Art, Mixed Media, Creativity

Cut And Paste Beyond Breast Cancer. When Art Heals.

Mixed medim art for breast cancer awareness by Bernadette Rose Smith

Stitched and stretched. That’s what I’ve titled this piece because that’s what breast cancer ushered in with every decision I had to make. Cut it. Stitch it. Now, stretch it beyond anything recognizable as you.

Life flew apart like confetti without a party. Not unlike my private-moment, mixed medium attempts at depicting this most bizarre journey. (And so shortly after losing Ray to cancer.) Countless bits and pieces of paper – glued, splattered, pealed back up, and reassembled with the best of intentions – were tossed in the trashcan next to me because they did not fit the picture as I had imagined.

The writer-me has freely spoken about her journey with breast cancer. The artist-me had not taken her shot at it. Quite frankly, she couldn’t get the writer to shut up long enough for the artist to quietly seat herself in the studio and ask, “How do you heal through this with art – not words?”

Stitched and Stretched, mixed medium, healing beyond breast cancer by Bernadette Rose Smith

Each piece of paper, every bit of texture and slap of paint speaks to what this journey feels like through my artist-heart. And, more so, the desperately quiet pieces that landed in the trash with only my tears to witness.

But, you know, there is something tremendously freeing in all of this.

I am stretched and sTReTcHiNg to live poetically. Not apologetically.

Stitched and Stretched, mixed medium, healing beyond breast cancer by Bernadette Rose Smith

There is a hope-filled whimsy that rises in this piece. The space, once held by a breast, flowers into a garden, butterflies seek a new life expression, and a bouquet of thoughts say…

Go for it, honey. Whatever time you have left, sow your wildflower seeds. You don’t have to plant yourself in rows any more.

mixed medium art, healing beyond breast cancer by Bernadette Rose Smith

Time spent creating this piece is just what the doctor in my soul ordered. And I hope it will brighten the path for all women walking though breast cancer – as well as the dear spirits walking with them. I plan on thriving for a long time, but, if I don’t, everyone who loves me knows my legacy celebrates our God-given creative spirit. So, claim my freedom as yours. Don’t plant in rows unless you want to.

My next decision is just around the corner. To nipple. Or not to nipple?

God says to do what delights me. The artist-me says no more cutting or stitching or knotting of the flesh. I am thinking a tattoo for my pretend tata! Yep. I am going to see if I can find a tattoo artist to embellish my tata with an image that will remind me of love, and this new, unapologetic life unfolding. Hmmm. But what shall that image be? Stay tuned, Loves!

–––Originally posted, September 14, 2018, on my old website.–––

October 3, 2019 update on that tattoo: Being that my margins were not clean when the doctor removed my breast, and I chose not to do chemo or radiation, I decided to wait for “all clear” before subjecting the skin tissue to inks. Me and my “stand in” are getting used to each other. There is beauty found in watching her scars fade.

October 6, 2020 update: THREE years of not planting in rows – and counting! WooHoo!

August 24, 2022 update: VERY close to FIVE years of not planting in rows! ❤

As always, I love to hear your thoughts, DEar HEaRTs. You matter to me. XO Bernadette

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2 thoughts on “Cut And Paste Beyond Breast Cancer. When Art Heals.”

  1. Your artwork is beautiful 💕💕💕 Everything you say and do inspires me in fact.. helps me see that you not only lost your soulmate. But you went right into the breast cancer journey.. and still you inspire all with your profound introspection and compassion.. that piece of art is so powerful and Beautiful 💕💕💕💕 you’re one amazing talented healer artist and woman whom I have never met. But can truly say I admire and love.. thank you for your gifts and your profound transparency that gives us all permission to feel.. express and feel understood. 💕🙏🏼💜🦋

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sandra, Thank you for your words. Knowing that I have the capacity to use my love for words and art to allow God to move through me and uplift others is what keeps me going these days. This you know because of your own journey after losing your sweetheart to cancer. Watching you inspire others and embrace your beautiful family, so courageously sharing yourself and continuing to make memories though your heart yearns for his physical presence every day, inspires me, as well. Nights are long and silent in the longing that we both know, but we stitch and mend and begin again each day. Sister in spirit, I think our guys are pretty amazed with us, even on the other side of the veil. So much love heading your way. ❤ ❤ ❤


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