Life Vessels

This is a colored pencil drawing showing connections between arteries and veins, called arteriovenous anastomosis. The red vessels are arterioles that take blood and nutrients to tissue and the blue vessels are venules that take blood and waste away from the tissue. The circulation is a closed and continuous system. FYI -red is used to depict arteries because it is oxygenated giving it the classical bright red color, and venous blood is depicted as blue because it is deoxygenated giving it a reddish blue color.


Pain Brain

This is a mixed media artwork showing areas in brain involved in processing pain. The background is a collage of brain images from published papers using brain imaging. The yellow and white map pins represent areas involved in pain processing. Colored strings represent connections between neurons. The red and pink strings around the yellow and white map pins show active the areas involved pain in the prefrontal, cingukate, insular, and sensory cortex, and the temporopareital junction.

Rainbow brain

This painting shows a brain with neurons colored across the visual spectrum. I chose to use the variety of colors to represent the diversity of function across the brain which includes decision making, learning and memory, emotion, sensation, motor control, speech, heating and vision.

Meeting Doodles

I just attended the annual meeting of the orthopedic section of the American Physical Therapy Association. Got to give a talk on the science of Pain and how to implement this into clinical practice. During the meeting, the hotel gave us black paper and silver gel pens to take notes. Not a great idea, especially for an artist. I usually doodle during all meetings but these may have been my best doodles yet. I did a cross section of muscle, a group of immune cells, a neuron, and action potentials from myelinated and unmyelinated neurons.

The Amazing Shrinking Fat

This is a series of four different paintings showing fat cells, called adipocytes in obese individuals and how they lose their size with regular exercise. Note the size of the fat cell shrinks with decreasing weight, but the number of fat cells do not. I have put a silhouette on each figure to show how increasing activity decreases weight, and changes size of fat cells.

I also show macrophages in white and purple. Note the white macrophages are more prominent with increased fat and the dark purple cells are more prominent in the normal weight individual that is running. These two types of macrophages have different functions. The white ones, called M1s, release chemicals, called cytokines, that produce inflammation and pain. The purple ones, called M2s, release chemicals that reduce inflammation and are analgesic. Regular exercise can change these macrophage types to increase the chemicals that reduce pain and inflammation.

Obesity is associated with a number of other diseases including chronic pain, heat disease and diabetes. Systemic inflammation contributes to these conditions, and regular exercise is an effective treatment for these conditions.


This acrylic painting shows adipocytes-fat cells in green. The red cells are macrophages and release inflammatory cytokines, chemicals that result in a systemic inflammation. The yellow-orange fibers are sympathetic fibers which show increased activity in obesity.

Obesity is an increasingly recognized health concern in the United States and world-wide.  The Center for Disease Control in 2014 showed that more than one-third (36.5%) of U.S. adults and 17% of children were obese.

There are a numnber of health isssues associated with obesity-for more information see the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. These include:

  • Type 2 diabetes
  • high blood pressure
  • heart disease
  • stroke
  • cancer
  • sleep apnea
  • osteoarthritis
  • liver disease
  • kidney disease





This acrylic painting shows stem cells in black and white and the cells they can differentiate into in the body. This includes neurons in blur, endothelial cells that line the walls of blood vessels in red at top, epithelial cells lining the gut in green, fat cells (adipocytes) in Light brown, muscle cells in red at bottom of picture, chondrocytes that make up cartilage in orange and immune cells in purple.

Pain Wars

This cartoon I call Pain Wars. It represents the balance between inhibition and excitation that goes on in the central nervous system to modulate pain. I show neurons with their axon terminals shooting out neurotransmitters. Excitatory neurons are red and inhibitory are blue.

Reprint Art

Reprint art

This is a collage of my old reprints from manuscripts I wrote when I was a graduate student at UT Galveston. I then used markers to draw a neuron over the top. My papers examine arthritis pain. The papers included here examined neurotransmitter release and activity of nociceptors.

Up until about 10 years ago many journals sent complimentary reprints on nice glossy paper to the author so we could distribute. This is a thing of the past in the new paperless age of research. Now manuscripts are generally readily accessible.

So for all you older scientists don’t throw away your old reprints, send them my way instead.

Blog at

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: