Neurons that fire together, wire together

I’ve been using a sea sponge as a starting off point for my ink paintings since late July. It was a simple prop Meesh lent me during class when we were directed to draw from nature. The rocks I’d been using were hurting my eyes with their severe angles. The rotting fruit I held hostage on my window was oozing a plea to be released back to the earth.

The sponge looked appealing with its countless circles.

I still have that sponge. I’ve collected a few others, but I still like that original one which I’ve folded, contorted into a variety of two-forming-one shapes, and studied from all sides. (As if a spherical object could have sides.)

I barely need to look at the sponge these days to complete a painting. It’s become a reference, a touch stone to keep me on track. Circle, circle, hole. Circle, circle, squiggly. Look at the object. Ad a big swath of white paint to suggest an edge. Circle, circle, circle.

The end result is anyone’s guess. And that’s what I love about these paintings. Is it a sponge? Something growing in a Petri dish? An extraordinarily ordinary doodle?

A brain?

As some of you know, I dabble in meditation. And thanks to some inspired people in my life who encourage me on my path, I continually challenge my own spongy brain. Breathe in, breathe out. Circle here, circle there. Here comes a thought…circle, circle, circle. Slowly, I am rewiring my brain and with enough practice hope to someday get to a point where meditation is as effortless as this series of paintings. As psychologist Donald Hebb put it, “Neurons that fire together, wire together”, and I’m doing some remodeling.

So while I’m working to rewire my brain through meditation and “mental hygiene”, the image of a brain starts appearing in my paintings -- especially since I started adding color. Is it just me, or do they look like brain scans?

Above and below are some recent sketches, testing different colored inks. Today for the first time, I searched “brain scans” in Google images. It’s a little spooky.