Art Marketing Online Art Blog
People often wonder how I found my way to art with a background in science and technology and not a lick of talent when it comes to traditional artistic ability. Oh, I claim creativity in the garden or figuring out how to create new business opportunities where others can't see the forest for the trees....but often artists look at me and go huh? I rarely offer a personal point of view as my upbringing was.....always stay at arms length...remain professional...you are founder of ArtId but not artist yourself. However, I found a treasure today!
I found a note tucked into a book that belonged to my maternal grandmother. The note was written by her sister. My grandmother was very ill most of her life. She was by profession a nurse in the 1920's but had a love of art and wasn't too shabby an artist (image is a pen & ink drawing she did in 1916 at the age of 17). At the age of 17, she was stricken with rheumatic fever and spent an entire year in bed....which is when she began to paint! This note was written towards the latter years of my grandmother's life and is a snap shot of her sister's memories of my grandmother and all that she suffered throughout her life...
"Do you want to hear a story? About a girl with tremendous courage! If I hadn't had first hand experience with the whole story, I'd find it hard to believe.
It started many, many years ago, with rheumatic fever although at that time it wasn't recognized as such . The doctors said she had a heart murmur. Later in her early twenties while on her way to visit me, she was stricken with spinal meningitis. This long before the miracle drugs. After two long and shocking months in the hospital, most of it spent in rigid paralysis, an abscess behind her right eye -- the right arm rigid, she was able to leave in a wheel chair. Then came hard & painful jobs, exercising the arm, breaking up the adhesions, working with eye specialists to correct her vision left weak by the abscess. Determined and forceful, she worked hard and slowly regained some strength. However, the effort imposed tremendous strain on a heart already weakened by rheumatic fever. The next twenty years were spent fighting a losing battle: loss of breath, increasing paralysis, oxygen levels, massage sitting in a chair, unable to lie down, visits to doctors, clinics, specialists. One learned not to ask how she was feeling; one just assumed she was doing very well indeed.
And then, two brave and wonderful doctors began operating on hearts. Weak and so desperately ill, we went to Boston, where she underwent heart surgery. Two days later, she suffered additional pain in having again adhesions in arm & back broken. Then began the long and slow battle to rehabilitate a body wasted & wracked by disease. At this time, she took up painting, five minutes today, maybe ten tomorrow. Oddly, the paintings were full of golden light, sunshine.
Now, this should be the end of this story, but alas there is another chapter. Three years ago, she was operated on for breast cancer, a radical and extensive operation. Today, despite increasing need for digitalis, a most painful arthritic condition, she studies & paints & when her strength permits, she goes to school. Somehow, she has no time to feel sorry for herself. To wonder why so many evil things have come her way. Yesterday, she told me she is studying celestial navigation!"
My grandmother was the 100th heart patient in this country at Brigham & Women's hospital in Boston. Art was her method of healing and she taught me what true character was and the meaning of strength. I will forever be grateful to my grandmother, Babs, and her ability to live beyond her pain and open my mind to the beauty of art.