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  • Writer's pictureAlan Linquist

The Best and Worst of Times

I see I skipped the June entry in this blog. Well, it's been a very trying period. What made it so bad was that my cancer returned in a big way. Not long after the May blogpost, my doctor had some bad news and it did not look promising at all. At the time, I started a painting of a view from our downtown area. It was an early morning view, and I painted it over several sunny early mornings in May with the doctor's rather grim prognostication hanging over my head and borrowing deep into my heart. It was a very hard painting to finish, but with this pain in my heart, I did it..

By the end of May, I decided that come hell or high water, I would continue to paint as long as I could, however long that would be. I took as much time as I could to hunt for a number of locations to paint. My process is not to paint a small painting in one day. Instead, I prefer to work overtime on larger paintings. By early June, I had six that I was working on in various stages of uncompletion. A few were from last year, and the rest I started at this time.

In late May, I went through a heavy regimen of radiation while I continued to paint. Radiation did some damage to the main tumor, but otherwise, I had no real side effects. I continued to paint. I finished the downtown painting at that time and started another at the south end of our downtown. I also started working in the parks, and a few house paintings, a la Hopper only larger and in bigger groups. One of those is a view from the hill side of a subdivision that looks over the houses to the distance. Another is a row of several houses near the high school.

By the latter part of June, I started chemotherapy. Again, I didn't experience much in the way of side effects, so the painting continued. We have had a rather cloudy/rainy period of time, making it difficult to paint consistently, so in between doctor appointments, I started a cloudy weather painting. I was going to work on that one today, but it seems to have cleared up and I will be taking off to paint in the sunshine as soon as this post is done.

Surprisingly, my tumor has shunk a lot. This also rather surprises my doctor. So did my lack of side effects, although my hair did started to fall out two weeks after my first chemo treatment. I had it cut into a buzz once that happened, but the hair is falling out slowly enough that it's starting to grow back in places, making my scalp look patchy. I now wear a hat wherever I go, espeically when I paint.

In time for my second chemo treatment, I have planned another painting with a group of houses. As for my second treatment, it was a heavier dose and it gives me the hiccups. But the sun is out. So are the big, poofy clouds, and I intend to keep painting. Despite the near tragedy of the medical situation, this is turning out to be the most prolific year for painting that I've ever had. I guess ometimes we just need to defy the limits of our lives and do whatever has to be done just to keep painting.

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