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Healing Through Creative Arts

Breast cancer survivors use different avenues to deal with their diagnosis. There are those that find creative paths to channel their energy as a way of ‘healing’ for their soul. Some women discover journaling as an outlet to write their thoughts. Others create quilts, sculptures, write music, or take classes in photography to start a new hobby. A diagnosis of breast cancer is a soul-searching journey for most survivors that include artistic healing. One of the most popular forms of artistic healing is painting art. It has a way of pulling what’s inside you ‘out’. It is a state of vulnerability for the artist. The viewer can read the soul of the survivor.

No one knows this more than Mary Carroll Moore. Mary is a writer, a teacher and an artist. She writes a food column for the nationally distributed Los Angeles Times Syndicate and has been featured in many other publications such as American Artist, Health, Prevention, The Boston Globe, and the Los Angeles Times. Since 1975, Mary has taught writing workshops and classes in the U.S., Australia, and Europe. She has been part of Hopkins Art Center (Minneapolis) Author-of-the-Month program, Borders Bookstore and Barnes & Noble's visiting author programs, and women's and business seminars at corporations such as Honeywell. She currently teaches fiction and creative nonfiction writing classes and workshops at the Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis, one of the oldest writing schools in the U.S.

Do something creative with your energy.

She is also a breast cancer survivor - a survivor who uses her art as a way of healing from breast cancer. “After my chemotherapy, I was so happy to be alive and healing. But the months went by and I noticed that I had much healing to do still on the inside. A friend encouraged me to look at what I loved most in my life, especially things I had put aside for lack of time. I made a list of 25 things I loved, and "art" came up over and over. I had been a painting student in college but put art aside for more practical things. A painting friend introduced me to pastels, encouraging me to just play with the colors, and I was hooked. I remembered why I loved art so much! As I began to paint regularly, the inner parts of myself that had been damaged by the cancer--my trust, hope, and joy in life--began to heal too."

“Although I minored in painting in college and studied with different teachers, it wasn't until 1999, when I began studying pastel painting, that I really understood the power of color and light. I became a student of full-color seeing, attending classes with teacher and artist Susan Sarback at The School of Light and Color in Fair Oaks, California."

"I work on a special kind of pastel paper that allows me to build up many layers of color, to create a glow of light coming from within the painting. My paintings are done from still-life set-ups in my studio or landscapes en plein air; I find the color truer than working from photographs."

Mary’s artwork has been in many shows in the U.S., both group and individual exhibits, and several paintings have won awards.

There are many creative outlets for breast cancer survivors. Art is only one. The point is to choose one. Do something creative with your energy. “Besides art, I sing in a small vocal group and write short stories. I'm even working on a novel! The arts--all of them--are just one outlet for healing after cancer. The most important thing is to find what you love and make sure there's time and space in your life to do it. This is what heals us the most.

To visit Mary’s website and/or to view her paintings, click here or visit