Several CURE® Calendar Contest winners describe their winning creations and discuss how they used art as a medium of coping with the struggles of cancer.
After selecting 12 winners for its annual calendar artwork contest, CURE® spoke with several of the winners about their artwork, what inspired it and how they use art as a therapeutic strategy to deal with the difficulties brought on by cancer.
The winning artwork – created through a variety of mediums including mixed media, digital painting, oil painting, photography and more – is deeper than simply a pleasant viewing experience. The pieces hold slivers of insight into lives impacted by cancer.
“One of the biggest payoffs for me as an artist is to see how people connect with my work,” said winner David Solie. “It's an accessible and inspiring bond that allows me offer something positive and nurturing to the world.”
Anne Delano Weathersby: I've been making photographs for many years. But it was after being diagnosed that I really began to specifically focus on nature and landscape photography. Before that, I was doing a lot of different things. But being out in nature, it’s so restful, peaceful and meditative that I just found it to be a way to heal. “Sailors Take Warning” was taken at dawn, not very far from my house, actually, on the Chesapeake. And I mean, it really spoke to me because it depicts a scene of sailboats at dawn, tied up, waiting to get through the oncoming storm because there's a dark cloud coming through. And it symbolizes the danger ahead, but also the hope that the storm will pass. And, you know, I'm hopeful that that is true of my scrape with cancer.
David Solie: My first pass at painting lasted two years when I was living in Seattle and attending graduate school. My media was watercolors, a perfect match for the weather and the mood of the Northwest. But then I left the Northwest and my painting fell to the wayside seemingly for good.
Flash forward 45 years where I am struggling with a lethal combination of comorbidity, and I stumbled on a story about Apples new pencil for the iPad (which) was just released. I bought one the same day and my life has never been the same. The pencil iPad combination has opened up a whole new universe of creativity that I never dreamed was possible, as well as being a converter for all the negative energy that piles up every day when you're sick. One of the biggest payoffs for me as an artist is to see how people connect with my work. It's an accessible and inspiring bond that allows me offer something positive and nurturing to the world. Which brings me to my submission to your open call for art for the 2022 calendar entitled “Prelude to New Life.”
Janet Solie (wife of David Solie): The painting is a metaphor for his cancer treatment and getting to a new life after having such a devastating diagnosis. We both have a medical background, we’re both retired physician assistants. So hearing stage 4 with bone metastases was horrible. That was a horrible diagnosis. But the painting is very much of metaphor, a symbol of his treatment, and the fact that it was a prelude to a new life. And he was diagnosed in March of 2020, which was difficult. And he's also saying in that, that that's a very popular painting with others. And that's part of the reason that he chose it for CURE®.
Courtney Mullings: I was always the class artist if you asked me, right. I thought of going to college to do art, but then I realized that wouldn't feed a family back then. So I went into engineering, right? So I'm really a tech guy. But I never stopped doing something, some form of painting. I always did some sort of painting. My basement is loaded with tons of half-finished work. And so I also did a lot of painting in high school and I did some time with portraiture some evenings before I got ill.
“Light Magnolia.” So, it was this day when I was just dying with fatigue, tiredness, exhaustion. I was out of it, and I decided I'm leaving the bed, and I went downstairs and was laying on the couch. There's a big window opposite the couch and these flowers – it was a vase of magnolias sitting in there, and I watched the sunlight just beating against the flowers, and how the flowers they were just like exuberant, you know, beautiful. And I said, “Man this is so good.” I asked myself, “How on earth could you be so happy Mr. Flower when I’m here sick and dying? Why aren't you sad like me? Why are you blooming? Why are you so exuberant?” And I just imagined the flower saying back to me, “That's what I do.” And really it said to me, what do I do? What do I do with – the flowers don't know when they're gonna die. They don't know when they're gonna live according to how we understand it, but they give everything they have while they're alive.
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