Anatomy insights over supper

24 months since my hands began to feel numb and tingling. Not just an irritant, but something definitely amiss. Following GP’s appointments: hand specialist reviews: carpal tunnel elimination; Neurology assessment: traumatic MRI head and neck scans; posterior decompression (growth on the spine) diagnosis (Thank you QE, Dr Littleton and Seddigh): spinal surgery (thank you Mr Metcalfe), physiotherapy (Thank you Gina) and regular exercise, the symptoms are reducing. Shoulder pain is much less frequent, neck pains less painful, hands and fingers cold, but less numb and fewer pins and needles.

frontal scan self portrait #1. A1 Silk screen.

After the operation to remove growth at C3 & 4, I accessed my pre-operation scan images. ‘Seeing inside myself’ for the first time inspired the making of a self portrait. Something I had never embarked upon before. Selecting ‘meaningful’ scans of neck, growth, head and brain I enlarged the small electronic images and applied a bitmap (black and white) matrix to give a texture and the ability to be silk screen printed at scale. The resultant three large scale printed images created an interior self portrait.

vertebrae C3/4.self portrait #2. A1 Silk screen duotone

I had not shared the self portraits until, over an informal supper, I was introduced to an anatomy education expert. I could not resist enquiring about the diagnostic process and my anatomical make up. On showing my self portraits an enthusiastic informed discussion took off, where many of the questions I had been asking about the connectivity of my nervous system were clarified. Her enthusiasm for anatomy and ‘seeing into’ the neurorogical make up I had reflected, brought forth her knowledge of how brain and pain connect. Her ability to access online medical information through applying professional, rather than lay, language along with her engaging sharing of information made clear to me what vertebrae connected to which nerves. Which parts of the brain are responsible for which bodily function, and the relevant size of brain tissue for amount of sensory information.

horizontal brain scan. self portrait #3. A1 Silk screen print

To explain how different parts of the brain process and control she brought up the ‘Cortical_homunculus’. This is a distorted representation of the human body, based on a neurological “map” of the areas and proportions of the human brain dedicated to processing motor, or sensory functions, for different parts of the body. Taking this further the nervous system is connected through dermatromes. Dermatrome, in anatomical terms, is an area of skin innervated by sensory fibers from a single spinal nerve.

Dermatrome Map

Dermatome Map

Cervical vertebra with intervertebral disc

This healthy symmetrical cross section shows how the spinal chord is protected and the spinal nerves are cushioned. There are a number of online examples of MRI scans in the Radiopedia platform which aims to create the best radiology reference the world has ever seen and to make it available for freefor everfor all.

This simple, but clearly explained description of the causes of nerve pains from the neck that had led to my posterior decompression surgery was immensely useful. My anatomical supper expert had been able to explain as she had time. She was not under medical service pressure to move onto the next patient.

We returned to the printed self portraits and drew connection between the binary transmission of signals to, from and across the brain with the binary marks of information required to capture and print the interior self portrait images.

Our anatomy evening came to an end with the sharing of Leonardo Da Vinci’s 500th Anniversary catalogue, published this week and celebrated across the land and in the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery. Da Vinci’s drawings laid the foundations for anatomical study and the knowledge base of today. Current Magnetic Resonance Imaging techniques allow detailed images of inside the live, human body to inform medical diagnosis and treatment. I am eternally thankful for the medics and my anatomical expert for enabling me to create my interior self portraits.

brain neck and head. self portrait #1,2&3. A1 Silk Screen self portraits.

Printmakers Council City and Mini Print

The Printmakers Council was formed in 1965 a group of artists including Julian Trevelyan, Michael Rothenstein, Anthony Gross, Stanley Jones and Agatha Sorel who saw the need for a society that would promote new developments within printmaking. Since then it has consistently promoted the place of printmaking in the visual arts. More about the history of the Printmakers Council here

In 2017 the Council invited artist printmakers to submit works for the Print City and Mini Print  exhibitions which opened on November at the Morley Gallery in Lambeth London.  The exhibits showed the breadth of UK printmaking including silkscreen, etching, linocut,  lithography, solar and plastic engraving. I submitted a mini print  (19×19) of an inkjet print on pastel paper – Welsh Bowl with Mermaids Purse, Sheep’s Wool and Rabbits Tail.  The Mini Prints are a portfolio that will be held by the V&A Print Collection. I met Michael Pritchard from Staffordshire who had his digital prints in the city exhibition that sat alongside plastic engravings by Louise Hayward and Guy Butters Underground Surveillance that hung in on of the windows which are included in the slide how of iPhone pictures from the opening night.

Scottish visitor
City Print full house
close inspection
Welsh Bowl Inkjet print- ejt
mini prints
4 mini prints
plastic engravings
kipling estate LH
louise hayward underground.jpeg
michael pritchard digital.jpeg
Committee Convo
Rebuilding the Built
underground surveillance Guy Butters
Morley Gallery
Imperial war museum gate house
Imperial War Museum Frontage
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The gallery is nearby The Imperial War Museum which was particularly dramatic that night with a bright moon low in the sky.

