Double Original Friday – Dada Resume

Monoprint of layered patterns and the silhouette of a woman, black ink on newsprint

Lab lights

in sciences
in vivo, present
University into University

writing for-  of-  and-
and have I meant it too

I is day,
am of am
issues the other
kind of variety

shareholders, all

effort, curriculum, height
of the present

Developing quantitative
sciences of my Artwork



I put my CV and a few job ads into the Dada Poetry Generator (check it out
here if you need some Dada poetry in your life!). With only a little bit of clean up, this was the result. I find it encapsulates my experience of being a scientist on the job market very well. The monoprint is also the result of a little random chance too. I was using this sheet of newsprint, an initially rejected print, to protect the table while I worked with the printing ink. It became a layered work of art in its own right. It seemed to me to be a pair. Poem and monoprint (ink on newsprint) by me. Have a good weekend! (Sneaked this one in under the Friday line, at least on the west coast!)

Monday Meeting Doodles – Heart in my Hand

The month of May was a bit crazy over here in my life on the outside of Illustrated Poetry! I apologize to everyone who left me such awesome comments on my last post – I may be behind in responding to them, but know that they were read and much appreciated.

I used to feel bad that I doodled in meetings, but I’ve since read at least one article (like this one) that says that doodling is a method of concentration and synthesizing information. So I’m off the hook (a little).  I am often pleasantly surprised what my mind comes up with when it’s supposed to be listening to something else. A very nice scientific presentation on spores resulted in the doodle above!

I hope everyone is well and I’ve been enjoying catching up with all of your blogs!

Meat and Potatoes, Myself

This was the first Overheard I did – inspired by a snippet of conversation I heard on Waikiki Beach last year. The speaker was just so earnest, it drew my attention away from the ocean views. I wonder if he was actually talking about food, or something else? I did wind up being fairly literal and making the speaker a potato himself. You can see the other Overheard I’ve posted here. Have a great weekend!

Excerpt Wednesday – I dream of being a weed – White

Idreamofbeingaweed_2.jpgI was immediately impressed by Ms. Jana White’s poem I dream of being a weed, posted way back in February. I’ve read other poems about weeds, both literal and metaphorical, but her take on these hardy little plants is both beautiful and unique. She also created a lovely drawing to accompany her poem (a poet after my own heart!), so I decided to let this one sit for a while and incubate in my imagination. I wanted my illustration to be different and complementary to hers. A photograph of a grasshopper, taken by me on a recent run, became the inspiration to return to this poem and create a photo collage. Ms. White’s blog, Poetry of Light, is wonderful and I encourage a visit over there to experience some of her poetry. To hop directly to the full text and original illustration of I dream of being a weed, click here. Photo collage by me. Have a great Wednesday!

Illustrated Thursday – OIW

IMG_3497.jpgWhen I learn a new art technique, especially one that opens up lots of creative possibilities, I have a strong tendency to go a *bit* overboard.

Me: “Transfer printing is amazing! LET US TRANSFER PRINT EVERYTHING!”

Usually, this level of enthusiasm translates into a fabulous new post, but this week, it was the new post’s downfall. My attempt to use printer transparencies with transfer printing for an illustration utterly failed (turns out that laser printer ≠ inkjet printer! Not even a little. Confusing the two for this technique does equal big mess though!). I have definitely not given up on the original post: while I trudge back to the office supply store to rectify the situation, let me bring you a monoprint that went right. “OIW” was my favorite print from a series where I was experimenting with combining random letters and numbers with various facial expressions to see how the characters would shift the mood of the print. Monoprint (ink on newsprint) by me. Enjoy!

Short Poem Saturday – A Farm Picture – Whitman

FarmPicture_WhitmanThrough the ample open door of the peaceful country barn,
A sunlit pasture filled with cattle and horses feeding,
And haze and vista, and the far horizon fading away.
Walt Whitman
(1819 – 1892)

Today’s illustration is courtesy of my dear friend and fellow scientist, Ms. Chiara Ricci-Tam. The unique line quality of her illustration comes from the fact that Chiara drew this with light on a large sheet of photographic film. These sheets of film are normally used to visualize proteins from inside cells, but here she has co-opted one for artistic purposes. Chiara has a blog, Chiaroscurale, where she posts her other occasional artistic experiments. I do recommend a visit!

I have one anthology which lists this Whitman poem as an ekphrastic one (typically a poem about another work of art), but there is no specific painting or artwork mentioned. But ekphrasis can also be a vivid description of a scene, and this one certainly clears that bar, reminding me of my hiking trip in the Welsh countryside last year  – as well as so many landscape oil paintings from Whitman’s era. Drawing (light on photographic film) by Chiara Ricci-Tam. Have a wonderful weekend!

