Art for Health - Patient Art Spotlight
My name is Geri Kelly. I am an artist and a cancer survivor. I began my life as an artist and have continued to learn different art mediums. I chose oil painting because that is the medium I enjoy the most. I opened my own studio and began teaching to young children and teens, encouraging them to paint, which led to a 14-year career teaching oil painting. I had to give up my studio when I became ill.
In 1996, I was diagnosed with advanced ovarian and uterine cancer, but I had the good fortune to be treated at Stanford Hospital & Clinics. This year makes 14 years CANCER-FREE!
I had been painting for over 30 years, so painting remained very important to me in my struggle to cope with the physical and emotional trauma of my cancer treatments, and with my fear of the illness itself.
I painted this series of vivid oil paintings. Each was created on a blank canvas and completed in one day. To begin each painting, I would load a brush with oil color straight from the tube. Slashing at the canvas, the wet paint spinning around in circles, I allowed myself to think about the day. Stretching my imagination, I would then follow where the painting wanted to take me.
I was captivated by what I was able to accomplish, and I looked forward to painting everyday after returning from my treatment. These paintings were completely different than anything I had ever painted, but the act of painting at this time was so beneficial to my recovery. As I got further into my daily treatments, I became weak and would nap for a few hours in the afternoon; but painting was what kept me going. I would go out and shop for six canvases at a time, giant tubes of paint and some new brushes. Painting helped the days to pass quickly. As I continue to view them even now, I am still struck by the powerful story they tell.