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Woman's Art, Selected for Calendar, Source of Strength in Parkinson's Fight

By Zachary K. Johnson
Record Staff Writer

STOCKTON - The paintings hanging throughout Cindy DeLuz's home are as bright, colorful and whimsical as DeLuz, herself, especially when she's talking about the joy she derives from her art.

DeLuz creates her mixed-media paintings and collage work in her Stockton home office, a tidy work space with neat rows of colored paints, a computer and an autographed photo of Michael J. Fox.

That's her hero, she said. "I just love his positive attitude."

That's one thing DeLuz, 50, has in common with the Hollywood actor. They also both have Parkinson's disease.

For DeLuz, it was her diagnosis that led her to painting for the first time in her life at age 47.

"Oh my gosh, it's been my recipe for lemonade," she said, referring to the diagnosis as the lemons. "The art is a big piece of trying to find purpose and meaning behind the disease. A day doesn't go by when I don't paint."

And for the third year in a row, one of her paintings will appear in the Parkinson's Disease Foundation calendar, which is distributed to more than 20,000 people throughout the country. The calendar represents works from the more than 270 artists taking part in the foundation's "Creativity and Parkinson's Project," which explores and encourages the therapeutic value of creative expressions by those with the disease.

The foundation has commissioned her to create other works of art, too.

Parkinson's disease is a progressive neurological disorder that affects 1 million Americans, according to the foundation, and it has no cure.

Before DeLuz was diagnosed, she noticed slower movement in her right hand. She thought it might be carpal-tunnel syndrome. Then she learned it was Parkinson's.

"At first, you're in shock. You're scared to death." She felt isolated and alone, but that changed when she started poking around on the Internet. Her searches led her to the foundation and to stories about other people with the disease.

The disease has changed her life, but not all of it has been bad, she said. "There's a richness that comes if you stop running from it, and you embrace it."

She has taught art in support groups and has gotten over a phobia of public speaking to talk to large groups of people about the disease. And she has made some money selling her art, but she admits she ends up giving a lot away. "For me, it's about sending a message of inspiration."

Words and phrases to that effect pepper some of her paintings.

She also paints something she calls "parkie art." When the symptoms hit hardest, she'll still paint, making pictures that are a little fuzzier than others.

Walking long distances could be tough because of the disease, but DeLuz has a bicycle she customized with paintings of red flowers and words, like "cure," "hope" and "laugh." She's named the bike "Petal."

With the bike, she can jet around the neighborhood with husband Terry and their dogs.

One, a Lhasa apso puppy, is named Mikey.

When he misbehaves DeLuz calls him by his full name: Michael J. Fox.

Contact reporter Zachary K. Johnson at (209) 546-8258 or zjohnson@recordnet.com. Visit his blog at recordnet.com/johnsonblog.

On the web

Art by Cindy DeLuz can be found on her website, cindydeluz.com. For more information about the Parkinson's Disease Foundation, visit pdf.org.


Cindy DeLuz is featured in the 2011 PDF Creativity & Parkinson's Calendar and on our website. Use the links below to browse her works and order your own free calendar.

Browse Cindy's Artwork

Order the 2011 Calendar

Source Date: Jan 05 2011
Source Publication: The Record
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