Tuesday, September 9, 2008

You Just Never Know...

The Heart 9x12 inches Acrylic on Gallery Wrapped Canvas

You may remember seeing this painting before, but I have a story to tell you about it. I was never crazy about this piece and really considered it a test. It was hanging out in my corner of shame waiting for me to do something else with it when it was spotted by a woman visiting me. She said, "I really must ask you about this painting." Now she had seen a lot of my paintings and never asked much about them. Of course I said it was mainly a test canvas and there was not a lot to really tell about it as I was trying out some techniques. She said how much she loved this painting and how it resonated with her. Of course I had to ask more. So here is the story.

She is a nurse and during some of her training she was called in the middle of the night to come to the hospital to observe a heart transplant. While many parts of that process was miraculous to her, one of the things which stood out was the lack of blood in the heart...it was white! Pure white!

Apparently this painting was a perfect example of her experience that night during the heart transplant. With her story, the painting came quickly out of the corner of shame. She now owns the painting.

You just never know what is going to be meaningful to someone. I am glad this painting was meaningful to her. Interesting isn't it?

Now, this brings me to another somewhat related topic. I read this article which talks about a study done showing art classes helps teach physicians to better diagnose illnesses. Sad, though, isn't it that we have to introduce physicians to the arts in medical school! Shouldn't this be happening all along? Oh, I forgot, you probably can't test for that very well! When in the world did we let go of a balanced education? I suppose it is when we decided intuition wasn't good enough to follow...oh, I am getting on my soapbox now!

So I am interested in your thoughts.... on do you ever know?...and do you think it is sad we have to backtrack on arts education?


marianne said...

Hi Kim,
Wonderful post Kim!
Beautiful story about the white heart!
I have a painting done by a friend of mine and it hung in her garage!
I saw it a lot of times and I was amazed this fabulous piece was hanging in her damp garage, such a waist! The painting hangs in my hall and I enjoy it every day. Of some things you get never tired. I love it!
So glad your white heart found the proper home!
Thanks for your kind words on my blog about about the retail therapy! I had to laugh about your comment.
Meanwhile the grumpyness is gone and I feel more balanced again.
I have varnished the mandala and wrote the description of it.
I varnished an other mandala as well , so I have been productive and now I will spend some time visiting blogs and will try to go to bed early.
Bye Kim!
hug >M<

San said...

I love this story, Kim! I believe your intuition was helping you paint this. There was someone who needed to see this and you were painting it for her--from a deeper level of awareness.

Get on your soapbox anytime you'd like. There is also a movement in medicine to encourage doctors to write. About their patients. About the feelings their patients bring out in them. I believe it's all a way to help physicians step out of the box of their particular intense specialty. We all need to do this--step out of our specialty box. Not to mention our corner of shame.

Great post, Kim!

Anonymous said...

Hi Kim!
Wow - a white heart, I never would have thought it possible! It's interesting you mention doctors benefitting from art classes. When I used to go to art classes many years ago there were often doctors in the class who seemed to have a natural ability to draw from the figure. I'm sure it's to do with their knowledge of how the body's put together. I was also amazed at how many nurses I came across in the classes too!

Andrea and Kim said...

Hey Marianne! Now that is cool you have this lovely painting which did not appeal to your friend at all. I wonder what makes us judge ourselves in this way? I wonder why it is more difficult for us to see the good in our own work? Do you think it is because we have this idea of what it should look like and then it doesn't turn out that way? But I have had that happen with paintings I feel good about, too. Mmmm, it is an interesting thing to consider.

Oh, listen to you getting so much accomplished after that bit of retail therapy! Of course! Did you get some incredible things at the art shop? I am eager to see your take... :)

Thanks Marianne...

Andrea and Kim said...

Hi San!

Awe, you say the kindest things. But you know, I think you are right. I just was not aware of my intuition at that point. There are so many things associated with painting I need to learn to stay conscious of or to evaluate to see where things are going. See, I need you bloggers to remind me of these things, too.

Oh, I am not sure you really want me to get on my soapbox! I have so many things I have such strong feelings about that this is probably not the right thing to take them on here. I can really get going...each topic would be a blog to themselves. LOL

Now how cool is that...getting doctors to write about how they feel. Maybe we can look forward to more physicians who can actually make a connection with patients. And that is a difficult thing to do.

You are right, we do need to step outside our specialty box from time to time. Some people do that naturally, but it is less and less these days. You may or may not know I am married to a man who is as different from me as anyone might be. While we are a great challenge to each other from time to time, in the long run it is very good for both of us. So I do agree with you.

And, yes, that corner of shame is lessening with each post :) I think it is that old educational experience for me of seeing professors scream, yell and physically tear apart at work they didn't like. So slowly, I move away from that.

Thanks San!

Andrea and Kim said...

Hey Jess, that is cool these doctors and nurses took it up on themselves to do this. You are right, I am sure they were good because of their understanding of the body and I am sure the drawing helped them understand it even better. A different way of seeing something, right?

And isn't that interesting about the heart! I thought so, too. Of course once you think about it not having any blood to give it color, it becomes easier to understand. But I would have never considered that! There were lots of things she told me which were very, very interesting about that surgery...although I am quite sure I am not cut out to do that kind of work or even observe.

