The Healing Art Gallery uses the power of art to inspire healing and wellness, featuring local artists touched by cancer. It is located in the main hall of the Enloe Regional Cancer Center and can be viewed by the public Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
"My introduction to art was in junior high school. My high school did not have an art program, but an artist at my after-school job got me interested in oils. Then art was put aside for college, the army, graduate school and work.
"I taught organic chemistry at California State University, Chico, for 29 years. During this time, Paul Feldhaus of the art department contacted me to answer his chemistry questions, and he taught me the art of lithography.
"Seven years ago, I was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. After chemotherapy treatment, it was discovered that I had a T-cell induced cancer in my lungs. Treatment for both cancers was successful, and I am now in remission. Five years ago, I suffered a stroke, which left me weaker on my right side and using a walker for mobility.
"After the cancer diagnoses, Ouida, my wife of 65 years, and I quit traveling. I took up pastels and acrylics. After the stroke, I could barely handle a pencil. Physical therapy brought me to the point where I could use watercolors. I have been using this medium for the last two years. Most of my work is landscapes and seascapes, especially outback Australia, where Ouida and I spent two years while I was on sabbatical. My other subjects are scenes of Italy, which we have visited four times, and the hills of Northern California.
"Art has always been a part of my life, but since my cancer and stroke, it has been my lifeline. Painting each day is my therapy, even if they are failures. The doing is what is important."
May 2022 through mid-July 2022: Art by Jim Lawrence
My name is Jim Lawrence, and I can say I’m a “cancer survivor” because I’m still alive thanks to the Enloe Regional Cancer Center. Cancer has affected me at different times throughout my life. The first time was when my dad was diagnosed with melanoma on his arm. He drove trucks with that arm out the window most of the time. I come from a large family of seven brothers and sisters, and we were all worried we might lose our father. But the surgery was a success and he lived until he was 95 years old. My brother also developed melanoma and later prostate cancer. He survived both. Our family was very lucky, and even though these experiences were scary, they also drew our family together by revealing how much we care for each other.
Then a little over two years ago I was diagnosed with inoperable kidney cancer, and that knocked me back some. I thought, “Why me?” I was diagnosed with progressive multiple sclerosis 10 years ago and now I must deal with this? I had some gloomy days. A few years ago, a young friend of mine was diagnosed with inoperable prostate cancer and I was amazed he could talk about it so calmly. But when I had to find a way to live with that same feeling, I soon realized I didn’t want to live the rest of my days scared, sad or mad either. So, I set about finding a way to also be at peace with it.
When I thought about my life, I realized how lucky I’ve been. Medical advancements have made our lives more comfortable, I was born into a loving family, my body worked very well for most of my life allowing me to play many years of softball and experience wonderful backpacking adventures. I can’t be happy about the cancer, but I’ve learned how to be grateful for the wonderful life I had and still have.
My therapy now is to keep taking the meds my doctor has prescribed for me that have allowed me to survive going on three years now. To live peacefully with the M.S. and cancer, I go kayaking every chance I get. I had to give up hiking but I can still move gracefully in a kayak. From my kayak I take photos, of birds mostly, and then sometimes turn them into paintings. The kayak and the birds symbolize freedom to me. I don’t want my life to feel dominated by my medical issues.
Thanks to Enloe Cancer Center for compassionate care and the opportunity to share my art. I painted in watercolor for many years but after many of my paintings burned in the Camp Fire, I decided to try acrylic paints. Painting has always been a solitary experience for me, so I don’t take classes. I’m still experimenting with the medium, using brushes and sometimes a pallet knife to apply the paint. I frequently try to achieve a realistic rendering of my subjects, but if I want to express more intimate feelings I paint in the abstract. I find it much more challenging. Once again, I feel lucky to have found a way to express my feelings that also offers me many hours of peaceful escape. I hope you find my paintings peaceful also.
If for any reason you want to chat, my phone number is 530-720-9047. Thank you.
February 2022 through mid-April 2022: Art by Jo Kusie
Art is an expression of my truth. It is also a wonderful way to give vent to a myriad of emotions. As I watched my mother, brother, sister, son, and many friends go through the pain and struggle of cancer, it became a healthy way for me to express many of my negative emotions, such as anger, worry and fear.
Watching their struggle, there were no words, I could only watch and listen. As I processed what I was seeing and hearing from them, I discovered that my art was a positive way to release many intense feelings.
Although I have taken some art classes, much of my art is self-taught. I am continually learning, especially through observation of other artists’ work and books on art and technique. I have also discovered that practice, practice, practice helps the caliber of my art. I try to sketch or paint as often as possible.
