Art & Nursing in The Clinical Setting: An Interactive Experience

Recently I had a unique experience as an artist and nurse.  At the hospital, I was stopped by someone I vaguely thought was a former patient, or perhaps a family member or supportive friend of a former patient, I really don’t remember.

Lung Ta (Wind Horse) oil stick on vellum 2007 by Julianna Paradisi

Lung Ta (Wind Horse) oil stick on vellum 2007 by Julianna Paradisi

This person, however, not only recognized me, but knew I painted the art hanging in the infusion clinic where I once worked.

“You sold the horse print.The one over the reception desk.”


“I really liked it. It was good. It was a print, right?”

“Thank you. Well, actually no. It was an original painting. I used oil sticks to make it.”

“What are oil sticks?”

“They’re similar to oil pastels, but big, like cigars. In fact, painting with them feels like how I imagine painting with a big, greasy cigar might feel. But they air dry over time, unlike oil pastels.”

“That sounds really messy, but your painting looked neat and precise.”

“Thank you.”

Wy' East (Mt Hood) Triptych #2 acrylic on canvas 2016 by Julianna Paradisi

Wy’ East (Mt Hood) Triptych #2 acrylic on canvas 2016 by Julianna Paradisi

“I really liked it.”

“Thank you. So what do you think of the painting of Mt Hood I made to replace it?”

The the expression on her face gave her away, so I threw her a bone.

“Not so much, right?”

“It’s okay. I liked the horse.”

“I really appreciate your comments,” and I meant it.

As an artist I’ve stood through many gallery openings and art receptions. It’s rare for anyone to ask about what inspired the art, or how it was made. No offense intended to anyone, but a common experience for artists at gallery receptions is being approached by people wanting to talk about themselves or their art, not yours. They didn’t come to view the art.

I’m enchanted by this woman who spends her time in an infusion clinic considering the artwork on its walls; becoming fond of a particular painting, and wondering how it was made. She wasn’t there to view the art either, but she did. Not only that, but she had access to the artist, who is a nurse going about her nursing duties, until this brief respite, when the two of us discussed the art.

I do not believe such things happen very often to artists or nurses. I am grateful it happened to me.


June Art Show at The Froelick Gallery in Portland

In June, I have a painting in the horse-themed Equine, a group show at the Froelick Gallery, opening June 1-July 16, 2011.

Urban Horses at Anka Gallery

Twenty-One mixed media on vellum (2007) artist: J.Paradisi

Twenty-One mixed media on vellum (2007) artist: J.Paradisi

Follow this link 

to see my  Urban Horses paintings on the walls of Anka Gallery as part of the “One more than four” group exhibition. The show runs until the end of July.

J.Paradisi in “One more than four” at Anka Gallery July 2nd-30th

Lung Ta   mixed media on vellum by J.Paradisi

Lung Ta mixed media on vellum by J.Paradisi

Anka Gallery, 325 NW 6th Ave. Portland, Oregon, 97209

   Anka Gallery exhibits a group show in July featuring digital art by Nance Patemoster, sculpture by James Proctor, glass art by DonnaLaPlante, and paintings by Sarah Cosman and Julianna Paradisi. First Thursday Reception July 2nd 6pm-9pm.The show runs through July 30th.

   Julianna’s paintings in this exhibit explore the boundary between figurative and conceptual imagery by abbreviating her subject into ambiguous and sometimes dissolving forms. She asks the viewer, how much information is required for understanding? Painted on vellum, the translucency of the paper creates layers, which contribute to the metaphor of comprehension.

Don’t forget: DRO Open House This Thursday 5pm-7pm

Untitled #5 2007 mixed media on gessoed paper

Untitled #5 2007 mixed media on gessoed paper by J.Paradisi

This painting from my Urban Horses series, is available for purchase tomorrow night at the Disabilities Rights Oregon open house and group art show.  620 SW 5th Ave. Suite 500.  I will donate 25% of the proceeds to DRO. Three other artists, Carole Zoom, Sam Roloff, and Traci Murray are also exhibiting. You can see their artwork by following the Disability Rights Oregon link under Notable Websites in the right hand column of this blog.

Urban Horses

mixed media/paper 2007 J.Paradisi

mixed media/paper 2007 J.Paradisi

“There is a burden here, and it is the weight of the familiar.”

Philip Guston

“Julianna, you have to stop drawing horses for the other children. You’re very good at it, but they have to learn to draw for themselves.”

This was the voice of Mrs. Rae, my kindergarten teacher and I was five years old. She was not scolding me. Mrs. Rae and I both knew that I drew horses better than my classmates could. The problem was each time we painted or made drawings in class, two or three other five year-olds lined up at the easel where I worked asking me to draw a horse for them on the sheets of paper they held and I would. Mrs. Rae wanted me to realize that everyone needs to create his or her own.

I drew horses because I loved them. In junior high, I cleaned stalls and tack in exchange for riding lessons. I rode three times a week, for three years and I couldn’t have been happier, unless I had owned a horse of my own.

In high school, horses became less important, taking a backspace in my personal history. After that,  marriage, motherhood, nursing school, divorce, and a second marriage kept them in my distant past. I didn’t think about horses at all, not until recently.

A few years ago, I moved into a home with a view of the Portland Mounted Police Horse paddock.  I watch them wander about the paddock and interact with one another while I drink coffee in the mornings. They look content with their lives.

I started making paintings of them.

It occurs to me that none of these horses runs free. They are Urban Horses. They live in a circumscribed area. They work for a living, patrolling the streets of Portland. They have a job to do, and responsibilities. Kind of like me. They are rare and unfamiliar in the city, somewhat out of place.

Images of horses have been made since before humans had written language and throughout the history of art. It is not easy to present them in a fresh way. The artist’s struggle is no different from that of anyone else, however. Neither is it easy to make a life full of meaning and beauty as we fulfill our daily obligations. Like all of the other children, we have to learn to create our own.

photo J.Paradisi 2007

photo J.Paradisi 2007