Imperial War Museum Moonlight Gate House

Printed Portraits Opening Day

May 10 th arrives and the 30 Printed Portraits will be revealed to all and those  who feature on the walls of the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery.

In the morning I was attending to final details including briefing the wonderful front of house team and remaking the nameplates with larger type and a Shrieval coat of arms. A gentleman came into the space and after a while focussing on the pictures I asked what he thought.  He had seen the exhibition advertised on the BMAG Whats on listings and had travelled in especially from Telford in Shropshire to see it.

We talked about the how he is semi retired and visits galleries near and far to get a sense of artists work close up. We discussed portraits, photography, art before taking a picture of each other. He asked if he could take my picture in front of the Portrait of Eileen Wright as it is his favourite because of the ‘glint in her eye at her age’, as well as the big buttons on the phone she used to take he 97th birthday call.

Mike had been to the TATE in Liverpool to see the Rossetti Monna Vanna portrait and had taken a celebratory picture. I pointed out that next door in Gallery 17 is a beautiful picture by Rossetti of Beatrix.  He thanked me and went to see it, quickly returning with glee and after one last tour of the portraits made his comment in the book.

As the normal viewing day came to a close  a group of women came into Gallery 16. They viewed the portraits with interest and consideration, sharing their views to each other about the portraits and the subjects. They enthusiastically reflected, and nominated their top three! Top of their favourites  was Eileen Wright.

discussing anita’s portrait

which is your favourite?








I heard later that evening at the private view that as they left the Museum they met Eileen’s daughter and husband on the gallery entrance doorsteps and eulogised about the portrait exhibition and in particular the one of the older lady making her birthday phone call.     Wonderful

Eileen Wright takes 97th Call

Dr Robert Grose Hangs and lights the exhibition


DR Grose slots in frame of The very Rev Catherine Ogle

There are many clever,  precise skills and crafts required to hang a 30 frame exhibition.  Especially as I wanted a very aligned approach.  Getting the balance right between the 3 different sizes of frames to provide an equality of status for each portrait, while a unity across the 4 walls was a priority that Dr Rob achieved to perfection with his attention to detail at every stage. Rob also suggested not using the traditional ‘mirror clips’ to hang the show, but to use  security picture fixings. These have the benefit of being hidden from the view as the frames ‘magically’ hang on the wall.  In addition the spring locks are secure and prevent the frames being removed with out the ‘special lever. Lawrence at the Framers was able to supply.

Click on the gallery below to see pictures of the process.

Dr Rob Top tip : If the walls are not necessarily flat – you end up with rocking pictures. This can be remedied with a slice of cork behind the frame, but it can become uneven to look at on the oblique view which matters if the galleries are big.

The exhibition is in the Print Room, Gallery 16 in Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery 


High Sheriff WM Printed Portraits installation

The High Sheriff Printed Portraits were framed by Lawrence at The Framers in the Custard Factory, Digbeth, Birmingham. ‘The Hangman’ Dr Rob Grose  and I collected the frames to transport to the hallowed and impressive galleries in the city’s municipal Gallery in the city Centre. Lawrence assisted with the 3 Large A0 frames.  It was a cold and damp start, but we were let through the historic, heavy metal gates and up in the slow, but sure lift to the 2nd floor gallery level.

Gallery 16 was pristine after the recent redecoration, but a tad daunting in its emptiness. While we got underway the galleries seen through our closed glass doors were bustling with visitors and groups of eager school children travelling in from their city schools to see the collections and be inspired to write and draw.  The Front of House staff and volunteers are very experienced, knowledgable and open to engage with all visitors. In fact our first visitor pre public viewings were invigilators eager to see the new exhibition and to understand more in order to respond to visitor’s questions.

Gallery 16 has brass plates on each door designating it the PRINT ROOM.

Originally this was a dedicated and curated print room, but it is now utilised for a range of exhibitions. It seems vey appropriate to be exhibiting the High Sheriff Printed Portraits here.

Click ‘Installation’ gallery to see how we embarked on the hang.

Hanging the exhibition was a revelation. Individual prints began to ‘connect’ with each other and we began to see ‘themes’ that had not been apparent until this moment. Some subjects looked one way, while others looked elsewhere. Hands began to follow each other, and subject’s emotions became clearer and clearer and the exhibition began to reveal itself.  Each portrait and its subject  is important in itself, but gathered together they become a body of work that reflects on the breadth of people I met in the West Midlands in 2015/16.

The exhibition is in the Print Room, Gallery 16 in Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery 


Twoasone print submitted to ONPAPER

My twosome, double up  4 colour silkscreen has been included on the ON PAPER artists submissions site.  

ON PAPER is a project to promote the art of printmaking and develop connections between printmakers around the world. It is based in Barcelona and run by an art association with Nuria Melero as a main organiser.


The shortlisted artists for the On PAPER Award 2017 will be exhibited in The Chicago Printmaking Collaborative, Chicago USA, from July 8th – August 31st 2017.  More information here :

More about Twosome here :


First Post

Hi There

This is my first post for this new site. Working on my first 4 colour silk screen for ‘twoasone’ Eleonora Bruno’s print exhibition with Claudio Lici’s music performance on the 28th at Birmingham School of Art.

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