Sandra Woods
Art despite pain

In the news

(posted on 21 Apr 2024)

This post is to say Thank You. To you, for stopping by! To the McGill Community for Lifelong Learning (MCLL), housed within the School of Continuing Studies of McGill  University, for presenting my solo show this semester.
"Watercolours on Two Wheels" opened this past Monday, in The Lounge, and continues through June 21, 2024.
And I'd also like to say thank you for highlighting this show in the Spring edition of the MCLL News.
From the Exhibition Introduction:
"In 2016 I developed CRPS, a rare autoimmune and neuroinflammatory disease with execrable pain and many other symptoms.
CRPS caused my Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) in late 2018.
A lifetime art lover, I began learning to paint and sketch in 2021; as DIY neuroplasticity training for my MCI, and movement therapy for my CRPS-affected right hand/arm.
Watercolours touched my soul.
My Art Despite Pain initiative soon began, using my artwork to raise awareness of chronic pain.
With art added to my 'exercise + nature' pain-management tools, I carry watercolour or sketching supplies in a back- or bike-pack.
I adore painting en plein-air (outdoors), when my symptoms necessitate rest stops while cycling; watercolours dry quickly, pack easily.
These scenes are from my rides on Montreal Island, often in nature parks."

Most of all, on his birthday today, I give thanks to my dad. He left us last July, but will be with me always...
It's from him that I got my love of nature and of outdoor sports, as he took me canoeing, cross-country skiing, cycling, hiking, and more as a young child. And he taught me the endurance I need to keep doing these kinds of activities after I developed two different rare diseases.
What we call resilience now, is what he taught me then.
Best of all, his awe and wonder on seeing wild creatures and wild spaces - even in urban areas - never waned. He was the first person I'd call after seeing a wild animal on one of my bike rides, hikes, or snowshoeing treks; deer, egret, fox, hawk, heron, owl, snake, turkey, turtle... it didn't matter which it was, he'd be as excited as I was to know that these creatures were so close to us.
So thanks, dad, for teaching me to see the beauty of the natural world around us; to stop to appreciate it, and to share that wonder with others.
That was, after all, the inspiration for "Watercolours on Two Wheels"; the stunning moments of nature that I get to see while biking around Montréal Island.