Darra Keeton

Artist Statement
Four years ago I thought my life was over as an artist. I was diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease and for the following year I put off conventional medications while attempting to manage my rapidly deteriorating health with alternative programs. In a matter of months, it became painful to do any simple movement - sit, walk, turn over in bed, eat, dress. Going out to dinner, shopping, bathing, and even sitting at a desk to watercolor for more than 10 minutes was exhausting, physically and mentally. My job, formerly a great source of satisfaction, became an exhausting chore. I couldn't paint—or garden, or cook or swim or dance, all causes of despair—and I stopped visiting galleries, museums, and other artist's studios. The way I make art now has been transformed: pre-PD, my studio sessions were angst ridden, doubt-filled; they were battles in which I ususally lost any chance of being Important in Art History, let alone Having a Career. I now operate fully connected to the process—not the outcome—with gratitude, curiosity and passion, burnished by clarity and sense of purpose. I know I would not be at this point without Parkinson's. It makes an interesting question to ponder late at night: would you trade your deeper knowledge / physical suffering for ignorance/health?