I do not have a favorite subject matter for my art, although I do see the influences of living in Northern California in much of my work. My art allows me to express my love of the ocean, nature, people and animals. I have many thoughts and feelings about the world in which I live. For me, it is easier to articulate all of this with medias such as ink, pencil and paint.
I participated in Relay for Life for many years. I donated a number of my paintings to be raffled with the proceeds donated to the Relay. I have found creative outlets in different crafts, such as sewing and jewelry making. I have also painted a number of murals. I painted murals for Butte County’s Child Support Services and Children’s Services and Burger Hut. Some of the murals were done with the assistance of fellow artist Judie Noffsinger and other friends.
There is also great joy in watching others express their creativity. I was privileged to see this when I taught art at the Adult School, the GATE program and to different individuals. I have watched many disappear into their art and been rewarded with huge smiles as they see their finished creations.
I think that art is the best game in town. Even when my drawings or paintings aren’t going well, I’d rather be doing art than anything else. Whether my creativity is flowing or stifled, it is always a safety valve, a release and the best way of saying that which is difficult to express in words.
You can reach me at 530-342-4523 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
November 2021 through January 2022: Art by Ray Eastman
The only thing that doesn’t change is change itself. My paintings are a perfect example of this statement. I started painting in 1973. I was motivated by primitive paintings I had seen exhibited in a museum. These were of 17th and 18th century untrained artists representing all walks of life. These often-spontaneous creations were a significant representation of America’s past life. The simplicity of the paintings encouraged me to try to duplicate this art form. Looking back in time, I think it implicitly expressed my own dreams and aspirations.
To this day, I have never received any formal painting instruction. I have learned through books and observation of other artists’ paintings. I have never wanted or sought formal training. I feared it would change my natural instincts and artistic spontaneity in the creation of my works. To me this was freedom of expression.
Following my attempt at primitive paintings, I decided to paint in a more realistic way. Instead of painting from imagination, I started using photographs for accuracy. I discovered I could duplicate the reality of a photo painted on my canvas, wood or other surfaces. Eventually, I felt I was merely competing with photos for accuracy and not putting any sort of emotional or natural interpretation in my artwork. The experience did give me a more acute sense of visualization. I had developed a new appreciation of how I see the world.
My next stage of development was motivated by my study of 18th century French artists of the impressionism era. Names of famous artists such as Monet, Manet, Renoir, Cezanne, Van Gogh and many others invaded my thinking. I realized that art does not need to look exactly like what you see but needs to be interpreted by how you feel as well.
As I’ve aged in real and artistic life, I have felt a need to free myself from the bondage of my painting experiences. Abstract painting has become my current genre. I no longer feel compelled to paint what I see. I now paint in a state of mind unfettered by conventional artistic norms.
About the Artist
In 2009 due to his wife’s diagnosis of cancer, Ray moved to Chico, to seek treatment for her at Enloe Regional Cancer Center. Painting took on an importance in his life as a way to relieve some of the stress of living each day as the caretaker for a spouse with cancer. Through art he found one can truly live for the moment and thus find internal peace. Inquiries regarding purchase of paintings exhibited can be made at email@example.com or by phone at 530-514-6224.
August 6, 2021 through October 2021: Art by LaQueta Ponciana
In 2008, who would have ever thought that one painting would open the door to showing my art at the Enloe Healing Art Gallery? It is all because of my beautiful baby sister. As she was having one of her chemotherapy appointments, I painted her a picture of a ballerina dancing.
I called it “Victory Over Cancer.” I texted her the picture. She showed it to one of the nurses. That opened the door to a whole new world. Since that time, I have been painting and using the “God-given gift” to bless others.
I hate cancer! I lost my beautiful baby sister after one year of battling liver, lung and brain cancer. She was fun, loving, kind and full of zest. We became very close in the last year of her life. I wanted to make as many memories as possible. We had art projects we did together. We said prayers of thanksgiving on our drive to her chemo appointments. We shared many laughs and crazy inside jokes.
I helped in the care of my grandmother. She was a survivor of colon cancer. I cared for my daddy. He had liver cancer. My brother-in-law had a tumor on his jaw the size of a grapefruit. The doctors never had much hope for him, but through great prayer, we watched as the chemo shrank the tumor from his very first treatment. It was incredible. He has been cancer free for four years now. God is so good.
Without any lessons, but a God-given gift, I sit with paint brush in hand. I never know what is going to flow from the fingertips — bold, bright colors to baby pastels. How about cheerful sunflowers to brighten one’s day? Or a moonlit evening on your wall to display? I am inspired by each new stroke as my brush dances across the canvas to create fresh new paintings: sunrise, starry skies, angels, moonlit nights. My goal is to be able to bring joy to one’s heart and beauty to one’s wall.
