Thursday, November 30, 2006

Sinead O'Levin

Spent some time in the studio today. This is the beginning of my self portrait, Sinead O'Levin. With energy low, I was only able to complete the sketch but was thankful to be painting at all. This is a 16"x20" oil on canvas. There is absolutely no significance to the red paint mixed with the charcoal used for drawing. I usually start in red because I just darn feel like it. In college they usually had you start in umbers or siennas. I use red because I can. My plan for this piece is to knock it out with big brush strokes and no fussing around in one day. I hope to do that one day next week when I come back to the studio. It takes a while to warm up when you aren't painting everyday so it might take me two days to complete. This isn't about creating a masterpiece. It is just about the act of putting paint on the canvas. That simple.

Being that I now look like the Taco Bell dog, all skin and eyes, I find showering very unfulfilling. When one does not have any hair to shampoo or shave there isn't much to do in the shower. I've now taken to the habit of buffing my feet and elbows. So much so I think I'm wearing off the skin in those areas. However, don't think I get ready any faster in the morning. Oh no! Now I painstakingly apply very smokey looking eye makeup to make up for the missing hair.

Speaking of hair, I bought a blonde wig. Yup, her name is Pamela. I'm much more fond of the scarf but it seems other folks feel more comfortable with the wig. I think it helps them relax. So, in certain situations you just might see Pamela out and about. Keep your eyes open for that because she really doesn't get out much.

I want to send a special thanks out to Joe P. from . He is an unbelievable photographer and just a heck of a nice guy. Check out his site and enjoy the music there too. Ooh, don't forget his blog because it is always worth reading.

One last thing is my playlist for painting. Check out or download Christina Aguilera's "Fighter" and "Beautiful", India Arie's "I Am Not My Hair" and "This Too Shall Pass" and finally Melissa Etheridge's "I Run for Life". It really goes with the painting!

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Thanksgiving in Silk Pajamas

Hey you can’t beat that right? My family is coming to the house to prepare everything and all I have to do is show up in my best silk pajamas. Talk about service. I will wear a hat or scarf though so as not to shed on their mashed potatoes! I’m quite thoughtful like that.

I am so thankful for so many things this year. I’m alive and doing great. I’ve been given the opportunity to see life with a new and healthier perspective. I have new goals and dreams. I look good in a hat. Chemo treatments get easier. Did I mention I look good in a hat? I’ve had the opportunity to spend time with my mother in a way that I will remember forever. I have so many friends and family that love me and I never feel alone. Ever. I am so very blessed. I guess I am thankful for everything.

My next chemo treatment is on my birthday, December 12th. How fitting. I think I will have a t-shirt made saying “Bald Women Do It Better”. I will stuff my bra and parade around the oncology floor until I get a laugh. Try me. I have to admit I stole that idea with pride. Maybe I’ll bring a camera to prove to you that I did it.

So, I wish all of you the best on this holiday. Enjoy those around you. I know these times can be hectic but try to take a deep breath and remember the alternative.

Thank you everyone for your kind emails and phone calls. Nancy at the Harem in Carney’s Point, thank you for cutting my hair and taking care of my tears. Go to her if you need a good style…she rocks! Thank you Jen for checking up on me…and Trac and Kleo. Thanks everyone. Oh…maybe in a bit, my next post will have art! I can’t wait.

Happy Thanksgiving.


Monday, November 13, 2006

Even Cancer Doesn't Make Me Skinny

I'm a medical mystery. What else is new?! How can anyone with a tumor the size of two babies heads in them not lose weight is what the doctors want to know. Well, they never met a Levin. I just had to throw in a little humor for all of you who send me such lovely emails and gifts. I have so many great folks to thank it might take my entire recovery to get it done. Really, thank you everyone for so much support and positive thoughts. It is working.

While I am staying with my mother and eating her out of house and home thanks to Prednisone (an evil drug that I am loving at the moment), I do have access to email. I have a dial-up connection of 26.4 kbps! Woo hoo! I do not have any of my email addresses with me. So, I ask everyone to please email me so I can hit "reply" and to please not send photos until my prehistoric computer connection changes. This should be for about 3 weeks or so. I'm just thrilled to be connected.

Many have asked me the details of my lymphoma. I found a website that explains it pretty well so I am sharing the link with you. I'm Stage II with an approximately 15 centimeter mediastinal large B-cell lymphoma. If you are going to get a cancer this is a good one to get because they can probably get rid of it. I will go through 6 courses of CHOP-R chemo and then radiation in February. My second dose is supposed to be the day before Thanksgiving. I think the holiday has new meaning for me now. I am so excited that my family will be with me for that day.

Thank you again everyone for your thoughts and prayers. They work and I am thankful. More updates in a few days.



PS Please excuse typos...spell check is not working on Blogger for me today. :) Neither is my brain.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Normally on my blog I try not to get too personal. Often I fall from that mark because I feel sometimes it is good to share and it gives people an idea about what drives my art. Right now I am going to share my most personal entry yet.

I have been ill for some time as some can see by the lack of art posts. Recently I have been hospitalized and have been diagnosed with Lymphoma. This is a very curable form and as soon as my tumor shrinks and puts me out of risk I can continue my chemo treatments at home. My art will then take a new turn for me I believe and I will focus on self portraits for a while. I feel I need something cathartic and extremely self indulgent. It will be about healing.

I write this because I have so many cyber friends that I know will pray for me. I belive in all kinds of prayer and positive thoughts. I ask now for everyone just to visualize this big ugly tumor shrinking by leaps and bounds so I can go "home" and stay with my mother for a while and be close to the people I love. I am so very blessed to have the best family in the world and friends that have not let me down. This is not a time to be sad but a time to be strong. I need laughter and tough people by my side. If you know me you know I'm stubborn and not easily beaten.

Don't worry, I will be fine and better for it. I do believe everything we go through has a reason. I don't know what that is right now but time will tell. So "think shrink" for me so I can get those healing brushes in my hands.

Love to my family and friends.