Thanks Jess!

Paula In Pinetop said...


I am always most amazed at what the viewer sees in a painting. I'm especially amazed at the things that people see in my work that I never saw for myself !

Perception is everything.

Andrea and Kim said...

Paula, you are so right. It is true for all paintings, isn't it? I guess it really comes down to a person's life experiences in relationship to the painting.

Thanks Paula!

Unknown said...

Kim, This is incredible. Your painting, and the story of the woman who was so moved by it, and the story about the white heart! And the thing it teaches us, that all our paintings in our corner of shame can come out one day.
Thanks Kim for this wonderful lesson

Andrea and Kim said...

Right...I think I need to make me a sign about that...

"...all our paintings in our corner of shame can come out one day!"

Thanks Andrea!

sukipoet said...

I think I will only be repeating what others have so eloquently said. But how lovely that your white heart found its home. Now it has a lovely prominent place on someone's wall. a lovely story. I admit, I chuckled a bit at your wording "Corner of Shame."

You know when I used to "do" craft fairs, I just brought everything I had made even though often there were things I just loved and things I disliked. It was interesting to see/hear the shoppers comments. Any number of times they bought the things I didnt like. It just shows up that judging mind I guess. Of course it is much harder for me to part with the things I like than the things I dont like. But nevertheless, I was continually being suprised and delighted often by shoppers reactions.

Re: education. When I went to college that's what I intended--to attain a well-rounded education (minus math). to become a woman for all seasons. A dibble of this, a dibble of that. Actually, I believe medicine is an art. I think that;s where we go wrong, we think it is a science like math and adding one and one to get two. No no no. and the art of medicine is getting drowned in all the insurance stuff and business stuff. Underneath it is the art and the intuition of it that truly matters. I too could go on bloglength about medicine and doctors. Yikes. Havent read the link but will. thanks kim. And glad your white heart is seeing the delight of day. Banish that corner of shame.

Andrea and Kim said...

Hi Suki,

Thanks you so much! You know the term, "corner of shame" came from Jess over at MessyJessie. She has a great sense of humor.

You know Babs tells some similar stories about overhearing people looking at her art. My experiences are mainly with individuals, so I get these now and then comments. Although I do hear things other people (who own some of my stuff) overhear. It is amazing what appeals to some. I can imagine it is great to be able to sell items you are not crazy about. I do not normally have a huge connection to my work once it is finished.

I agree with you, medicine is a lot of art. As you will see in the article, it is also a lot of observation and thinking out of the box...art can be very helpful with that, too.

Thanks Suki!

Cris, Artist in Oregon said...

I have heard before that Doctors are usually very artistic... In music or painting. I do think the arts not being taught much in school anymore is a shame. For we all benefit from them. I've also heard that learning to play an instrument, like a violin, can be helpful to kids learning math.

I remember a painting of some pretty pink spoonbill and white Egret birds taking off in a grassy field I did some years ago. Some were peeking their heads up out of the grass getting ready to fly. I put a high price on it in a Fair in CA. I ended up selling it after the fair was over. Not because it was a pretty picture but because she saw all this symbolism in the birds peeking up and the flight pattern. She asked me if I did that on purpose. Thinking fast for the right answer, and it ended up being true, I said I paint things hoping others can put themselves in it and that the meaning of an art piece is what the person personally feels and sees when viewing it. We had our photos taken with the painting and she said she was going to have it insured. I was speachless over that one. :))

Andrea and Kim said...

Hi Cris,

Yes, I think it is pretty well known the relationship between music and math. I also think it is well documented the positive effects of the arts on education in general. The biggest problem is that, in many cases, it is not acted upon. There is a great deal in education which is not acted upon, though, isn't it?

What a great story about your painting being sold after the fair was over. It is another wonderful example of how art is an individual thing and how there is something out there which speaks to each person...if they are given a chance to see.

And maybe that is one of the things with art and education...it is an individual thing. So many times now individuality is taken out of education, so maybe art helps put it back in among other things.

Thanks Cris!

sukipoet said...

Have now read the article. Ok, art classes help with observation skills. Of course writing classes could help with that too. Listening skills too are so important, listening to the words the patient uses. Homeopathic practitioners are good at doing that.It's hard to believe this is a "new" discovery. The world is such a funny place, remembering and forgetting on end.

I love this CBC site with all the arts articles. I skimmed the one of Deepa Mehta's new film. I have watched all her films I think.

Andrea and Kim said...

Yes, Suki...you are right, there are other activities which would be very helpful to physicians. I think the greatest thing we have to understand is the balance of education. For me, there seems to be so much focus, we loose sight of the whole. And that is true of education, in general, in the US. And I can understand the greater focus in higher education, but the balance needs to come early in life. I think the lack of this also is what pushes children/teens away from public education in this country.

You are right, it is silly to think this is NEW. It is a lack of common sense ... right back to the lack of that balanced education, right? And poorer critical thinking skills.

I am glad you liked the CBC sight...it is really wonderful, I agree. You might also like the BBC web site which has a lot about art and literature.

Thanks Suki, you know I adore your insights.