Friday, August 31, 2012

Portrait of Me

...just had to share this portrait of me...a beautiful and talented friend created it for me!! xoxoxo <3

Friday, August 17, 2012

The Meaning Behind My Art: Reflections From This Past Year

     When I paint I create an innocent and whimsical world made up of dollies, butterflies, and birdies on layers upon layers of cheerful pastel colors, vintage children storybook images, playful scrapbook papers---stencils and fabrics.  An alternative world in comparison to my real world filled with difficulties, struggles and insecurities.  This past year has been a whirlwind... one of the most challenging years of my life and I have really come to realize as an artist why I keep my paintings so light-hearted.  I thought that in order to be a successful artist I had to be a master of all art skills....for example I used to draw portraits and while the end result was amazing and rewarding I felt like it was a difficult, time-consuming, frustrating, and non-expressive didn't help me through my struggles (it didn't help matters that I suffer from a mild case of OCD)----I  finally broke free from the technical boundaries I used to burden upon myself and I better understand my art journey.....why I paint what I paint---my process!!  I need simple-uncomplicated subject matter----imperfect imagery....I need whimsical birds, kittens, and puppies...I need fantasy-like, dream-like alternative worlds filled with pink polka-dots, butterflies and glitter----all the things that make me happy and bring a smile to my face.....I need an escape!   When reflecting upon this past year I can't help but ask myself questions----"did I really just go through that?" "how did I survive?"
      I find it difficult to blog when it seems that a black cloud is following me everywhere I go....I wanna post good news....exciting milestones.....I don't want people to feel sorry for me or dampen someones day!!  So I am going to tell you about my year and then never speak of it again!!  A year ago I was rushed to the hospital as I was having an appendicitis attack and was in the hospital for three days undergoing an appendectomy...then in October we started our first cycle of IVF after undergoing every other fertility treatment under the sun!!  (which, as you know, was unsuccessful.....not to mention the doctor's major screw-up, but we won't get into that!!)  ...and I almost forgot that during this time we also MOVED which is always a nightmare no matter how you look at it!  In February we went ahead with our second attempt and had a positive pregnancy test but two weeks later miscarried.  The Dr. decided to have a battery of testing done to rule-out under-lying diseases that could be causing our struggles.  With encouraging tests results, we were eager to give IVF another shot, but we had to wait until July.  During this time my husband broke some ribs while playing softball and to make a long story short through x-rays and CT scans the Dr. noticed an enlarged spleen and liver.  As a result many tests were given and blood tests confirmed that he had CANCER!!  Yep the disgusting C word had unwantedly entered our lives.  At first the Dr. threw around the words Leukemia and Multiple Mylo-ma....both of which are extremely scary and devastating....but after more testing they were ruled out----we were ex-tactic!!  Much like infertility we were now on an even bigger, faster, scarier roller coaster ride....after two more months of blood tests, x-rays and bone scans the Dr. still couldn't come to the conclusion of what type of cancer my husband was suffering from.... frustrated I started doing research on his symptoms and I remembered that he had been having some teeth problems for several years.  We scheduled a dentist appointment immediately and sure enough he had an abscess.   A tooth abscess is an infection that can cause major issues with your health and make your organs work harder and therefore become enlarged.  By this time the Dr. had told us that he was "stumped" and was seeking advice from a blood specialist in Oklahoma.  After several more tests after the teeth were taken care of  Cody's liver had gone back to normal size but blood and spleen were still abnormal.  We still don't know what the heck is wrong with him but the Dr. told him he was clear of any cancer (he also asked if I would come work for him because he thinks I may have been right about the tooth causing all of this turmoil)!!  We are still seeking a second opinion.  In the back of my mind I wondered if the abscess or his health issues could have anything to do with our struggles with infertility....but our fertility specialist claims it is extremely difficult to know the make-up of sperm or therefore impossible to know one way or the other.  UGH!!!! with Cody's clean bill of health (sort of) we decided to go ahead with our third round of IVF---third times a charm ---right??  Well not in this case....after another month of shots, surgeries, stress, and major emotional BS we got another BIG FAT NEGATIVE!!
     Now what to do....I don't know if I can put myself through the agony of IVF again???? I am going take a little time to try to not think about babies and focus on art and enjoy the rest of the summer----lake, sun, cocktails, friends. I have truly come to the conclusion that if I didn't have art in my life I would be scared to think how I would deal with all of this!!  ART SAVES and ART HEALS!  With all of this being said it is extremely unlike me to reveal so much about myself on such a public forum but I am a big believer that others may read this and have similar stories to share, good advice, answers to my questions, or just an encouraging word.