Illustrated Thursday – Surprises and Final Assignments

DMPhoto_SketchinginWales.jpgIt was quite a pleasant surprise to get the notice of a new post over at my friend’s photography blog, click on it, and find this picture of me! Here I am in Wales last year caught in the illustrative act. To see the photo in its native habitat, head over to Dawn Michelle Photography blog.

These last couple of months, I’ve been taking an evening class in illustration – my first formal schooling on the topic. The class has been interesting and fun, expanding my artistic skills, but it has also been a challenge to keep up with both the assignments for class and new art for posts here. My last class meeting and final project is due next week and so it is crunch time! But in the meantime, I thought I would share some of the results from the other two class projects. With haiku to describe my efforts, it becomes illustrated poetry. Enjoy!

A simple substitution,
with a symbol we all know:
so much is suddenly for sale.
High-End Cayenne
with your Bell Pepper dog,
Peppercini are not good enough for you.
A roller skating sheep shearing
confused traffic cone.
What else can I say?
Cat Professor is shocked –
yes, shocked! – to see
what character is missing from the classic book.
(The first project was to use a widely recognized symbol – the barcode – and incorporate it into your illustration such that it changes the perception or meaning of the piece. The second project was to create compelling and complex personified characters displaying different emotions.)


Excerpt Wednesday – Live, Die: A Ghazal – Muske-Dukes

LiveDie_Ghazal2Cheered on by a chorus of voices as you die,
“Go now! Go to the light!” Still, Don’t die!

– Carol Muske-Dukes

I flew recently to attend a friend’s wedding and air travel is my excuse to stock up on physical copies of magazines and newspapers and do nothing but read them cover to cover while doing all the waiting that one does at an airport. In this pursuit, I wound up with a copy of T: The New York Times Style Magazine and was delighted to find their “A Picture and A Poem” feature: a previously unpublished poem with a purposefully commissioned piece of art. This week’s pairing was the poem Live, Die: A Ghazal by Carol Muske-Dukes with a sculpture by Nari Ward. I loved the poem and so I wanted to see what my response as an artist would be to her words. I love the contrast between my piece and Ms. Ward’s and how we gathered the words into the art so differently. Drawing (ink on paper) by me. To read the complete poem and view the sculpture together, click here.



Double Original (and collaboration!) Friday – Phase Transitions

intermediary s.jpgIn a flash the first two months of 2016 are gone and winter is nearly over! (Well, at least the calendar says “1st day of Spring” in just under two weeks.) For our seasonal poetry/collage collaboration, Kerfe Roig and I decided to tackle the transition from winter to spring. I am thrilled to present the results here – Ms. Roig’s collage above and my poem below. I learned from Kerfe that the two-faced Roman god Janus was invoked for all transitions and not just the new year; I found that particularly inspiring for my poem as he is a truly appropriate starting point for thinking about all kinds of transitions, from the intensely personal to climate change. If you have not dropped by Ms. Roig’s blog, Method Two Madness, lately, it is my hearty recommendation that you do! Kerfe and her dear friend Nina make inspiring and collaborative art on a daily basis. Collage by Ms. Kerfe Roig, poem by me. Have a wonderful Friday evening!

Phase Transitions

It’s the transitions
that get you
my boss said
the day before
he fired me.

I sat there
thinking of bulbs
in freezer bags,
California grandmothers
trying to get
daffodils to grow.

But the hard freeze
doesn’t come
anymore –
Mild winters turn
into ambiguous springs,
and I don’t know what to do.

Perhaps it won’t
rain again
for 10 years,
headlines will read:
winter ends for good
in Greenland.

I got in my car
and drove west
looking for work
on the fourth of July –
there was snow melting into
the harbor.

The seasons used
to be easy
they are now
a year round
going out of
business sale.

Excerpt Wednesday – The Sound of Waves – Williams

ASoundofWaves_WCWThis post was meant to be an Excerpt Tuesday, but yesterday became unexpectedly busy and so here we are today! This will be my last William Carlos Williams collage in the series kicking off 2016. I’ve really enjoyed exploring his work through collage – thank you all for joining me! If you’d like to see my other two WCW collages click here and here. One commenter noted on my first WCW collage that Dr. Williams used to write lines for poems on prescription pads and that is an image that I love. In my research into Dr. Williams, I found a wonderful archive of his poetry readings – free and available to the public. If you would like to hear Dr. Williams reading dozens of his own poems, I encourage you to visit the UPenn Sound Archive WCW page. The poem today is “The Sound of Waves” by William Carlos Williams (click the Read More button or scroll down to read the whole poem), mixed media collage and composition by me. Have a wonderful Wednesday!