Posted on December 31, 2015 · Posted in Blog

What a beautiful way to end the year. On New Year’s Eve, Artist Beti Kristof and I painted her friend, Gail, from the shoulders up, in celebration of the healing power of art and the imminent new year.

 

ADCook, Gail, Beti Kristof 123115

Artists A.D. Cook and Beti Kristof with Gail.

Our friend, Gail Galantuomini, O.D., at Red Rock Eye Care, has been going through the chemotherapy procedures for a while now and has finally got to the point where hair loss was part of the process. Seems as though we have a few friends that have traveled this path – too many really. And, it’s never easy. not for them and not for those around them. Truthfully, it’s hard to see people you care about go though these tribulations in life. After all, life is hard enough already.

Beti Kristof Painting Gail 123115

Beti paints her beautiful scroll art.

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Our “ready” canvas… Gail.

That’s why I believe in the healing power of art. Beti, too. We both do. We know because we’ve seen it before.

The healing power of art is contagious — not only for the person who gets painted, but for the entire family and friends who share in the experience… and in truth, for the artist(s) as well. It reminds us all why we are grateful for each day, and for the love of those around us.

Taking time to celebrate life and share memorable time, greats laughs and a little red with the people you care about is important. It’s everything. It’s about the family you choose and getting through this thing we call life together, one day at a time.

Art is fun. That’s part of what makes it healing. Fun is healing. Laughter, too, I believe. So, if laughter is the best medicine, art is a close second – then wine*. Maybe I should qualify, because I am definitely not doctor. This is just my theory. And I’m sticking with it. Laughter. Art. Wine.

A.D. Cook painting Gail's head, Las Vegas, NV 123115

A.D. painting – artist at work.

“Painting in itself can be healing, but painting my friends saved head is a powerful cathartic experience. The emotions, the awe, the reverence and respect… the love that filled the room full of friends and family, the laughter and the surprise Gail shared when she saw what we painted for the first time in the mirror… released a moment of pure joy!

Gail's head art - with Beti - 123115

Purrrfect. Gail and Beti.

WE all were completely in the moment and the thoughts of the weeks before, the trials and pain she was feeling when we first arrived… were all released in laughter, tears and joy.

When you said you felt so beautiful, when you looked in the mirror and described how uplifting the experience was…I just had to think that within you there is an amazing strength to pull yourself through all the challenging days, the not so pleasant times…but, beautiful you always are.

Thank you for inviting us in  for this amazing experience of human kindness and sharing in our joys and love.”

 

— Beti Kristof

I feel that there is nothing more truly artistic than to love people.

— Vincent Van Gogh

Gail's Head painted by A.D. Cook and Beti Kristof, Las Vegas, NV 123115

The finished leopard by A.D. Cook and Beti Kristof. Gail is checking out the front (Beti’s creation).

So, with that in mind we created a plan. Gail is an Optometrist, so I thought “eyes” – we had to do something with eyes. Beti loves animals so eyes quickly became animal eyes and we decided to paint a spirit animal as reflection of Gail’s powerful approach to tackling this whole cancer battle… and what would be more fun than painting a Leopard’s face on the back of Gail’s head.

Art is fun. That’s part of what makes it healing. Fun is healing. Laughter, too, I believe.

— A.D. Cook

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Gail’s first look at the finished art.

As we arrived, Las Vegas’ own Make Up Artist, Elaine Goodlad, was just wrapping up Gail’s eyes. A few of Gail’s friend were there in support. I didn’t take long for us to set up and get started. Naturally, projects of this caliber require appropriate tools, so I was presented with a fantastic glass of red to get me started 🙂

Gail Head Painted with AD. Cook - MirrorShot-123115

All finished… I snapped a few pics of the finished artwork and Gail’s beautiful eyes (adorned by makeup artist Elaine Goodlad). Behind me is Gail’s father, Robert.

And all beautiful scroll designs on the front are all Beti. The bling bling, too. Beautiful work, Dahlin’.

These projects are a blast! Thank you, Gail, for including us.

Cheers to life!

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CREDITS

Gail Galantuomini, warrior goddess

A.D. Cook, artist     |     Beti Kristof, artist     |     Elaine Goodlad, makeup artist

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Some readers may recall my Blog post from March 4th, 2015 > Zest of Life, where Beti and I traveled to the Cancer Treatment Centers of America in Goodyear, Arizona, to visit her friend Melonie Lesh. If you missed it, you can read it here: > Zest of Life.

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THE THINGS WE DO FOR LOVE     |     BODY ART PHENOMENA     |     IT AIN’T CHEMO