removed in real life, it now exists on the ground plane.


Chest cavity and abdomen

Monica places the drawing on her upright drawing table so I can photograph her standing next to it –I am thinking about illustrating scale. Elisa looks directly forward and Monica stands beside the figure. I convince the artist to pose as the figure poses, hands clasped in front. It is the opposite of the way Monica usually stands with her hands together behind her back. Both women look forward, strong, direct, engaged and engaging.


Monica and Elisa, notice the gall bladder in the lower left.





celebrating women’s history month

Estrella Mountain Community College in Avondale invited the three of us to show for the month of March, in celebration of Women’s History Month. The exhibit is titled Body Creature Nature.

We installed on Tuesday. It was unusual in that it’s not an actual gallery, but more of an exhibition area. Think striking museum glass case – because that’s what it is. We are pleased with the visual result which is rich, warm and inviting.

Below are the one larger work from each of us. There are some nice surprises in this particular exhibit – things you might not have seen before.


Portrait, 2011
graphite, gouache on canvas
45 x 86″


Female Torso – Anterior View
Casein, Gouache, gesso on Canvas
45 x 35.5


Cactus Fab
Archival injet print
77 x 14″


Estrella info sheet

Information sheet

Below, we work together easily to install. Naturally conversation starts up with what might be next.

1507915_10152240918207298_1950747415_n 1911787_10152208614859869_1401359459_n 1959921_10152240926297298_1834233430_n 998029_10152240918167298_152023687_n IMG_5703

The exhibit will run the entire month of March.

Thank you Estrella Mountain Community College.
And a special thanks to Kathleen Iudicello, PhD. the Interim Dean of Academic Affairs.

a side note:
After the install we spent the afternoon talking about what may come next. Out of that conversation we decided to make changes to this blog. I’ve already changed a few things in the layout. While the blog was created for our last exhibit Creature Man Nature, we plan to continue working together and consequently the blog will reflect things as they move forward.

meeting with superstition review


The Invite
Carolyn and I receive an email from Patricia Colleen Murphy,  the founding editor of Superstition Review.

Hi Monica and Carolyn,
Congratulations on your exhibition at Mesa Center for the Arts. I’m so proud of you! It’s really exciting.

And I have some great news too. Our launch party has grown so big we needed a new venue, so we’re going to host it at MCA. We’re planning for Thursday April 25, and our guests will get free entrance to the museum before the launch party starts at 6:30. I am just thrilled that your work will be up while we’re there.

I’m writing to invite you to the party and ask if you might be willing to say some words about your work while we are there? And might we run a piece on our blog about your show? I’d love to include Mary too, though I haven’t met her yet.

Congrats again!


The meeting
We accept Trish’s offer, and set a date to meet for an interview. It’s an honor for Carolyn and I to connect with her again.  Superstition Review featured both of our art work in their magazine last Spring, and we spoke at their launch as well.  We connect on Friday, in the gallery. Trish meets Mary and quickly offers her a feature post this Spring.




Trish and Dominique looking closely at Carolyn’s work.


Mary share her process, while Dominique takes notes. Carolyn and Trish look on while I walk around.


Dominique and Carolyn talk, while visitors walk through the space.

While we conduct interviews – museum visitors enter and exit the gallery. Up the hallway is the activity of a new install. The usual people move about doing their work. I like the feel and naturalness of everything.

Photos of our meeting include artists, Trish, and the bright Dominique Brigham, who had plenty of questions for us. She’s writing the feature.


Monica, Trish, Carolyn, Mary, and Dominique

The launch
There will be a few people reading and we’ll be speaking – artists and writers … a good match. I enjoyed the launch Carolyn and I participated in before. It was a memorable and multilayered experience – out of our (regular) element as visual artists. This time guests will see the art work before we speak ( last time we showed digital images ). We plan to talk about how Mary, Carolyn and I began our partnership, and how we see our work evolving.

A productive meeting/interview with Superstition Magazine at Mesa Contemporary Arts – I call it one fine Friday morning.  We’ll be seeing everyone on Thursday April 25, at the Issue 11 launch party.  A congratulation to Superstition Review and Patricia Colleen Murphy on their continued success.

