This year I took a summer vacation, one of the joys of which was time painting in the studio.
I’ve migrated to three different studios over the years, but a single constant in each was my old pair of nursing clogs, converted to painting shoes.
In their earlier life, they spent ten years traipsing across a PICU, and even flew in a helicopter a time or two while transporting sick children in Oregon to Portland.
When I transitioned from PICU to adult oncology, they retired. In their new-found leisure, they started a second career as my painting shoes, where we continued to do good work together.
Anyway, over the weekend I returned to the studio and painted, changing out of my street shoes into the old, faithful clogs. They felt funny. In fact, one foot was suddenly closer to the floor than the other. I looked down, and entire sections of the right foot clog’s rubber sole had disintegrated and fallen off in chunks. As I moved about, the left foot clog did the same. I stared at them in disbelief. I had not foreseen their imminent demise.
I did not have a second pair of studio shoes to change into, so I continued wearing them while painting, standing and walking, balancing on what remained of the core of their sole. We made one last painting together. I tried remembering the last patient I’d nursed while wearing these clogs, but could not.
When I finished painting for the day, I washed my brushes, and swept up the trail of black, crumbled rubber left behind on the studio floor. Removing the old, familiar clogs, I put on my street shoes, and placed the paint spattered, destroyed clogs into the garbage.
Move on. They’re just an old pair of clogs.
Besides, there’s another pair, retired when I left the infusion clinic for the oncology nurse navigator job, waiting in my closet at home to take their place in the studio.
Starting a new job has kept me super busy the past three months, and carves into the time I have to paint, draw, and write.
So, I’m really grateful for the two felted knitting kits I received as Christmas gifts last year from my mother-in-law. To be honest, I probably wouldn’t have picked these for myself, but that’s what’s so great about a gift: you don’t always know it’s what you need or want until you use it. Turns out, making these little bags has filled my need for creativity, without having to do anything except follow directions. They were actually quite fun to make, although sewing all of those teeny-tiny beads to the apple bag was a little challenging at times.
Anyway, they’re pretty cute. Nora J. Bellows designed the kits, found at nonipatterns.com.
Because I’m an artist, one of the pervading themes of this blog is art.
This week, I had the pleasure of being recognized, along with two other artists who are nurses, in an interview by Meaghan O’Keefe, RN for Scrubbedin (the Blog) at Nurse.com. Each of us share our perspective on art and nursing, and why they are uniquely paired.
In their April 2015 issue, the American Journal published Yazzie, a painting from my Urban Horses series, along with a short essay about selecting art for the health care setting. I’m honored to have a collection of my paintings and monotypes hanging the the oncology infusion clinic where I used to work, giving me a special opportunity to pair art and nursing in patient care.
The JParadisiRN Art Store is NEW, offering three paintings of nurses, including a brand new painting of a man-nurse, “Don’t Call Me Murse.” Two of my most requested paintings, “Sometimes My Surgical Mask Feels Like a Gag,” and “The White That Binds (Pinning Ceremony)” are also available. You can choose a mug from seven different styles, and customize them with the options offered.
I will offer new items soon. Be sure to take a look.
There’s also a permanent link to the JParadisiRNArtStore on this blog’s right-hand column.