by Jenny Schultz
Four years ago I was living a great life as an artist, mom, wife and fun, energetic friend. My art was just gaining ground and was featured in several galleries across the southeast. My painting style was happy, bright and colorful. Then I was diagnosed with late stage, neurological Lyme disease.
Joyous creation was essential to my psyche pre-illness, and work would really just evolve on my easel. The action of painting and interacting with the canvas and mediums truly made me happy. Angst did not figure into my work. I just never experienced it. This showed in the end result.
I could no longer feel those joyful emotions after the illnesses took hold. The ease of creation was lost to me. My actual vision and depth perception had changed. Hand tremors made the actual movement of representational painting difficult. I could no longer see or feel or experience the synergy that was once there.
My Lyme Doctor is located in New York, which gave me the opportunity to finally visit the various museums that I had always dreamed about. I would schedule time after each appointment to sit and soak in the work of the art masters.
I became obsessed with the mid century modernists. Pollack, de Kooning, Hoffman, Klein, Krasner, Freud, and Klee all spoke to me. I understood what they were saying but try as I might, I couldn’t make the jump from my happy, Impressionism to a dialogue via abstraction.
Finally, after four years of healing, I was able to start that conversation with my art. I understood what I needed to say. After four years of fighting to get my brain back, I sure had a lot to say. I began, slowly, to rebuild my life and my art career, with the help of many doctors, friends and two amazing gallery owners.
I actually write about my journey onto my canvas. I write about love and frustrations and the joy of being alive. I then use paint to communicate more, either over or under my words. I sand and scrape and carve, depending on the emotions and thoughts that are trying to reach the canvas. Some days the creation comes easily and I feel the past peek through a bit. Other days, more frequently than not, the bacteria in my body take charge and I have to wait for the healing to happen again.
Artist: Jenny Schultz