‘Sketching’ helps recovery, launches art career
Recovering from a breast cancer diagnosis and surgery in 2006, Dawn Nielson started sketching at her home in Stevenson, Washington. Those early drawings led to her development as an artist whose work is on display on Dawn’s website.
“I could wallow in it or I make the best of it,” Dawn recalls of her recovery from bi-lateral mastectomy and reconstructive surgery. “Drawing and painting was a way of distracting myself. It was a way of coping with the confusion of ‘where else is the cancer in my body?’ Visual art-making is an amazing powerful form of nonverbal expression.”
Celebrating 10 years cancer free, in 2016 Dawn held an art show at Legacy Good Samaritan Medical Center, the hospital in which she was treated by Nathalie Johnson, M.D.
, medical director of Legacy Cancer Institute.
The show, which we featured here
, “Perspective: one woman’s relationship with her imperfect self,” is a series of large-scale encaustic wax pieces that reflect her journey as a breast cancer survivor. The same series is on display in 2017 and as part of her body of work.
“This is how I felt,” she says of the art, “this is what came out of me.”
However, in talking with people who view the work, Dawn always finds it fascinating how they react. “People get to see in it what they feel. They see all kinds of things,” she says. “Which makes the work more meaningful.”
Keep up with Dawn on Instagram @dawnmarienielson
Media inquiries: Megan Deisler