Anatomy and Art

a blog by Sara Egner

Neil Gaiman

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Last night, I had the pleasure of seeing Neil Gaiman speak at the Long Center here in Austin.  When I was a teenager, I positively devoured the Sandman comics, and went on from there to follow other of his works.  Neil is a craftsman of story.  He paints with words.  And it was nice to hear him speak again.

The first time I saw him speak, was I think twenty years ago.  I was in college then, and he had worked with the English translation of Princess Mononoke.  People filled into the Paramount to see the screening, but even at peak fullness, we maybe took up about a third of the small theater.  Then most people left after the screening.  And he entertained questions for as long as we had them, until at the end of the evening there were only a very small number of us left.  I walked up and met him afterwards.  I only had to wait for about two or three people in front of me who had brought comics for him to sign.  It was the first time I was ever starstruck and it had been really important to me to be able to thank him for stories that had been so important to me.

Since then, he’s become more and more known a figure.  And last night, I saw a large theater full of people there to see him specifically, hanging on every word.  He even did an encore reading of one of his stories after much applause and standing ovation.  Some coworkers and I made a group outing of it.

photo of ticket

And it was nice, to hear him talk a bit about process, and working through difficult times, and when you get stuck.  It was nice to come back to a familiar voice, now with the wisdom of the last twenty years added to what he had to say, and falling on ears that have gained their own twenty years.  And it was nice to be reminded of that particular sense of story that has been so influential in my life.  So I’m glad that we went.

Written by Sara

July 7th, 2017 at 9:11 am

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Flipside

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I am just returned from Flipside.  And a good time was had.  The theme this year was Unicorns vs. Rainbows: The Reckoning.  As is always the case in battle, the reckoning won.

photo of Flipside ticket
My string rainbow art project never actually made it up, but the high horse (a plastic horse on top of a ladder, upon which one may say anything) went quite well.  I’m realizing though, that I used to be so much more involved in photographing the event, and I think that’s something that I need to get back to.  Escalating privacy concerns over the years, have left photographers in an awkward space out there.  All in all, there was a lot of really fun artwork out there, and a lot of good people to enjoy it with.  Next stop, my return to Burning Man!  And then I think maybe next year, I might get up to some different kinds of adventures.

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May 31st, 2017 at 9:08 pm

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Swirled Up In Sheets

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I have finally finished the new painting.  This one is tiny, and it’s silly that it’s taken me so long to finish this, but it came out well in the end.  I’m calling it “Swirled Up In Sheets”

painting - "Swirled up in Sheets"

More paintings are up at http://snapshotgenius.com/paint

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May 13th, 2017 at 1:49 pm

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Neurons

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So I recently learned about some very cool things.  First off, there is a site out there that catalogs neurons  http://neuromorpho.org/  It’s great, you can browse them by brain region, by species, by cell type, and pull up and view a vast assortment of known neurons.  So that’s pretty awesome on it’s own.  But I was lucky enough to learn about this site in connection with the work of Nick Woolridge, who has been writing code to make the data found there importable into Cinema 4D or ZBrush.  This is his video on Vimeo explaining the process of using this data in Cinema 4D and where to find his script.

Using the NeuronBuild C4D script from Biomedical Communications on Vimeo.

Some of the larger neurons can bog down the computer, but I had good luck trying it myself, and I’m really excited about having this available.

neuron import into C4D

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March 28th, 2017 at 11:46 am

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Selling Merchandise

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I’ve had a merchandise link here for a long time now.  At the time that I first created the store, I put a lot of thought and effort into designs and set up a store on Cafe Press.  And early on I sold a few things.  I still have my sliding filament gym bag, and mouse cochlea mouse pad.  But I didn’t really keep up with the store, or promote it over the years.  You don’t make very much from your sales on Cafe Press, so you have to sell a lot before you actually see any money from any of those sales.  But my impression was, that those commissions (as they call them) would stay put and continue to add up if I ever got back to promoting the store again.  So here I am, years later, looking to come back to it, and I find that I have zero dollars waiting for me.  Zero.  Apparently, if you let things sit for a while, Cafe Press has the policy of taking all of your earnings and telling you that you’ve paid it in fees.  They basically have a fee of however much you have with them that you pay in the event that your store sits for an extended period of time.  So, I’ve closed my account with them and I’m not going to work with them anymore myself.  And I wanted to say something here for any artists who might be thinking about starting a store with them.  I may start up another store again somewhere else sometime.  But it’s never been intended as a primary source of income for me, so for me, I’d like to work with a company that can handle the lulls without cleaning out all my earnings.

