Ode to the Eurkaryote was inspired by a textbook illustration of an animal cell. It is neither a scientific illustration nor a complete fantasy, although it starts with a textbook drawing and after being filtered through a human psyche, emerges as an imaginary paradise (para + deisos in ancient Persian, meaning "enclosed garden") inhabited by fish and lizards and birds. “Paradise” also came to mean a place of supreme beauty or surpassing bliss, a Garden of Eden, heaven on Earth.
In 2007 I took a cell biology class at Southern Oregon University and was learning about the structure of the cell and how the various parts functioned together to maintain the life of the cell (of which our human body has about 10 trillion). I learned that each cell is enclosed in a bi-layered membrane that allows nutrients to enter the cell and waste products to leave, and that divides the cell into various compartments where proteins and enzymes and ribosomes do their job. As an artist, I was captivated by the beautiful shapes of the various organelles - Golgi apparatus, mitochondria, nucleus, lysosomes, and more.
How to convey the sense of awe as we recognize this amazingly intricate and dynamic living entity? Every biologist knows that feeling, yet how to convey it? As an artist, my way is to go beyond literal representation into the realm of feeling that arises with viewing fantastic imagery. For example,my cell, unnaturally isolated in the textbook drawing, deserved a beautiful place to rest. Why not on a bed of soft leaves surrounded by pleated blue space? Made of disparate parts that, in the ordinary world, cannot exist in the same space, my eukaryotic cell is a chimera. I have made my cell-garden a metaphorical paradise, here to delight your eye after giving me great pleasure in painting it.