Saturday, July 25, 2009

Oncology on Canvas

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We got to participate in a wonderful workshop this morning called Oncology on Canvas. All of the oncology patients in the hospital and their families are invited to come and express their journey through art. As we walked in, a few of the volunteers introduced themselves to the kids and immediately supplied them with plates full of sugar. As they were carb-overloading, I was secretly hoping the sugar crash would coincide with the rest of my afternoon. The kids were provided with any type of paints, colors, markers that they could imagine. I was encouraged to join in the fun.

I had taken the kids , thinking this was a great outing for them while Phil was gone and it included minimal clean up for me. I think what I took away from the experience was far more valuable than anything. I watched families in various stages of cancer all trying to find answers, closure, expressions on paper to what they have been through. Each was different. Some were empowered, positive- others were beat down- all represented through art. There were islands, and mountains, dark caves and beautiful moons- there were flowers and turtles and knifes and ribbons. It was so interesting to see. Talent was not the point- healing was. Far more meaningful that million dollar paintings and way more valuable was this experience. It showed me another glimpse into my kid's thoughts- Lily clearly misses daddy as every paint stroke was yet another item for him. At 4, she lives in the moment- and this moment she is not a cancer survivor- she just misses daddy. Kiera was very intent on her art- yet all she really wanted to do was take it home. For Kiera, it is all about showing her friends. Bella did everything that Lily and Kiera did, with her own quirky twist. And Phillip got lost in trying to perfect Phineas and Ferb- wanting to quit when it wasn't perfect. I finally convinced him that it was his drawing, and as usual he was his strictest critic. Don't know where he gets that from. As for me- it started as an idea of the frog in Lily's belly. I could handle that- maybe sitting on a lilypad- with a purple Lily. I drew the outline of a body,of what was initially thought to be Lily- and inside the chest was the Lilypad with the frog. Yet the frog was more inside the Lilypad- I never was any good with depth and position, ugh- but then it took shape in my mind- the Lily pad was shaped like a heart- the frog in the belly of the Lily- the person holding the Lilypad was me. And there my friends is art therapy. What it starts out as is rarely what it turns into and what it turns into tells you way more about what you start out with than you originally thought. Hmm.


  1. Its great that you had such a wonderful and enriching experience as a family and got to embrace your inner artists. I hope that September comes soon for the Mallory fam. Your Disney trip is going to be great!

  2. Just beautiful,,,,,


Lily Kay Monkey

Lily Kay Monkey
November 2008 Photographed by Shelley Detton (7 Layer Studio)