Ultra Sounds Mondays, May 7, 2012

Welcome back after a quiet week.

Over the last few months I have had the pleasure of getting to “know” the wonderful Viola Moriarty online. I am delighted, thus, today to present some of her work for today’s submission. This will be our first mixed-media submission and is part of Viola’s “Barbie gets cancer” series. You will never look at Barbie the same way again. Click   to read more about this series. Click to visit Viola’s website.



Here’s what Viola has to say about herself:

I  painted my first painting almost 10 years ago, and knew as I felt brush and paint on canvas that I would change everything to paint.  And I did. 

 In 2007 I was diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer, had partial mastectomy and 18 lymph nodes removed, targeted radiation and 6 rounds of kick ass chemo, followed by tamoxifen.

Last August I was diagnosed with Stage 4 metastatic breast cancer with metastesis around all my organs, the CNS, and many large and small brain tumors.  Had full brain radiation for three weeks followed by a lot of vomiting (lost 50 pounds in two months–good thing I had the extra to lose!), then femara and now fasolodex shots.  The treatments have been working and right now I’m doing great.  
My greatest love—even more than painting–is my family.  I have two amazing daughters:  Anna Moriarty Lev () and Phoebe Moriarty Lev ().  And I’m married to their father and the love of my life, Jon Lev.  Henry and Dulcinea are our two cats.  We live in Vermont, though I am from Denver, Colorado
And here is what Viola had to say about the “Barbie” series:
The barbies  are from the Barbie Gets Cancer section of the ExVoto Suscepto Exhibit which traveled to several venues in 2009, including a presentation at Stowe Weekend of Hope in Vermont, Southern Vermont College, and the Southwestern Vermont Cancer Center.  They were part of my response to my first diagnosis in 2007.  I’m now working on Full Brain radiation Barbie, Fasolodex Barbie, Brain Met Barbie ….along with a series of paintings called “live your life, my onclogist says”.  

No matter what I envisioned when I played with those dolls (just as I’m sure Ruth Handler had no idea about her future when she invented them) I never once saw myself as growing up to get cancer.  
Tamoxifen Barbie, 2008:
Radiation Barbie, mixed media on board, 2008:
Dexamethasone Barbie, mixed media, 2008:

A new treasure


Have a look at the website of poet . His poetry about his experience with lymphoma resonates for me and is worth checking out. He has an upcoming book being published called  and you can read excerpts on his site.


Also, I’ve stumbled across a new cancer art show in Oklahoma that is accepting registration until June 1.

Here is the link:  


May you have a poetic day.



Ultra Sounds Monday, April 23, 2012

I hope you are having a wonderful Monday.

Today I present you with our first ever painting here on Ultra Sounds.  I am so pleased that it comes from Cid Palacio, the founder of ART for Cancer Foundation in Toronto. Cid was the one to invite me to the art workshop where I created my oeuvre (or is that hors d’oeuvre).

I find this painting extraordinary and haunting. It resonates with me both as the daughter of a cancer patient and as a patient myself. I will let Cid describe it to you in her own words.




I created this piece around my experience as a caregiver to my parents and their cancer journey.

They climbed a steep mountain and in my mother’s case a series of steep mountains.

While they were climbing, they did not always see the summit, but knew they had to keep on climbing and have hope and faith that reaching the summit would free them from pain.

While they were climbing, they knew that they were not alone, there were many others on that same journey, and yet they also knew that this was a journey where each step only they could take, as their loved ones and friends supported them from the side lines.

Cid Palacio

Founder of the 

…where Heart connects with Art for Creativity and Hope


Publication, Publicity, Art and Riding for a cure

Hi all,

I have so much to share today to catch you up. Be sure to read all the way through!

I will start by shamelessly promoting my own work. If you visit the current issue of  you will find an article I wrote about Marianne Moroney, hot dog lady extraordinaire. Marianne submitted a beautiful piece to Ultra Sounds a few months ago about what it was like to serve up food to cancer patients in Toronto.


A while back I  wrote a posting about , a journalist from Washington, D.C. who does very funny cancer cartoons. Recently Amy was featured on a TV interview in Washington promoting her book “Cancer is SO FUNNY”. You can watch her .


If you were inspired by the artistic masterpiece that I shared with you a few months ago and you live in the Toronto area, there is an upcoming workshop with the on April 23.

ART for Cancer Foundation workshop


There are some competition deadlines approaching:

- The in Australia are open to everyone and there are prizes in a variety of mediums. These submissions are due April 27.

- The t submissions are due April 30.

- Registration for the is due by April 30 (although submissions are not due until June 29).


Last, but not least, I have a good friend who is participating in a fundraiser for Princess Margaret Hospital – my home away from home. Here is his letter. If you would like to sponsor him, know that you are supporting a tremendous hospital that plays a central role in the lives of thousands of Canadians.

