Action Hero Survivors  :  Jean Murr, Artist

There are definite bumps in the road of life, and three years ago this month, I stepped into the brutal world of cancer. I was a healthy 55 year old, with a very busy life and was diagnosed with Ovarian Cancer.

My life slowed to a crawl but with this horrible disease came the gift of time.  I pulled out the paints and brushes that had been squirreled away years before and started to paint.  I was painting abstracts, I was using watercolor, a media that was totally new to me, and I was in the company of an old friend, my oil paints.  Painting became my therapy or my lifeline to recovery.  I had work to do and art to create.  I dreamed of finishing my chemo and running off to a sunny beach where I could paint and continue to get well and fall back in love with life.  I painted in Mexico, on decks in the mountains of Colorado, at the beach, at home on the dining room table and anywhere that an idea hit me.

One of my favorite paintings is entitled “Cleansing Dream”.  It is a representation of a fabulous dream I had during my third series of chemo.  I dreamed that, like a whirl pool, my cancer was being sucked out of my body in a swirling motion, and just as I was reveling in this sight, the whirlpool changed directions and faces of friends and family started swirling towards me reminding me of all the support and love I had.  I felt cleansed that next morning, new, and cancer free.

I still revisit the cancer world, I step in and step back out with memories, or visits to the oncologist’s office for rechecks.  I know how lucky I am to be painting and creating and using this gift I was given.  Everyday, especially after working on a painting or journal, I am more convinced than ever that this is a lifeline to a healthy life and is extremely healing for me.

Life is a fabulous gift but it is too short. I have survived this challenging bout with ovarian cancer, and won. I personally learned two important things; that from the bad comes the best of blessings and that art must be the focus of my endeavors. I am grateful for all the beauty and love around me and through my paintings, cards, journals, and books I feel full of purpose and know that I’ve captured a bit of life in a piece of art.  I am certain that I will be painting for a long time to come.

Visit my web site at to view my paintings and read my blog.

news image strip