More info:
Carolyn Lavender, Issue 9, Spring 2012
Monica Aissa Martinez, Issue 9, Spring 2012

A note: The content for this post evolved out of someone asking me how Superstition Review selects participants. This is first an educational blog – we address process: work and general events. I share the general event, and in particular – I suspect the how always varies. In this case, my guess is that our work was in the right place at the right time (MCA). And most importantly Patricia Colleen Murphy knows our work..

we deliver the artwork

It’s an interesting opportunity to drop work off in person. One gets to know the various people who contribute to the success of an exhibit.

Marco, as noted earlier, is the new Exhibits Preparator/Specialist. I arrive to find him on a very high ladder. He is setting up an area where the museum showcases its permanent collection. I guess those ceilings to be over 25 feet high.


And though busy, he takes time to show us his new digs. He has an impressive workspace that is clearly to his liking.  I spend time talking with him and learn that Marco is one of few Latino exhibition specialists in the country. Bravo!


Marco, Mitch, Mary and Peri


Because shows are coming down and new work is going up we are directed to leave the work in the area where the private collection is stored. The climate controlled space is sprinkled with great artwork.


Mary needs to look at the ceiling in the North Gallery, which is not as high as the other galleries at the center. She can hang her sculptures with no out of the ordinary concerns. She talks low voltage, electrical panels, and transformers. I have a hanging issue with my 2 large works, and Marco makes a suggestion that appeals to my aesthetics. Mary and I wonder why the space looks smaller. We joke because the majority of our work is now complete, we have no overwhelming emotions – is there a connection?  And Mary finishes up saying that her mountain will be delivered soon. How many people can say that?


Meanwhile back at her studio … Carolyn is completing her painting. I caught her progress at an early stage where she was mapping the woods out. All her work is at Mesa, she’ll be delivering this 16 panel piece soon.

IMG_3554Impromptu lunch with a variety of creative people – personal history is shared but so are things like banana art, transformers and inventor Tesla.


how things are looking

All three of us have been members of artist run gallery spaces. Mary is still a member of one. Having done it numerous times, we’re each  familiar with installing exhibitions. Though we’ll have input, MAC basically takes care of most of the work. Marco Albarran is the new gallery specialist / preparator. Mary and I are pleased to hear the news, we’ve both worked with him.

Quick rundown on progress: Mary (Nature) is complete with her mountain. The printers will install it  – just after the New Year. Her sculptures are ready, and the lighting is getting finalized. Carolyn (Creature) is finishing up her very large work. Today her and I went over photographing artwork. I am (Man) cleaning up the edges on my painting and my smaller drawings are still at the framers, I’ll be picking them up next week. Most of the work gets delivered by the 11th of December and the show opens exactly one month after that.

We imagine what the space might look like. Do we have enough work? Will it flow? Leave it to Mary to make a clean and detailed model of the North Gallery.

model from aboveI did it 2 ways, begins Mary – one with Carolyn on the south wall, Monica on the north – and the other way around. Take a look, our work is just so synergetic in this space. I was just mocking it up to see about spacing so don’t look at the placement order just the size and scale, she says. Also I can mock it up with your work  intermixed which I am happy to do if you want. 

model M on n. wall model M on S wall

model C. on N wall

Carolyn responds with how wonderful it is to see the model ... the scale of our work together seems really great. She’s also clear, she prefers her work be on the South wall. I’m good with that. She continues with how much she loves the way Mary’s piece fits the back wall … so impressive. I agree.

model C on South wall

I feel we need to move Carolyn’s and my large works to the front of the space, to even out  activity. My wall seems busy, maybe one larger work or two small ones go out into the entrance space.

model 3jpg


Mary adds:  I think I will move two of my suspended pieces in toward the center – they are a little too close to your pieces. When I ask about what she might show out in the entrance area, she’s still thinking … I could maybe show my inside of cactus drawing flat. 

The conversation ends with someone saying … This is a powerful show at least at
1/2″ = 1′ !  

Earlier Tiffany communicated some cool news. Come back, we’ll fill you in.