Paul writes:

Hi Everybody,

Again this year I am doing the Ride to Conquer Cancer. To catch you up, this is a 200K bike ride over a 2 day period from Toronto to Niagara Falls in support of treatment and research at Princess Margaret Hospital in Toronto.  Last year 4700 riders participated and raised a new record high for a single event of 17 million dollars. I personally raised $6500.
I am now approaching my fifth year since diagnosis and fourth year since the stem cell transplant. I believe that many factors have contributed to my recovery but the biggest factor was the treatment I had at PMH. Ten years ago I may not have been so lucky. While I also believe that not nearly enough is being done to address the causes of cancer, places like PMH are finding miraculous ways to extend peoples lives and help them live with cancer with a reasonable quality of life.
The ride gives me motivation to train and stay fit which is a highly recommended way to stave off any reoccurrence. It also makes me feel like I’m giving something back to the place that has essentially saved my life. If this is a cause that resonates with you please help out with any amount you can by clicking the link below and going to my donation page. Thank-you so much in advance!
Paul Shilton


The Lady In Blue by Jyne Greenley – from the ART For Cancer Foundation art show



I was able to attend the ART for Cancer Foundation art show opening last Friday night at Toronto City Hall. It was very exciting to see my painting framed and the accompanying poem in print. Sadly I did not get a picture for you all to see.

Taken as a whole there was a tremendous body of work there. The stories represented at the show were powerful and often sad. At the same time, each of them had a component of joy as expressed through the art work. People who had never done anything creative found that they had an unexpected creative muse lying in wait. Others who had already been creating found tremendous comfort and healing from continuing with their efforts.

Walking through and breathing in these stories was an intense experience, but, I also felt, a hopeful one. As if the power of the art could transcend the illness.

The has many new workshops and events coming up. Do go and check out their site.



A creative family

Some families seem to have a concentration of creativity. I have stumbled upon a wonderfully creative family who excel in a multitude of ways. Yet each of them has carved out her own style of writing and art that is distinct from the others.    I have truly enjoyed gazing at and reading their work and eking out the bits of their story that they are generous enough to reveal on their sites.

Viola Moriarty is an artist and poet with metastatic breast cancer. Her work stands alone as incredibly beautiful, but seeing glimpses of her story, makes looking at her work an especially poignant experience. You can find her amazing art work and poetry

One daughter, Anna Moriarty Lev is a writer,artist and cartoonist who has written some sharp and touching cancer cartoons based on her mother’s illness. You can see her cartoons and other work  .

Then there is a second daughter, Phoebe, who is also a writer and  artist (and farmer, I think). View her blog

I came away from viewing these sites feeling as if I had just had an afternoon visit with a lovely group of kindred spirits, perhaps over something yummy to eat. I bet they cook too. Grab yourself a cup of tea and go for a visit.


I just discovered a beautiful organization called

I will let them speak for themselves:

PhotoSensitive was founded in 1990 as a non-profit collective of photographers determined to explore how photography can contribute to social justice. Their idea was to bring together the photographic talents of a number of Toronto-based professional photographers, to harness the power of the camera to achieve social goals. Each photographer would bring his or her own vision to the subject; the sum of these visions would provide a compelling social comment.

The subject matter of their projects ranges from homelessness to child poverty. From HIV/Aids to Rwanda. They have two cancer-related projects: Cancer Connections and TIEd together (prostate cancer project). Their talented photographers build stories with their pictures, use their pictures to comment on issues and also to encourage the viewers to take action.

Their gallery contains an incredible collection of photographs which I encourage you to .


Monday morning found me in the top floor of a little art school in Toronto. My apron was on, brush was in hand ready to paint with acrylics for the first time in my life. Around me were seven other participants ranging from a woman of 22 to a woman with 23 grandchildren and 2 great grandchildren. All of them were cancer survivors or, as one woman described herself, a cancer warrior.

We were introduced to some basic painting techniques and given time to play. We started with black and white, which was a fun challenge. I created a painting called “The Black Hole”. Through this painting I meant to evoke the feelings I have sometimes in the waiting rooms at the chemo unit.

Then we were given the chance to play with colour. Oh how fun to mix colours to try to find that perfect shade of green or orange. And how fun to work with paints that you can slather on with a palette to create great textures and layers of shading.

Here is a picture of my oeuvre.  I call it “From my canoe” What it lacks in talent, it makes up for in energy and quantity of paint used.


Here is a link to a video that was made at the workshop if you want to see some of the other art work created.


Check out the Art for Cancer Foundation website for information about upcoming workshops 

and don’t forget about the exhibition at Toronto City Hall on February 17 – 24. You will see my masterpiece hanging there.

Hi all,

Happy Saturday!

I am going to attend my very first art workshop on January 23 with the Art for Cancer Foundation. They are offering a workshop called “Creating From Within” in Toronto. You can find out more about this organization and the workshop here: 

I haven’t taken any kind of art course or workshop since I was forced to take grade 10 art with a witchy teacher who basically told me I had no talent. I look forward to sharing my experience with you all and telling you more about the organization at that time.  In the meantime,  I’m just squirming with delight to think about creating something with my own hands.

Enjoy your weekend.