Tuesday, November 24, 2015


I recently donated artwork  for a coloring book which will be used to help young patients feel better about being in a hospital.  I believe that art does help healing and the following article supports that!

Cover Art for Outdoor Fun
Steven James Petruccio

ART DOES HEAL: Scientists say appreciating creative works can fight off disease.

Researchers from California University in Berkeley say studies show great nature and art boost the immune system
The healing power of art and nature could be real after scientists discovered they boost your immune system.
Seeing such spine-tingling wonders as the Grand Canyon and Sistine Chapel or listening to Schubert's Ave Maria can fight off disease, say scientists.
Great nature and art boost the immune system by lowering levels of chemicals that cause inflammation that can trigger diabetes, heart attacks and other illnesses.

In two separate experiments on more than 200 young adults reported on a given day the extent to which they had experienced such positive emotions as amusement, awe, compassion, contentment, joy, love and pride.

Samples of gum and cheek tissue - known as oral mucosal transudate - taken that same day showed those who experienced more of these - in particular wonder and amazement - had the lowest levels of the cytokine Interleukin 6 which is a marker of inflammation.
Psychologist Dr Dacher Keltner, of California University in Berkeley, said: "That awe, wonder and beauty promote healthier levels of cytokines suggests the things we do to experience these emotions - a walk in nature, losing oneself in music, beholding art - has a direct influence upon health and life expectancy."
Cytokines are chemicals necessary for herding cells to the body's battlegrounds to fight infection, disease and trauma but too many are linked with disorders like type-2 diabetes, heart disease, arthritis and even Alzheimer's.
Dr Jennifer Stellar, of Toronto University who was at California University in Berkeley when she carried out the study, said: "Our findings demonstrate positive emotions are associated with the markers of good health."
It has long been established a healthy diet and lots of sleep and exercise bolster the body's defenses  against physical and mental illnesses.But the study published in Emotion is one of the first to look at the role of positive emotions in that arsenal.
In addition to autoimmune diseases elevated cytokines have been tied to depression.
One recent study found depressed patients had higher levels of the pro-inflammatory cytokine known as TNF-alpha than their non-depressed counterparts.
It is believed by signaling the brain to produce inflammatory molecules cytokines can block key hormones and neurotransmitters - such as serotonin and dopamine - that control moods, appetite, sleep and memory.
Dr Stellar said: "Awe is associated with curiosity and a desire to explore which could counter inflammation where individuals typically withdraw from others in their environment."
As for which came first - the low cytokines or the positive feelings - it's "possible having lower cytokines makes people feel more positive emotions or the relationship is bi-directional.”


Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Great Article on ORMC art.

Sarah Johnson has gone to great lengths to ensure that the art for ORMC creates a healing environment.  With the support of  President & CEO Scott Batulis, the resulting hospital is amazing. Read all about it here:

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Monday, January 20, 2014

Pediatric Emergency Unit Dedication!

The new Pediatric Emergency Unit was dedicated today at ORMC.  The mural looks great in its permanent home.  Another artist, Ron Gee, told me that he saw a child looking at my mural and asked her mother if the animals were real!  Sarah Johnson, the art curator at ORMC did a great job bringing together artists working in a variety of media to create a visually appealing environment.  My mural at the entrance sets the tone for the unit and welcomes patients to the hospital.


Friday, January 17, 2014

Poughkeepsie Journal Article

I contacted  Barbara Gallo Farrell at the Poughkeepsie Journal  and told her about the mural.  She asked if I would write an article about my experience creating it so here's a link to that story...


Barbara is a great supporter of the arts in the Hudson Valley and I thank her for her interest in my work.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

The Fabled Forest Characters

The Fabled Forest is filled with flora and fauna native to the Hudson Valley in New York State.  Every detail was researched and painted accurately.  At the same time, I gave the animal characters a hint of personality according to the fables in which they appear.  In this time-lapse video I focus on a few trees and creatures to show you how much effort was devoted to each.  Everything in the mural is important to me so that when both children and adults see it they can find something of interest.

If you've been enjoying the videos and the mural, you can visit it at Orange Regional Medical Center in Middletown NY.  

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

A Fabled Forest Fable

The Owl and the Grasshopper is one of the better known Aesop's Fables. The Fabled Forest Mural is inhabited by characters from a variety of fables whom you will meet as you wander.