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March 17th, 2017 at 2:19 pm

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She Wades In

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I can’t believe I didn’t update here, but I did wind up finishing the new painting.  I’m calling it, “She Wades In” and I’ve been really happy with the response I’ve been getting for her.  The canvas has already been sold and shipped off to Oregon, and I am in the process of selling prints now.

painting

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March 11th, 2017 at 8:09 pm

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Work of Late

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Well it was nearly finished when I posted a draft before to test the new web hosting.  But I finally settled on a final copy of that facial nerve illustration with my friend Ernest, so I thought I’d share that here.

facial nerve

I’ve been doing a lot of work with the skull again at work lately too.  That’s all been based on the Zygote model mostly, defining which parts of the skull go with which individual skull bones and the like.  That and chemistry, which is less relevant to this blog, but it’s been interesting to me just the same.

And at home, I’ve been working a lot on a painting lately.  It’s funny, she started off so green, but I’ve been morphing the color palette over time.

work-in-progress 1

work-in-progress 2

 

work in progress 3

 

work in progress 4

 

This one is getting really close now and I hope to post the finished work soon.  🙂

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February 1st, 2017 at 7:08 pm

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Homunculus

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I confess, I’ve been fairly consumed with politics lately.  I may write more about some of that here at some point.  But for now, I thought I’d share something fun that I got to work on recently at Macmillan.  Some of you are familiar with the concept of the somatosensory homunculus.  There’s basically this part of the brain where the sensory and motor information signals come and go.  And it’s neat because things always go in a particular order, and there are a lot more neurons for things like the face, and hands than there are for things like your shin.  To help people remember the arrangement, it’s common to draw out a distorted human along that area of the brain.  And I recently got a request to create one of these for just the motor part (sorry, no giant genitalia for those of you who are familiar with the sensory side.)

 

homonculus illustration

I feel like I could have exaggerated the prominent features even more, especially the hands, but the idea is still clear.  We dedicate a lot of our neurons to the tongue and lips and overall face, and to each finger, and our wrists.  Comparatively we dedicate a lot less to our toes, our abdominal muscles, our upper arms….

When I was in grad school, a friend of mine once reached out about maybe getting a tattoo done of the homunculus on his head to line up with the part of the brain.  He thought since I was in medical art school, I might have some good ideas for that.  Alas, it was the first I’d heard of it and I was a little too swamped with grad school at the time to oblige him.  But now I got to make one at work.  And maybe someday, if that friend still wants it after all these years, I’ll help him out yet.

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January 15th, 2017 at 8:05 pm

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I Think It Worked!

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Goodness me, I think I’m finally back in internet business again!  Let me try posting an image here and see if it takes…

illustration

And that’s a success!  I haven’t even finished that illustration yet, but I am super excited to see it post.

From what I’ve gathered, the problem with web hosting must have started with some kind of php update on A Small Orange’s end.  For a long time now, everytime anyone went to my site where I keep a log of all of my paintings, snapshotgenius.com/paint, the new php was logging an error.  It had something to do with the way the CSS was written I think, nothing that was actually malfunctioning on the site itself, but rather that just didn’t fit into the expectations of the hosting update.  And this would happen repeatedly as long as anyone was looking, so much that I was consistently building up about 10gb in error logs in less than a week.  This never used to be a problem, and I hadn’t actually changed anything on my end, so this was a weird one to figure out. I just kept getting notices that I’d run out of data and  needed to upgrade my account to cover all the data I wasn’t actually posting.  I tried doing this once a while back.  I thought that maybe I’d just been on that edge of data usage and it was actually time.  The fix lasted less than a week before I was out of data space again and could no longer add files to *any* of my websites.  And when I would try to reach out to A Small Orange about the problem, I would get caught in the runaround, this last time for months and just never get anywhere.  So now, with by the grace of having knowledgeable friends, I seem to be back in the game.  I have moved everything over to GoDaddy hosting which both allows me to not pile up that error message in the first place, but also offers unlimited storage space anyways.  I still need to get a cancellation of service through with A Small Orange, but that should be the last step now.  But for now, I am just excited that I didn’t have to give up all my years of online presence and start over just to get out of that trap.  So yay!  And I hope to get back in the habit of writing more often again here.

Written by Sara

December 20th, 2016 at 1:10 pm

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Test Test

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I am finally changing my web hosting service!  Yay!!!!  This is a test, to see how it’s going so far.

Written by Sara

December 18th, 2016 at 4:39 pm

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