Painting has been very therapeutic for me. All because of one simple painting I painted for my baby sister.
I dedicate the painting, Victory Over Cancer, and this show to my sister, Sandra Lynn Ponciano (Sally).
Find me on Facebook at LQ Eccentric Art.
April 2021 through mid-July 2021: Quilts by Multiple Artists
The Banners of Hope quilts were first installed at the Enloe Regional Cancer Center in 2010 to lift spirits and create a healing environment. First envisioned by Judith K. Johnson, a cancer survivor and former patient of the Cancer Center, these pieces were lovingly crafted by quilters throughout the North State. The quilts featured here are new submissions, and they represent the next generation of Banners of Hope.
If you or someone you know is interested in submitting a quilt, please contact Rebecca Senoglu, the Cancer Support Program Coordinator, at 530-332-3856 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Finding the Way
by Asya Lesly
Artist statement: Like so many people, I felt lost when I found out that I had cancer.
My banner shows that many birds provide great inspiration. The ability to find their way is crucial for survival.
The Steller’s jay may travel to lower elevations in the winter, while the tiny Rufous hummingbird travels between Canada and Mexico.
by Asya Lesly
Artist statement: The warrior pose requires balance, strength and flexibility.
May all those who are fighting cancer have all three. I don’t like to think of myself as a cancer survivor, but as a cancer ninja warrior princess with battle scars to prove it.
New Life Means Hope
by Judy Petrucelli (design) and Connie Adams (quilting)
Judy’s statement: I participated in the first Banners of Hope project with Judy Johnson as a member of Annie’s Star Quilt Guild. I have been through cancer with my daughter and my husband. The many times I went to Enloe Regional Cancer Center with my husband for cancer treatment, I so enjoyed the banners.
Now I am starting my own journey of cancer treatment. Working on a Banners of Hope is an inspiration to me, and I hope, others.
As we go through the treatment process, all we have is hope. There are no guarantees. Rebirth represents hope to me.
The Promise of Spring
by Donna Greenwald
Artist statement: Lilacs are a sure sign that spring and new life is just around the corner.
This piece will always remind me of my dear friend Judy Johnson, who lost her battle to cancer in the summer of 2020.
She lives on in the hearts and minds of her children, grandchildren, and many friends.
January 2021 through mid-April 2021: Quilts by Multiple Artists
by Missie Carpenter
Artist statement: Cancer has touched, and taken, many people in my life.
Undergoing treatment is fraught with many emotions. The power of positivity cannot be understated.
Who can deny the positive joy of spotting a butterfly in flight?
There’s Always Hope
by Char Miller
Artist statement: Cancer has touched our family, as it has many friends and families. My brother, Bob, and best friend, Linda, were lost too soon, and also my mother-in-law, Ann, whom I never had the chance to meet.
Connie Adams, who quilted this banner, and I picked a puzzle design because it reminded us of the puzzle table in the waiting area. The puzzles helped family and friends because puzzles bring people together.
Journey to Hope
by B.G. Crocker
Artist statement: My mom and grandma both battled breast cancer. A grandfather had stomach cancer; one of my uncles had bone cancer. My sister died from skin cancer. These beautiful people each displayed three characteristics throughout their journey. They had courage to face their diagnosis, strength during treatment and hope for a better tomorrow.
Their courage, strength and hope inspire me daily.
Light at the End of the Tunnel
by Grace Crocker
Artist statement: “You have cancer.” These are very scary words to hear. My mother had breast cancer, now I had it! Would my three daughters inherit the gene? Thankfully, not.
I felt like I was in a dark place with no way out. Loved ones and medical personnel cared for and encouraged me, but I was headed into a long, dark tunnel. Cancer does that to you.
But time and good care changed things. Soon I was headed for the “light at the end of the tunnel.” Thankfully, that tunnel is now in the past, and I am enjoying that light. This quilt was made to commemorate my journey and the journey of many others as well.
July 24, 2020 through mid-January 2021: Art by Diana Lynn Kearns
My name is Diana Lynn Kearns, and I was born in New York state on Sept. 22, 1951. I lived in Hyde Park, where the Franklin D. Roosevelt home is located. After high school, I attended Dutchess Community College for two years and received my associate degree in commercial art.
While living in Pennsylvania, I took watercolor and calligraphy classes and did some freelance artwork. My jobs included ad work for several stores and doing Easter and Christmas displays for Ringler Decoration and Greengate Mall. In 1984, I moved with my husband to Durham.
