Thirteen of Utah's renowned women artists join together to create original works of art to celebrate the hope, strength and courage of those impacted by breast cancer. Each artist shares the inspiration behind her painting — ranging from the loss of a loved one to the courage of those who survived.
Watch their heart-warming video to listen to their stories and see how this community of survivors, caregivers, family members, friends, and neighbors comes together to support those fighting breast cancer.
"My grandmother died of it. My aunt died of it. My mother was diagnosed a week after her best friends and sister died of it. She's 17 years out. When you're losing your hair, and you feel horrible and you're vomiting all the time, it's nice to have pretty shoes. What I felt she got from it was the relationships she built with women who had been through it before her and what she could give women who had gone through it after her. Because you don't know what you're getting into and there is a huge realm of emotion that goes along with having cancer of any kind."
- Deborah Hake Brinckerhoff
Toward the Sun
"The reason I chose sunflowers is because it's so resilient. You don't really have to seed them; they just come back every year all over your garden. It turns toward the sun and has that upward spiritual feeling to it. And it gives you a lot of energy. When people see this, it will bring them joy, happiness, and courage like the sunflowers."
- Cassandria W Parsons
"My father had cancer of the stomach. And my former mother-in-law had breast cancer. I just thought about strength and having to overcome, and what challenges they went through. So in my painting, I have put a monarch butterfly in it to represent strength. I just want to say: We do have strength, a hidden strength, that if we're faced with cancer, we can overcome it."
"I do have a special relationship with cancer. My sister passed away from breast cancer. I know the things she struggled most with was feeling feminine. She had a mastectomy, and any woman considers her breasts part of her femininity, and to have them removed, I think, was a real slam to her. She felt like she didn't know who she was anymore. For me, the idea of painting was to paint her strength. Her beauty. So this isn't really a portrait of my sister, the qualities are there."
Angel with Pink Peonies
"The only thing that I knew I wanted to somehow utilize in the painting was the color pink. Because I am familiar with the pink ribbons. I thought my favorite thing to paint that's pink are peonies flowers. I particularly put two blooms right where the bra or the breast would be. To me, a flower, especially a summer time, spring time flower, represents regeneration of life. I would hope that someone looking at this painting can see themselves as a caregiver if that's their role. Or they can see themselves as a patient and the strength that comes from them for being that close to the edge and by receiving all this light and care."
-Lee Udall Bennion
There Is a Light and It Never Goes Out
This summer I lost a good friend to breast cancer. She was young and amazing and left behind two little boys. Her light went out too soon. In my painting I have a scene of a birthday, and the candles represent the lights still burning and not going out. It's pretty much about light and awareness.
Wounds Given, Wounds Healed
I thought about the song from Sting called, "I was brought to my senses." In there is a line that says, talking about nature, "The wounds that nature gave me were the wounds that healed me." That's one of the things I wanted to express in my painting are some of the experiences that we had as parents as we had children that had cancer. Our children are great people because of the experiences they've gone through and are stronger because of those experiences.
-Sandy Freckleton Gagon
A Circle of Friends
My mom did have breast cancer three years ago. She is an older lady, and it was very difficult. There are so many people involved when someone has breast cancer — between the doctors and nurses and all of their people, and the neighbors, friends, and family. The thing that I like about quilting — not as a solitary pursuit but as a community thing, is that you get people together, and it's sociable; it's supportive; it's people communicating with each other, and it's a warm feeling. The things that are in my painting that are extraneous to the actual quilt are things that might bring comfort to someone.
-Lynn Farrar/Sophie Soprano
Lilies of Hope
I have a very good artist friend that I air paint with, and she's been fighting breast cancer for the past year. Also, one of my art students passed away several years ago of breast cancer, and it was right after she had her second child — so she was never even able to raise him. I have Easter lilies in there that stand for hope, and a pink ribbon. So I'm hoping that through this event it will create hope, and through the painting it will create some hope.
I think my overall inspiration is the idea of women having more medical control over their bodies. I think mammograms are the perfect example of that. I think it's a very uplifting piece. It has a lot of white; it's predominantly white and blue with a touch of the compliment of orange. I see a pulse, and it looks like a pulse line to me that connects lives and connects families. That's what I see when I look at it.
My inspiration is someone I know that has just been through a very very difficult time. It wasn't breast cancer, but it was something else that was very personal to her. I watched her come out of that in such an amazing, brilliant way; it impressed me more than anything I have seen in a long time. I hope they see beauty, strength, and courage that is in all women.
Portrait of Malala
In the painting of Malala, I express her interest in education because that is her main interest in life. She has become an icon for women, so I have admired this girl very much. For a long time, I have been wanting to paint her because I believe in art; I believe in education; I believe in human rights, and I believe in good healthcare for women. I like the beauty of Malala to show in the painting, and that inspires me.