Paintings for Pain - CRPS Fundraiser


The Paintings for Pain project/fundraiser pairs six artists with individuals from the CRPS community to create paintings based on their experiences. In the first-of-its-kind event for RSDSA, the paintings will be shown on September 7, 2013 at the VisArts Gallery in Rockville, MD. The finished paintings will be donated to selected hospitals and treatment centers around the globe who specialize in care for individuals with CRPS.

I was honored to be invited to participate in this project and was paired with a teen who acquired Complex Regional Pain Syndrome after an injury. After the fundraising event, my painting There Are Days will become part of the Arts in Health collection at Monash Medical Centre in Victoria, Australia.

I named the painting “There Are Days” and tried to depict through abstraction good and bad days that a CRPS patient goes through. Paired with a teen girl, I talked with her about her CRPS journey and used numbers in the piece to represent a 10-point pain scale. I tried to imagine myself in her shoes: living with chronic pain, times when the pain feels off the scale, and times when the pain lessens in intensity. The words in the painting are free flowing and represent daily thoughts or maybe a personal diary someone dealing with chronic pain might keep. They also symbolize the telling and re-telling of a patient’s story to doctors, physical therapists, nurses, or other healthcare providers as he or she keeps trying to find answers.

The two red-orange stripes in the lower half of the painting represent the stilts that started this whole journey for the patient. She had mentioned that having an orange awareness ribbon in the piece would have special significance to her, so I included it in a non-traditional way and invite the viewer to imagine that the solid red-orange stripe through the middle of the work is the top loop of the ribbon and that the stilts are now actually the tails of the ribbon having crossed behind the canvas to return to the front of the painting like they are hugging it. By presenting the ribbon lying flat like this, I wanted it to be the road the patient or anyone else with a chronic pain disorder has to travel to advocate for the best possible care, strive for and enjoy good days, and keep on keeping on when things get tough. I also wanted it to stand for the embrace of supportive family and friends, and even the global family of people with CRPS throughout the world. 
There Are Days - 48 x 60 Inches - Acrylic and Charcoal on Canvas