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Why I Am Elated

In May of 2023 I experienced a health scare. After a regular doctor check-up lead to a dermatological inspection, it was discovered I had two small skin cancers on the top and back of my head, an area I can’t see when I look in a single mirror. The scare was that they were biopsied to be the notoriously virulent melanoma. It was determined that they were most likely not deep enough in my scalp to have metastasized, but extra test were called for. So after those were made and they did not find any spread of the cancer, I went to UCLA for head surgery. Gratefully, my partner arranged that I have top doctors who teach their specialized subjects at UCLA, who surgically removed the two tumors. Although my head hurts a bit (it feels like I have a head ache), I have been so very fortunate to have gotten things corrected early. And I should be fine.

As my blog readers know by now, I have been abstracting from my many experiences and studies in life; i.e. making “abstracted” paintings and drawings. Having not anticipated this recent turn of events, I have surprised myself by delving into a biological, under-the-microscope, medical kind of abstracted imagery. After the operation, as I got back to my studio, I was so elated at being alive, having dodged a bullet so to speak, I started this new series; “So Elated to Be Starting the Fourth of My Nine Lives”. The first three lives are another set of stories and I will spare my readers those gory (although funny in a black sort of way) details for now. Anyway, I have started with head diagrams of the melanoma cells in my scalp, and then just progressed into an overall biological abstraction, perhaps emphasizing my joy at being alive and being able to freely create works in my studio. Hence all the glitter glue, and at times, including a new find for me; colored “heishi”, discovered in the jewelry section of arts and crafts stores, that are used to make bead necklaces. I find myself recalling how much my mother liked to collect and wear Pueblo jewelry. I made sure I bought some turquoise colored heishi beads that are made from clay. As single pieces dropped into wet paint, they appear as small discs with center holes.

Amazing at how we humans cope with the knowledge that our lives will end. I never felt sick, or had any symptoms of disease, but I sure am elated to have a few more rounds to keep creating paintings and continue hunting in the jewelry isles of arts and crafts stores. The full series can be seen in my new So Elated to Be Starting the Fourth of My Nine Lives tab at


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