North Carolina painter uses her brush to inspire

American Hero

(NewsNation) — A loved one and a cancer diagnosis. It’s an experience one hopes they’ll never have to go through.

But for Laura Sexton of North Carolina, the reality of her father’s brain tumor brought not only a mix of emotions but a cathartic burst of creativity as well.

“He was diagnosed in August of 2021 when he fell and broke his hip. While in the hospital he got COVID,” Sexton told NewsNation affiliate WJZY. “So he was getting radiation, chemo, and COVID at the same time … and it was really stressful.”

It was during his journey through cancer therapy that Sexton drew upon her artistic talents as a means of healing.

She took photographs “to remember the moments.” And from those photographs painted a series of images depicting her father’s battle with cancer.

Going through a health crisis isn’t always a pretty picture, but as Sexton shows, there’s an art to preserving fleeting memories, especially in unsure times.

A predominantly self-taught artist, Sexton uses bold strokes and vivid acrylic paints in her pieces. 

Using color, shadow and light, she seeks to display the intensity of the underlying emotion in the seemingly simple moments.

Sexton says her art shines a light on everyday people, uplifts unsung heroes and promotes self-acceptance and growth.

Sexton has painted landscapes, flowers, animals and even a series of portraits of teachers wearing their COVID-19 masks.

A “visual representation of teachers’ ability to shift paradigms, to morph our instruction and in a way our identities at a moment’s notice,” she writes on her website.

Sexton sees her art as a vehicle for connecting and empowering others to growShe hopes the pieces give solace to other families going through similar circumstances.

“I want people who are in that dark place where they think they’re about to lose someone to see the process represented,” she told WJZY.

Her paintings in the “Patient Care” series are on display at the Arts Council of Fayetteville, North Carolina, through May 21.

Watch the full interview with Laura Sexton in the video player at the top of the page.

NewsNation affiliate WJZY contributed to this report.

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