Carnival of Compassion

I’ve been invited to host a review of patient blogs called Carnival of Compassion, because part of my website is a Breast Cancer Blog, which I began about a year ago as a way to feel, vent, connect, and share information with others in my particular boat.

I’m probably stretching the parameters, but I’m also sharing here
some websites which inspire me, as a breast cancer survivor, to keep
living and hoping and creating. As an artist and a writer, I need encouragement to keep doing it, just as I do workshops to encourage others who have always wished they could paint or write–and who often think they can’t–amaze themselves with their possibilities.

For starters here are a couple of people who are using painting help heal our and their own spirits:

Glen Sacks developed an art therapy program for patients at the
Neo-Plastic Clinic in Mt. Sinai Hospital, New York City. This painting
shows his view of the conditions under which patients without health
coverage were given medical treatment, condition which are apparently
improving. I like Glen Sacks’s interesting perspectives, the view of
ourselves from our own eyes, the patients, as we wait, and wait, and
worry. I also like his simple style. It would be interesting, I think,
for us to try paintings like these, little self-portraits, small
sketchbook things with watercolor, perhaps.

The website for Brent Atwater who produces paintings not to
heal herself so much as to heal us offers quite a list of maladies
and with a “healing painting” for each. I find them quite moving, and
even kind of scary, actually visualizing some of my own fears.
This kind of abstract thing is fun to do. I’ve produced some myself on my blog.
Atwater also has written an art therapy book to teach children (and perhaps
ourselves as well) how to use art as a healing tool.

It’s inspiring to me to examine the world through the eyes of someone who sees in a fresh way and has a gift for communicating it. I find professional photojournalist Mark M Hancock’s blog offers several years of photojournalism, from up-close shots of frozen gravel to, on the same page, abused children painting with an art therapist, to current views of disaster areas. It’s plenty to give me a perspective on the world’s suffering, portrayed with compassion,
dignity, and beauty. And I love reading his excellent, skillful descriptions of how he practices his photograhic art.

I like this Breast Cancer Blog for up-to-date information on developments for my
particular disease. Like all of us with serious health problems, I frequently face difficult decisions, often feeling as if I am gambling and I check the internet to hedge my bets. I think everyone needs a few places to go when pondering the
next hard choice.

I also enjoy reading the simple patient blogs sponsored by the high Point
Regional Health System. Using first names only, listed by their diagnosis, patients blog their experiences with this hospital. I find this pretty brave of the hospital, giving patients a way to publicly complain, which may help keep the staff on their toes!

Here’s a blog post about patient blogging, posted October 26, 2005, which I just found actually mentioning my own blog. It’s a Health Care Law blog, well written by an attorney Bob Coffield in Charleston, West Virginia. His website lists quite a number of other health-related blogs as well as links to an rich variety of legal conundrums and resources.

And for pure inspiration and life adventure, I go to my son Dylan Kuhn’s longtime blog, for good writing, fun reviews of music, movies and books, wonderful photos of the Rockies where he rock climbs, hikes and backpacks with his wife Ann. Read here about hiking the length of California on the Pacific Crest Trail, from Mexico to Canada on the Continental Divide Trail, and solo bicycling 13,700 miles around the perimeter of the Lower 48. also designs websites–he did mine and trained me to run it!

Thanks for your patience! Hope you didn’t mind my diversions.


I am so excited about this new gallery. I returned from Costa Rica with a lot of energy, and I’ve spent it as if I’d won the lottery. I’m already exhausted getting ready to open: packaging prints, notecards, and original paintings, labelling, framing, planning. My friends John Lucas and Judy Prahl have been helping me hang it all up on the high long walls and little nooks.

My gallery inhabits a space in the new delicious orange Gypsies Cafe building at 510 Third Street in Bay City. Enter through the fragrant coffee shop, order the best sandwich in town from Jack’s deli, enjoy one of Maryanna’s coffee creations, and/or wander through the spirited gypsy shop to my gallery at the back.

Showing for the first time will be more than thirty pieces of art I produced during 2005, some of it during or in response to my treatments for breast cancer.

I will be on the next Bay City Gallery Walk, even if things aren’t finished, held the first Thursday of every month. The next one will be November 3rd, from 5 to 8 p.m., at which time the downtown galleries in Bay City host parties, sometimes with wine and food.

The lily watercolor is taken from my Costa Rica sketchbook. Click on the image to enlarge it.

A Month in Costa Rica!

Eleven months after my breast cancer diagnosis,five after my last radiation treatment, and three months since my last Arimidex, I was ready for a change! I came back feeling like myself again for the first time in a year. They said it would take six months after my last radiation treatment, and it did, almost to the day!

I was on an art residency at the lovely Julia and David White Artist Colony in Ciudad Colon, where I stayed in a gorgeous studio with 13 windows on three sides of my large studio apartment. I kept a watercolor/writing journal–120 pages with 30 to go (I’ll do them from photos), took over 500 digital photos, and (bonus bonus) lost the five pounds I’ve tried so hard to lose in the past year by walking back and forth up the steep steep hills to town and back.

I did so much art that I will have to do a Costa Rica page for the best of it. Meanwhile, here’s the pair of “real paintings” (acrylic) I did. They are called “Triple Merge 1 and 2”, signifying the presence of water, earth and sky together, a theme that has grown out of my fish pictures. The lonely fish out of water has apparently expanded to a new wholeness.

Click on an image to enlarge it.