Friday, May 15, 2009

Journaling Thru Cancer...


Grapes and Pears, 3" x 4.5"

This is the first painting I completed when I picked up a brush again in 1996. Although I'd concentrated on watercolor in college, I had taken a slightly different route in life so I could pay my bills, working as a graphic artist and doing fine crafts such as jewelry and art quilts on the side. In 1995, I was just beginning to have some success on the show circuit with my quilts when I suddenly became ill with some mystery malady. My first concern was that a cancer I'd had in my 20's had reappeared, but that was not the case. Test after test failed to reveal the source of the problem. After a year of fatigue and pain, I finally decided to sign up for a weekly painting class -- hoping that a regular schedule would provide the incentive to work even if I wasn't feeling great. I'm happy to say that it was a success and the start of a very fulfilling journey.

I'm sharing this part of my life, which I generally keep to myself, because I just met fellow watercolorist Ricky Holtman a few days ago and he's currently dealing with treatments for cancer. Ricky has started a blog -- Journaling Thru Cancer -- to share his experiences and motivate other people to take part in their own healing process by journaling and making art. Please take a moment to link over to his journaling blog and from there to his watercolor blog -- The Pointed Brush -- and website too. I know it would mean a lot to him if you have the time to leave a comment.

19 comments:

  1. Chris!

    You have come so far in your technique! Thanks for sharing your early paintings with us.

    I cannot believe how much you've grown as a painter since then. There's hope for me after all!

    Also, thanks for sharing the link to Ricky's blog and for telling us a bit about his story.

    I already checked out his work and left some comments on both his blogs.

    -Dean

    ReplyDelete
  2. I'm sorry to hear of your illness and happy to know that you continue to paint. Looks lovely!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Art can heal - and it can take ones mind from pain, stress, suffering of all kinds. How wonderful to share this man's work and site - I'm definitely going to be one of his posters - spreading the caring through art :)

    ReplyDelete
  4. hi chris.. i added your blog link! my pleasure.!! let's cross reference as much as possible. i love your work.. and feel like i'm in GOOD COMPANY! if there's any way to do more collaboration.. let's do it! happy painting day. carol

    ReplyDelete
  5. Hi, Chris,
    Thanks for the link to Ricky's blogs and the post of your first painting when you returned to watercolor. It's so easy to get focused on the end product and forget that the process itself can be even more important. Focusing only on the end product can be so discouraging for those of us who are not as skilled when we compare our work to the wonderful artist/bloggers that we have access to via this amazing medium of the internet. So thanks to you and Ricky for the reminder about the value of the process itself.
    Irene in colorado
    P.S. The early prism watercolor you did of the CA hillside is still my favorite, despite that it's less skillfully executed. Hmmm. Another lesson for me. Congrats on your feature in Artist's magazine. A well deserved honor.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Thanks, Dean, Kathy, and Rhonda! Never underestimate the power of art to change your life! It takes you out of yourself and allows you to exist in a very healing place. I hope that this post brings a lot of support to Ricky right now and gives everyone else some incentive to continue their creative endeavors.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Thanks, Carol!! I've added you to my links too. I'm looking forward to continuing the conversation!!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Hey Irene, dear friend!! Good to hear from you. Wise words and thanks for saying them. Glad you still like the prismatic landscape -- you were my very first patron!! Hope life in Colorado is going well. I'll give you a call someday soon.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Hi, Chris. Thank goodness your cancer had not returned, and that your energy returned once you found your path. I haven't mentioned (with all of my recent preoccupation with my mom) that I'm a 4-year breast cancer survivor, and that painting is the only thing that got me through chemo. thanks for sharing this, and for pointing us to Ricky's site.
    Your work and your heart are both beautiful.
    Liz

    ReplyDelete
  10. Thanks for sharing your story too, Liz. I hope your art will continue to give you strength during this difficult time with your mom.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Chris, thanks for providing this link. I was the caregiver for my husband who passed away in 1998 at the age of 56. My art gave us both something beautiful and positive to focus on.

    Congratulations on the recent article about you in Artist Msgazine. I was so excited when I opened the magazine to see you featured.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Cancer has touched all of us in one way or another - my grandfather, my mother, a beloved friend. I'm so sorry it also touched you, and sincerely hope that you are now truly well.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Thanks, Mary. I'm glad your art provided a positive focus during a difficult time. And thanks for the good wishes on the article!! Congratulations to you on your successful Open Studios!!

    ReplyDelete
  14. Thanks, Deb. Life always has new challenges, but thankfully the cancer has never returned.

    ReplyDelete
  15. It is a blessed day when you come in contact with a person like Chris Beck. She has blessed me more that she knows and others to come. By writing about my blog it has opened an avenue for some of you and with your comments others to come. We all need each other. I can't pay her or any of you back except by praying and blogging. I need your input on the blog to help all of us grow. Chris has helped so much. Thnaks to my new best friend Chris Beck. Ricky

    ReplyDelete
  16. Thank you, Ricky. We are all connected through the web of life. My connections with you and others through this blog have supported more than I can say. It's a cliche to say "what goes around, comes around" but it is certainly true. I can't begin to thank everyone enough.

    ReplyDelete
  17. This is a wonderful painting. I will visit your friend.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Oops! I just noticed that I left out a word in my response to Ricky. I meant to say that connections with him and other bloggers have supported _me_ more than I can say.

    ReplyDelete

Stop in and say hello!!
(But please note -- I do not publish comments that include links to other blogs or websites.)