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Artwork by Karen E Schultz-Hess

Artwork by Karen E Schultz-Hess

“In Ancient Starlight We Lay In Repose”

I am have been creating art since I have memory. I work in multimedia, but my love is and will always be in graphite. The pencil can be a Stratavarious. An extension of us when we know our tools and how to make them sing.

I lost the ability to create art for many years after being diagnosed with a genetic form of breast cancer and the nerves in my dominant hand were damaged causing an inability to sense pressure, hold tools steady or without dropping them {without warning} as well as a tremor. When I’d discovered this, I tried to ‘push’ it. It pushed back. I couldn’t access what had always been my safe place to heal in flow. The spiral of which lead only down and to triage the list of things in active cancer treatment that had taken the lives of 11 women in my family and a single mother to a 2 yr old girl. I put it into a stasis hold, meaning, I put all of my tools in tubs and shoved them under the basement stairs. Out of sight out of mind, I’d hoped. I would perhaps, later, attend to this.

I was putting away the holiday decor several years later and decided the basement needed a whole reorganization. The tubs were part of that. I had a few choices: Donate them, toss them, burn them or use them. None of the first three options were viable and so I set up my studio and over the last two years have been learning to create left handed as my dominant. It’s been rough and emotional. Starting over at the beginning with memory losses in chunks is hard to swallow. We all have a bit of ego that bends our hearts in art. The layers of my ego and loss and pain are no greater than others, but it has reshaped art into my life in a deeper meaning. Art had always come to me easy in comparison to before this. In life we fight for what matters. Life itself I fought for. I was fighting for this because it is how I live. It is the breath of it. I had made a note of promise to come back to this when I had time to. I fought to have time. Time is different now. I earned it. Time is mine now and this is how I am choosing to use it.

I began with learning to be a Southpaw. Step One. The memory loss is in chunks from the chemotherapy. Therein, Step Two. Start at the beginning of Art = the basics of color theory and value, etc. It has good days and bad. I get tired and frustrated. I take time to balance the relearning. Such as Art Store trips as ‘educational therapy’. I love going anyway, but now I read everything. So much has been created for creating since I created last. It’s a bonus ‘up’ over the hard days.

What do I want to learn? Everything. The focus of which I want to carve out for is in steps; to do so in structured, guided measure. My chemo brain memory does best in story vs. reading. I create at night. Thus, online courses are my go to. It would be amazing to have this opportunity to take the Drawing Academy’s courses.

Categorized: Art Competition Archive

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