2010, acrylic, 33.5 x 50", by Jenny Badger Sultan
In June, 2009, on a trip to Calistoga, I saw and photographed an amazing ivy vine twisting and turning up the trunk of a slender palm tree It was very visceral--undulating and fascinating.
Ten days later an intense abdominal pain sent me to the ER.
An intestinal blockage was diagnosed, and I had emergency surgery to remove a tumor in my small intestine. It turned out to be lymphoma, so after healing from my open wound, I began a course of 6 rounds of chemotherapy.
Right at this time my grandson was born, so it was a time of heightened feelings, both emotional and physical--a lot of joy and a lot of difficulty.
When I had recovered enough to begin painting, I thought back to the photograph of the ivy vine. The forms reminded me of innards so I used them for the basic structure of the painting.
Then I began to see human figures flowing and intertwining. In the center the new baby appeared--a source of light and joy. He is supported by his parents and all around are other family members, myself newly bald (due to chemotherapy), Hank, my son and his fiancee, my brother and his wife, my brother-and sister-in-law. Then the dead ancestors came in, my father and mother, my grandmother.
The large luminous face coming from behind is the spirit which sustains me.
This became a painting for healing, for honoring the connections and support of my dear ones during this difficult time.