* * * * * * * * * *

Week #18
This work was done by Ana Lucia Flores in Memphis in 2017 for the session “Carolingian and Variations” in 26 Seeds: a Year to Grow. In her own words:
I am extremely humbled at the fact that my “Pancreas” was “Pic”ed. I am fairly new to calligraphy (1 and a half year). Roann Mathias, my first teacher, suggested the year-long class. I mostly took this class to destress from a busy lifestyle and found it to be one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. I thank Reggie Ezell, my mentor and teacher, for his patience and guidance and also thank every single classmate that made this endeavor less intimidating. The “Pancreas” piece was done as an assignment where we were asked to submit three short quotes using Carolingian variations. This piece was a work of love that I gave to a prominent surgeon in Memphis, Dr. Steve Behrman, as an expression of gratitude for saving my mother-in-law’s life. Dr. Behrman is a surgical oncology professor at the University of Tennessee and chair of the Surgery Department at Baptist Memorial Hospital. He heads the Kosten Pancreatic Cancer Research Endowment Fund. After giving him this piece, I found out that he is one of 13 examiners in the nation that administers the oral surgical boards for all surgeons in the U.S. that are being certified by The American Board of Surgery (I am so thankful I did not know this fact while making the piece for I would have been paralyzed by fear of making a mistake). Dr. Behrman’s primary area of expertise is pancreatic cancer.

My mother-in-law suffered frequent small bowel obstructions that engendered unbearable pain culminating in multiple monthly hospitalizations over the past year. These obstructions were misdiagnosed in Nashville as stemming from adhesions secondary to a previous gynecological surgery. No one wanted to operate for fear of creating more “adhesions”. Dr. Behrman, however, agreed to take her as a patient and operate. Rather than finding adhesions, Dr. Behrman found a tumor blocking her small intestine. Fortunately, the tumor was a carcinoid tumor which is very slow growing and has a good prognosis. Without Dr. Behrman, she would have never been diagnosed and properly treated.

The “Pancreas” was done on a 22.5 x 15-inch Arches Watercolor Hot press paper. The color tones surrounding the diagram were done with a combination of Tim Holtz’s Distress Inks (top left corner: Peeled paint, old paper, and antique linen; bottom left corner: wilted violet, blueprint sketch, and hickory smoke; bottom right hand corner: Black soot, hickory smoke, and antique linen; top right hand corner: hickory smoke, old paper, and antique linen). I used Reggie’s technique of placing removable masking tape to delineate the borders of the sketch and used Tim Holtz’s mini blending tool to achieve blending between colors (there are several fun YouTube videos on different ways to utilize these inks). Purple is the color for “pancreatic cancer awareness”. It was important for me to use the color purple in a corner for this reason. Pancreatic cancer is the fourth leading cause of cancer related deaths in the nation. Surgical resection for early cancer detection is the mainstay of treatment and involves a lengthy 7-9 hour operation called a “Whipple” procedure (pancreaticoduodenectomy) where the gallbladder, duodenum, part of the jejunum, and head of the pancreas are removed, after which the remaining organs reattached. The color green in the shading represents the biliary system (comprised of the gallbladder and biliary enzymes produced by the pancreas) that is removed.
For several weeks, I diligently studied Frank Netter’s “Atlas of Human Anatomy” to ensure proper anatomic drawing and labeling of structures. Frank Netter is a celebrated medical illustrator who was also a surgeon. After being satisfied with the look and size of my sketch (10.5” x 8.2”), I traced it to the Arches paper with the aid of our calligraphy light box. The diagram shading effects were accomplished by hatching and cross-hatching using a combination of Staedler Lumograph pencils (H, B, and F) and different-sized Sakura Micron Pens (thanks to Reggie for introducing them!) I wanted the pancreas to stand out and thus used a “Sunburst Yellow” Prismacolor pencil. I shaded the vessels using a red Pilot Precise V5 pen. I spray fixed (learned thanks to Reggie) the piece prior to labeling all organs to prevent smudging.

 In this piece, I envisioned representing the past, present, and future of my learning different writing styles. I labeled the Roman variations in the organs as a continuation of exercising what I had just learned during the previous classes. Calligraphy has very little room for error, and I decided to pencil the letters first and then used a 08 and 01 micron Sakura pen for lettering and 005 and 01 micron pen for the serifs on the Romans. The “pancreatic duct” was lettered with a white Uni-Ball Signo pen after coloring the duct black with a 08 micron pen. I made each letter a different width and height to give the pancreas an undulating and three-dimensional appearance. The Italics seen were made with a Pigma 1.0 mm pen and chosen to represent the “future” of my learning process. Unfortunately, it was quite audacious to use Italics without first learning them. I am ashamed to say that everything I was NOT SUPPOSED to do, I did! When the homework was due and Italics simultaneously being learned, all I could think for two days of classes was how every single “anatomical” stroke of my letterforms was wrong. Perhaps I can redeem myself in the future.

Most medical terminology is derived from Latin; thus, my first quote not only represents one of the oldest languages spoken (700 B.C.) but follows the tradition of using Latin in Medicine. I used the Roman Uncial (Middle Ages) style for the first quote. I ground a red Chinese ink stick (Hukaiwen brand bought on Amazon) and used a 2.5 mm Mitchell nib for a 6 mm size letterform. Spanish, my native language, is a “vulgarized Latin” which was developed in the 6th century A.D. I used the classic Carolignian manuscript learned in Reggie’s class. The letterform was a 4 mm height and made by grinding a Chinese ink stick that was given to me. English, the “bastard language” (mixture of Germanic, Latin, and Romance languages especially French and spoken around the 10th century A.D.) is represented by the modern/Humanist variation and was done with Sumi ink and an EF 66 nib. I used a 005 micron Sakura to draw in the serifs.

This has been a particular difficult write up to do as our classmate and friend, Nancy Bolton Grable, recently passed away with late stage pancreatic cancer that had been diagnosed just last year. She was a sweet soul that impacted each of us in a great way. None of our classmates knew she was ill, and I am amazed that she always had a smile on her face, a great attitude, and made the five-hour trip from St. Louis, MO to Memphis. I pray that she did not suffer. We will all miss her! Godspeed, Nancy!

* * * *

You can enjoy all the Pics of the Week from 2009 through 2018,
archived on the home page of my website www.reggieezell.com
Live, one on one with Reggie Ezell
Information on courses and workshops www.reggieezell.com
You can contact me directly: contactreggie@comcast.net  or 773-202-8321
Click to see several short (free) Calligraphy videos:
Full length calligraphy videos and PORTFOLIOS by Reggie: