Why does the eye see a thing more clearly in dreams than the imagination when awake?
- Leonardo da Vinci
I have enjoyed doing art ever since I was a kid. It has been an outlet to get out thoughts that cannot otherwise be expressed either through text or speech. Sometimes, there are no words to convey what's in our complicated brains. Some of my art has intense and sometimes private meaning for me.
From another perspective, doing art has been extremely healing for me. Both in terms of being calm and in the moment, a type meditation, and a way to surprise myself bringing thoughts from my unconscious to paper and canvas.
The video I created linked to our 2017 art show from participants of the brain tumour community (patients, family, caregivers)
My experience of the arts as it contributes to health, healing and wellness
Arts Health Network Canada
Please enjoy a sampling of my work here:
Perspective of Mind
This acrylic painting conveys my GBM brain cancer experience since my diagnosis in 2004. Treatment was hard—radiation to the brain as shown emanating from the double sun, chemotherapy indicated from the bottle of pills. I experienced much fatigue and “brain fog” as shown by the cloud through a portion of the brain where the tumour was. But the tumour is gone, leaving a gap in my brain to fill with good things and happy moments in life. The brain doesn’t float in the air on its own—I had much support during treatment and ever since giving me strength to stand up and beat the cancer.
During treatment, I had a dream of an elephant that told me everything would be ok. In the Talmud, it is stated that someone who dreams of an elephant, good things will happen to him. At the very least, it gave me the confidence that I would be ok. My daughter is holding my hand as we look back at what my brain was. The double sun is also a symbol of the fact that the radiation led to an element of double vision due to damage to a cranial nerve. One sun is larger than the other, also indicating myself and my daughter. She is the biggest reason I intend to make sure the cancer never comes back.
In 1997, a woman in Tsfat, Shirel, Israel approached a program I was in and asked if the students would be interested in painting a mural in honour of her son, Steven, who had passed away of cancer.
I jumped at the chance to be involved and my excitement grew when I learned he played ice hockey! Myself and another student designed the mural and started to paint it on the wall of a building. We soon enlisted others from our program to join in and help. Shirel was delighted to see our finished work, gave me a hockey trophy he had won and a puck he had played with.
When I returned to Canada a year later, one of the first things I did was hit the rink and slap Steven's puck into the net. Little did I know at the time of course that I would be hit with my own devastating cancer six year later.
When I returned to see the mural in 2014, I noticed that it had deteriorated greatly. Perhaps the original paint was not of the highest quality. Myself and a few others refurbished the painting and brought it back to life. In this photo, I stand beside the image of Stephan, sharing our joint love of hockey.