Art As Therapy
“Your body is constantly fighting this disease, and you can feel it some days. Some days you have good days. Some days are bad. Art just helps me get through each day.”
Today, February 4, is World Cancer Day. I’m sure everyone reading this blog has been affected by this still-deadly disease at one time in our lives.
Back in early December, I had the opportunity, through my job, it interview a multiple myeloma patient, Jane Kielt, who is also an accomplished artist. In addition to being the Anderson Cooper of the interview, I also had the chance to shoot some stills and help edit and produce the final video. More on that in a bit.
Jane is primarily a watercolor painter, though she has dabbled in oil, acrylics and other creative mediums as well. She’s quiet and unassuming but ready with a quick smile. Memories of those smiles are seen in the lines near her eyes.
Jane has been battling multiple myeloma since 2010, but she hasn’t let that stop her from still doing art, and also teaching (she taught art to children for 26 years.) Between painting, riding her bike, traveling, cooking, swimming, spending time with her family, raising money for the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation…she’s indefatigable.
She told me during the interview that you can often tell in her paintings when her pain was really bad….the paintings are more detail-orientated. She would concentrate on the details – windows, bricks, etc. – painting each with great care and losing herself in the painting. She often paints looking through a big magnifying glass, and often feels better by the time she was done all those details.
The healing properties of art.
During the interview session, Jane told me “The reason I paint is just because I think, as an artist, you observe all the little things that some people just don’t see. And, for me, when we travel or when I look at something, there are colors that I see or shapes that I see that I don’t know if other people have seen. So, I’ll, I’ll look at a composition. I’ll look at something and say, Ooh. You know, I’d like to paint that.’And when I paint it, then people say, ‘Oh. I didn’t notice that.'”
That’s often how I feel about my photography as well. I’ll notice things that others may not see. It’s my job to record them. It’s like Diane Arbus said “I really believe there are things nobody would see if I didn’t photograph them.”
Jane’s a creator. And a fighter. Meeting people like her, and her wonderful, supportive family and friends, is one of the best parts of my job. For that opportunity, I’m glad.
Click here to watch the Jane’s video. Special thanks to Kevin Nelson of Skylight Media who did a wonderful job shooting and editing the video.
** Disclaimer: I changed the title of this post from The Healing Properties of Art as I didn’t want it to be misconstrued that Jane has been healed. She’s still fighting cancer every day.
(c) Mark Krajnak | JerseyStyle Photography | 2016