What I love most of all is drawing beautiful designs with pencil, pen and ink using gold, turquoise, pink, and green metallic inks. They are done free hand. I’ve been doing them since I got out of college.
In 2006 I was diagnosed with uterine cancer. After a hysterectomy to remove my uterus and ovaries, I was cancer free. However, in 2017, I was diagnosed with stage 1 breast cancer.
After surgical removal of my right breast and several lymph nodes under my arm, my cancer was determined to be stage 3.
God has taught me so many things throughout my life, and at this stage in my life he is teaching me about 100% faith. I follow him and trust him as I make my treatment choices.
I continue to use art to feel better. Doing art takes your mind off your body and takes you to a different place. Art flows right through me, and I don’t even consider it mine; I consider it God moving through me. Most of all, I have God in my life to teach, lead and guide me, and with lots of prayers he is healing me.
Jan. 24, 2020 through mid-July 2020: Art by Kimberly Rachelle Ranalla
In 2008, while I was pursuing my art degree at California State University, Chico, I was diagnosed with a brain tumor.
Everything kind of stopped. I had to focus my energy on something else entirely: surviving. All of my life roles — mother, wife, daughter, friend, artist and student — were tested. My teen children no longer had my focused attention. My energies drained; my life perspective forever changed.
My family and friends didn’t know how to treat me. Many were scared of how to talk to me. They were scared of the diagnosis and the impact it would have. Many treated me like a china doll: fragile and very breakable. I wasn’t. I didn’t break. Major changes were imposed on me and my family. However, I still felt like me. I still smiled and I still remained positive. And that is what strength and beauty are: keeping your positive essence. I have an infectiously positive attitude.
It took me seven years to get back to obtaining my degree, but I’m a better me because of what I went through. I have a new perspective on many things, especially myself and life.
After brain surgery, I was scared to paint. What if I lost my skill? Picking up the brushes the first time after surgery was heavy, but I pushed on, relieved to discover I still had my skills.
I have used art multiple times as part of my healing journey, as a way to cope with my progressive hearing loss that began in 2003, as a conceptual vehicle to communicate my voice, as a way to connect to the unknown and into a daily watercolor ritual that helped me through a divorce.
Some days my fibromyalgia prevents me from doing large paintings, but I can always explore creating with small watercolors. I find my balance, my sense of well-being and my inner harmony when I keep art an active part of my life. Painting is my meditation and my favorite way to communicate in the world. I am inspired by nature, by natural rhythms and critical thinking.
Now I am 11 years out from brain surgery and 10 years out from chemotherapy. The support I received at Enloe’s Regional Cancer Center was unforgettable. I am beyond grateful to be where I am today and to continue to push myself out of my comfort zone, exploring everything life has to offer.
What am I up to now? I am an artist, businesswoman, mother, grandmother (nonni), an aunt and sister. I obtained an associate degree from Butte College in studio arts and business administration in 2017. I am a recent graduate from CSU, Chico, with a business degree in project management and consulting.
I have been a committee member for this Healing Art Gallery at the Cancer Center since 2012, and I am a city of Chico art commissioner. I am grateful for these experiences and the ability to contribute to my community. I am excited to see what the future holds as I continue to chase and catch my dreams.
I hope my story, and my way of being in the world, can help others to embrace all that they are and encourage them to live life as fully as possible with as much love, wonder, gratitude, and beauty as possible.
Oct. 20, 2019 through Jan. 24, 2020: Art by Christine MacShane
I am often asked if I was always drawing and painting as a child. The answer is no. Born in Australia, I spent my childhood largely outdoors playing and exploring the world around me with my siblings. It wasn’t until I turned 12 that I discovered oil painting and then that was it — I had a love affair for life!
I travelled extensively until I settled in Northern California, where I raised my two children. As my mural and decorative art business grew, so did my fine art.
I have remained true to my painting philosophy of keeping the composition and form simple and colorful. My hope is that in doing so, I am able to convey a strong emotional connection with the viewer.
I am fascinated by light and its effect on shapes and have really enjoyed the world of negative space in my recent work. I like to focus more on the emotion of the piece than the realism component and have explored the figurative abstract with great satisfaction. Even in my landscapes, I celebrate color and light.
I began teaching 15 years ago in my art studio in Oroville. Later, I moved to Chico and continued classes through my studio. I taught at the Feather River Hospital Cancer Center until the Camp Fire. I was amazed and humbled by the courage of the patients who tried painting, even though they had never tried it before. Once they completed their first class, they came each week, come what may.
In response to the Camp Fire, I continue offering art therapy sessions at my studio in partnership with the Northern California Art Therapy Association.
