A new direction | PERSONAL STORY

I have always enjoyed painting, and in late 2013 I was working on some paintings for my son’s school fundraiser; an art show. Around this time I discovered a lump in my left breast, which I dismissed as a fibroid, but I had it checked out nonetheless. It was breast cancer; two tumours, aggressive and HER2-positive. At the age of 38 and with two young children, I was devastated. Mastectomy surgery was booked in immediately. But I hadn’t finished the paintings! I painted like a mad woman up until the night before my surgery and managed to complete the works. To my surprise, I even managed to attend the art show a week after my surgery.

Over the next 12 months I took to painting like I never had before. The chemotherapy and radiation routine left me far too sick and tired to work at my teaching job but I could still paint.

A friend suggested we have an exhibition together so I thought, “Why not? I’ll never have this opportunity again to focus on my artwork”. Plus, it was the best therapy I could have imagined. At a time when I felt ugly and damaged I had the opportunity to create something of beauty.

In March of this year, just after my 40th birthday, I had my first art exhibition called “Three Adrift” with two other female artists, Betty Mayhew and Kate Summerville. The exhibition was a huge success and I am proud to say that I sold almost all of my paintings. Baby et Lulu (who I had painted album covers for) even played on the opening night.

Without my diagnosis I may never have achieved this, and now my future, although scary and uncertain at times, may take me in a different and better direction than I ever could have imagined.

Lisa, NSW

Issue 72
Spring 2015