My story is anything but the typical artist’s journey. As a child, I felt the attraction of artistic expression, perhaps inspired by my father’s sign painting talents. I felt compelled to test my potential but learned early on that it would be prudent to first establish an alternative career to avoid becoming a starving artist.
Medicine and the “California dream” took me from a small town in southwestern Michigan to the West Coast. A successful 35 year career as an orthopaedic surgeon helped to reinforce my focus on resourcefulness and attention to detail. It also provided me with new insights and strengthened my resolve to pursue creative outlets, including art.
As a surgeon, encountering and overcoming difficult hurdles was a part my daily routine. However, the past several years presented me with some challenges that were literally life-changing. The first was cancer. Then the loss of much of the function of my right dominant hand as a result of treatment of the cancer. Yet, my go-to reprieve continued to be creating various forms of art. When it was no longer possible to continue practicing as an orthopaedic surgeon, art became my primary focus which may seem odd, considering the limited function of my hand.
This is where resourcefulness plays a role. In addition to practicing to paint left handed, mirror image transference in the mind and relearning neural pathways has helped. As complex as that may sound, when my hand is within my visual field, I can “imagine” what it felt like to hold a brush. I’ve also resorted to strapping brushes to a hand brace to assist in laying paint on canvas
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