Nerve pathways: work in process



I loved drawing the brain and spinal cord, and the logical next step was to follow the pathways of nerves connecting brain and body – the pathways of body consciousness.  

I wondered what my own curving spinal cord would look like, and how my nerves would find their ways out through the narrowed openings between my scrunched lumbar vertebrae.  Now in the 3D Lab I took a close look, twisting and turning the vertebral column so that at each level I could look up into the space of my foraminal nerve openings.   

In the Anatomy Lab, one of my Art & Anatomy students, Mimi Shian Liu, and her colleague, spine surgeon Dr. Vincent Challier, performed two special dissections for me (one posterior and one anterior), so I could see and draw the lumbosacral spinal nerves.  Scientist Michael Cammer, also in my drawing class, took photographs of the dissections that helped me understand what I was seeing.  

How had my nerves adapted, as the damage to my spine unfolded slowly over a long period of years?  what kind of balance did they find, in the absence of symmetry?  I'll be hoping to find answers as I draw … to capture the feeling of pain, but also of creatively dealing with pain.