Monthly Archives: October 2014

Headway at the homestretch – Lauren Bowers

I never imagined my portraiture project to take such a fantastic turn as it has in the past few weeks. As the first quarter of the year wraps up, I can’t help but feel like the sudden lurch in progress can only foreshadow the the remaining months of the project. At this point, I feel like I have finally found my niche in artistry. Model sessions run smoothly as I develop my process, I’m comfortable in my mediums and exploring more, and constantly sketching to create fluid ideas. I found myself working with watercolor more than anything. I’ve really enjoyed getting to know the medium, and I’ve come to appreciate the end products which it produces.

"Sara"  Watercolor and Arches watercolor paper

Watercolor and Arches watercolor paper

"Caroline" Watercolor on arches watercolor paper

Watercolor on arches watercolor paper

In addition to watercolor portraits, I did one finalized charcoal drawing last over the weekend. Though I’ve tried to stray away from charcoal for the sake of growth, there are certain situations where it is just the most appropriate medium. This was a drawing in which I had a limited amount of time, and a model whose features screamed charcoal. Though it is still a work in progress, the basis for a solid foundational drawing is there.

"Sam" Vine/compressed/Pencil charcoal and Pastel on charcoal paper

Vine/compressed/Pencil charcoal and Pastel on charcoal paper

I believe my progression in work is not limited to the fact that I now have model cooperation. My mentor has played a large part in the development of my project. As we meet bi-weekly, the advice I receive from her predicts the actions of the week to follow. Last week T. Caroline and I agreed that my work can sometimes lack the physical context required for portraiture. As an attempt to give me the conditions I need, she recommended I start doing very basic, quick sketches which focus on the way the figure appears in space rather than the accuracy of the figure itself. In response I have been sketching constantly, trying to grasp the way humans move through their surrounding space. She’s also been suggesting artists to observe, one of them being Lucy gans. (you can see here website here). She is a teacher at Lehigh University and works extensively in portraiture with printmaking and instillation.

"Orchid Study #1"  Pencil on paper

“Orchid Study #1”
Pencil on paper


Humans aren’t the only thing I’m sketching. I find that I end up sketching whenever I have the time to. For example, this sketch of two orchid was done in a spare 30 minutes I had on monday. I keep orchids in my room, and they were what was immediately available. I hope to be able to share more sketches comfortably in the future.




I’m working with T. Caroline to make oil paint possible. The more I work with watercolor, the more I want to return to oil and re-explore it as a medium

There are still prints in the works which I will be continually developing. My mentor and I have been discussing different techniques which might be more interesting. I’m very keen on starting a few drypoint etchings which can be worked into with watercolor.

Photography will hopefully be happening soon.

Autonomous Differential Equations and Population Growth–Differential Equations

During this week’s lecture, the professor talks about the idea of autonomous differential equations, which is essentially the differential equations without independent variables, namely x. The general look of such equation should be dy/dx=f(y). I was confused at first: how can equations regarding x be without it? Then I realized it is  a derivative rather than a equation, so its integral would naturally be with x, just like the integral dy/dx=2 would be y=2x+c. (Click here for more information about autonomous differential equation) Continue reading

Mice, Morphine, and Other Essentials of a Mad Scientist #6

Researching a topic that is fairly untouched proposes additional challenges in comparison to typical school research work. Unlike researching a paper for a class, there are not full length journal articles that discuss the topic, method, and conclusions of what I am studying. Not only is the necessary information scattered across a spectrum of papers but the information can also lead to dead ends. Most recently, I have experienced the latter of these two challenges.

The original proteins that were going to be analyzed were CYP’s 2D6, 2B6, 3A4, and P-Glycoprotein. Each of these proteins has promising research already showing their relevance and importance in human drug interaction. The issue, however, specifically with CYP’s 2D6 and 3A4, is that the protein is not found in naturally grown mice. This problem seems as though it would be picked up on quickly, yet it wasn’t until weeks into researching that we discovered these proteins are not existent in normal mice. The missing details that lead to my misunderstanding of the proteins’ presence in mice are in the type of mice that have been used in the studies I looked at.

While scientists cannot simply test human genes using human subjects, the genes can be tested through the implantation of those genes in other organisms. In studies with “transgenic mice,” researchers take the genes of human DNA and insert them into the DNA of a mouse, in order to have a living organism to run tests with those genes. This, unfortunately, is also the case with CYP’s 2D6 and 3A4. Although often glossed over in the scientific articles, the mice used in research for these two proteins are transgenic, having been grown with the genes for these proteins implanted in their DNA. To our knowledge, the mice from which we are receiving kidneys and livers were not transgenic, therefore not possessing CYP’s 2D6 and 3A4. As much as this is a setback in my work, it is not a complete dead end. There are still the other two proteins to look at, as well as other potential proteins to settle on. On a realistic side, it was beneficial to have discovered the issues with CYP’s 2D6 and 3A4 because the results of testing would have been inconclusive if absent proteins were examined.

Examples of research with transgenic mice:

Music in the Stars – Back to the Basics – Anne Katherine


On Monday of this week after struggling to use music editing software I made the important decision to do something almost unheard of in our modern world: I decided to transcribe on paper a bit of the sheet music I have produced. The result is shown to the left.

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Creative Intermission 2!

From the very beginning, the beats were drawn to jazz like moths to a lamp–it defined the 40’s

Allen Ginsberg (source: photobucket)

Allen Ginsberg
(source: photobucket)

hipster from which they evolved. While the jazz musician’s lifestyle and jazz itself were directly appropriated and abused in many ways, shapes, and forms; there is also something that was purely artistically inspired by jazz: free-verse. Continue reading

Economics and My Life

Economics has always been a topic that intrigued me, probably because both of my parents are currently in this field. Even though I understand that my parents’ career should not influence my own career decision, I have learned to appreciate their efforts as well as the influence of economics has had on our family. When my parents graduated from college, their families could barely support them. With fifty dollars (which is equivalent to three hundred yuan) in their pockets, they went to seek career opportunities in a southern city of China—Shenzhen, once a small fishing village but now a major city in China with a vibrant economy. They eventually made a living by their endeavors and the fortuitous decision to go to Shenzhen. In the 90’s, Shenzhen became a special economic zone in China and developed rapidly with the “reforming and opening” policy, which led to a significant increase in foreign investments. With this opportunity, my mother created her own startup company and my father joined a state-owned enterprise. The prosperous economy in China gave them hope to achieve a higher standard of living.

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A Critique of a Critique? (On Morris Dickstein’s “Beyond Beat”, 1998 )

Cover of Amburn's biography (Source:

Cover of Amburn’s biography

In 1998, Ellis Amburn published a biographical work on Jack Kerouac–Subterranean Kerouac– which incorporated many of the interviews and exchanges that they had. Shortly after its publication, Morris Dickstein of The New York Times Book Review published a fairly charged review of the text.  While I did not read the biography, I did read the subsequent response. Critics’ reactions and reception of texts say as much about the critic as they do about the book. What interested me about Dickstein’s review was his criticism of Amburn’s “over-emphasis” of Kerouac’s biases and prejudices. Not much weight is attributed to the beats’ racism and misogyny; we tend to separate these things from their literary accomplishments (often when we find ourselves unable to separate them from their characters.) Continue reading