I hope you enjoy my work and that you find a little of me in there … and a little of yourself.
If you would like to reach me, please call 530-370-1285 or email email@example.com.
July 20, 2019 to Oct. 19, 2019: Art by Connie Adams
Thank you for allowing me to share my watercolors with the Healing Art Gallery. I am a survivor of breast cancer and had a mastectomy 27 years ago.
Along with the help of my family and a support group, I was fortunate to have art and quilting as an outlet.
I have always been interested in arts and crafts. Mostly self-taught, my first attempt was oil painting, and I felt this wasn’t my medium. I then tried acrylics and charcoals, but I turned away from art when I discovered quilting.
For the past 30 years, I have been making quilts, and I designed one for the Enloe Banners of Hope project at the Enloe Regional Cancer Center about 10 years ago.
I also displayed a small quilt with Judith Johnson in the Healing Art Gallery in 2003. These past three years, I have discovered watercolors, and I was invited to join Amber Palmer’s Mind Vacation Art Classes.
Using her watercolor techniques, I feel like I am on a mind vacation! This opened new doors for me. With her instruction and guidance, I find that I am feeling so much more at ease, and I am just enjoying the process of painting and sharing my art with the community.
My husband, son and I moved to Chico 44 years ago, so I consider this my hometown. I am retired from the insurance field and very grateful to enjoy my life meeting new friends, painting, and getting involved with our community.
April 19, 2019 to July 19, 2019: Art by Antonio Ramirez
From the artist:
Hello, my name is Antonio Ramirez. I was born in San Luis Potosi, Mexico, and was raised in the small town of Lamont, Calif., then moved to Chico, where I have lived all my adult life. Along the way, I became a graphic designer and photographer.
Throughout the years I have volunteered, providing graphic design, photography and support to organizations like the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, the Wondrous Women, the Chico Independent Film Festival, and Frontera. I have had the chance to photograph amazing concerts and award-winning Latin groups like Los Tigeres del Norte, Las Fenix and Graciela Beltrán, to name a few.
From the artist’s sister, Rosa Carmona:
My brother, photographer Antonio Ramirez, was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia in June 2016. His treatment consisted of surgeries, several sessions of chemotherapy, two bone marrow transplants, numerous medications and long stays in the hospital. After the second transplant failed, he was put on a newly approved chemotherapy. After his long battle with leukemia, he passed away on Feb. 25, 2019.
Photography was Antonio’s passion. He loved to take photos, and he always had his camera with him. During his illness, while in the hospital or his apartment, he would put together items that represented his treatment and would plan on how to position them in order to photograph them.
He saw the light in his struggle and found a way to find peace and positivity in his illness by doing what he loved: photography.
When he felt well enough, he put his mask on and went out to take photos. He would always tell me how he couldn’t wait to be able to go out and take photos. When he told me he was going to display his work in the Cancer Center’s Healing Art Gallery, he was very excited and couldn’t wait to start working on it. Getting back to his photography meant he was back to a normal life.
During his treatment he always referred to himself as being Batman and reassured us by saying, “I got this,” reaffirming his positive outlook on life.
An artist at heart, he loved life and took every opportunity to find the beauty of it with his gift of photography. He will always be remembered for being a lens that captured life.
Jan. 26, 2019 to April 18, 2019: Art by Beth Bjorklund
Beth Bjorklund is a wife and mother who took up painting again after 25 years of raising kids and keeping house. Now the kids are out of college and she can paint to her heart’s content.
Her favorite subjects are fruit, flowers and people she loves. “There are so many great things to paint,” she says, “and when I paint, I thank God for the beauty in everything, for my ability and for the time I have to paint.”
She attended CSU Chico, and in 1979 received her Bachelor of Arts degree in communication design, with a minor in art. After graduation, she made her living as a designer/illustrator, designing logos and business systems, and doing package design, newspaper advertising design and layout.
She has won awards at the California State Fair for her 3D displays for Glenn County, including the Manager’s Award, Superintendent’s Award and most notably, the Innovation Award.
Her husband, Eric, was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2008. He went through radiation therapy, and when his cancer metastasized in 2017, he began chemotherapy. She and her husband appreciate the warm and caring staff at Enloe Regional Cancer Center. “The doctors and nurses here are like brothers and sisters to us,” she says.
“Sometimes art can be a creative outlet,” Beth says, “and other times, an escape into another kind of problem solving of how to get what I see there to be on my canvas here. Either way, it takes my mind out of the everyday thoughts and worries to somewhere else.”
Please visit Beth’s website at www.bethbjorklund.com, or call her with inquiries at 530-865-7125.