Climbing A Mountain

In July I saw a call for artists for a Brain Cancer/Tumour art show. The deadline to register for the show was the day that I was supposed to have brain surgery (July 31) I of course saw it as a sign. I can convince myself that almost anything is a sign such as a Monk on a cell phone in McDonald’s parking lot. One morning I woke up with an idea, I reached over grabbed my sketchbook from beside the bed (blew off the dust) and got drawing. I could visualize my emotional brain tumour journey in paper and colour. This is my sketch.


I have written about my brain tumour experience and shared some details that I know some people think are intimate. I never felt as though I was divulging too much of myself, I was totally comfortable with the words and pictures I used. But showing this piece is much more difficult because it’s like showing my soul. I feel naked, exposed and raw. At the same time it was really what I needed. I needed to get those emotions out and have a good look at what I went though. I am a visual person I needed to see the journey.

I am sharing because creating is how I deal with everything. I was planning on making this piece for my recovery time, I needed a focus and a creative outlet. Often I am making to distract myself from reality, or to feel a sense of accomplishment. In this case I am blatantly dumping out my emotions onto paper.

After surgery on August 7th I began working on this piece as part of my recovery process. I finished it just before the September 10th deadline. The timing of this exhibition was perfect for me. I am so thankful that this show was happening at this time it gave me the inspiration to create.

Climbing a Mountain was inspired by my recent brain tumour experience. On March 18, 2015 I was diagnosed with a brain tumour. Through the use of paper I depict the emotional journey of being diagnosed, living with and having surgery to remove a meningioma brain tumour. The journey starts in the bottom right of the piece and travels along the white path of hope past depression (grey/blue), fear (black), anger (red) and anxiety (yellow). The seven black 2.9 cm paper circles represent the hours spent in surgery and the size of the tumour removed.

This piece will be on display at the “Brain Cancer Got Me Thinking” exhibit which runs from October 7-13 at the Visual Space Gallery in Vancouver. A preview of the show is available here.

5 thoughts on “Climbing A Mountain

  1. Kristy October 5, 2015 / 6:45 pm

    Beautiful Sarah! I totally see you in this piece and feel your


  2. clairesnyman October 6, 2015 / 11:49 am

    This is so lovely! I am going to visit the exhibit and cannot wait to see it in person – well done 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Jaimee Samson November 30, 2015 / 4:13 pm

    oh Sarah, it is beautiful!! I have happy tears in my eyes


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