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Participant Information

Marie Hagen

City:
Washington
State:
DC
Country:
USA
Essay:

The ability to create paintings and photographs using digital, rather than traditional, means is something I might never have discovered had PD not forced me to look for alternate means of expression. The result has been an incredibly satisfying personal renaissance, a rebirth.

I always considered myself to be an artist, but ultimately chose another career path. Several years after my PD diagnosis, my overall condition deteriorated to the point where I was no longer able to practice law at the intense level my practice demanded, and I accepted a disability retirement.

Having limited fine motor skills, I did not believe I could return to art, but I could expand on my life-long love of photography. I moved from film to digital, taught myself to use Adobe Photoshop, and discovered that I could create traditional fine arts images on my computer. I added a top-quality printer to my studio and began creating images almost around the clock.

Although PD "forced my hand" as to the medium, when I show or exhibit my work, I do not mention my PD. I am an artist, not a disabled artist. By interfering with my legal career, PD has given me the time to devote to my art. The ability to express myself through my art frees me from dwelling on the negatives in my life - like PD - and helps me live life the way I choose.

My PD is so well-managed (thanks to my doctors at Hopkins!) that I have been able to return to the practice of law (part-time) and to oil painting. Although the lack of fine motor skills makes both more challenging, I am adapting. I work with oils and oil pastels, often using pastel over paint to add detail. My ďminimalist landscapesĒ are inspired by places Iíve visited throughout my life, particularly the beauty of the counties of Northern Ireland.