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Meet Christine

It has been 28 years since Christine has seen colors. However, one would never know looking at her abstract paintings that are filled with a variety of colors—sometimes strong and vibrant, other times soft and warm or dark and cool.

Christine fell in love with art in the seventh grade, said her mom, Theresa. Christine wanted to share her love of art with others and decided to study art education at Frederick Community College and then Towson University. During the spring semester of 1989, her senior year of college, Christine suffered her second brain hemorrhage —the first one being when she was a senior in high school. Her mother said that doctors do not know what caused the hemorrhages or if there could be more in her future. The second hemorrhage was much more severe, leaving her in a coma for eight months. When Christine came out of the coma, she had lost her eyesight, speech and the use of her extremities on the right side.

During the next three years, Christine endured intense rehabilitation services. She learned sign language, Braille, how to speak in brief phrases, to do things with her left hand and arm and to walk with the assistance of a cane and braces, explains her mother. One thing Christine did not lose was her love of painting and the desire to do it. With the help of local artists and mentors, Christine began painting again. She now uses the colors and shadows she sees within, along with what she is feeling to create paintings. Using short phrases and assistance from her mother, Christine explains that when she stands near a window and the sun is shining bright she sees shades of blue. Christine is often plagued by headaches, so extreme that she categorizes them far beyond the 1 to 10-pain schedule indicating the pain is around 20. Sometimes Christine’s headaches cause violent bursts of color—reds and blacks—which she uses in her paintings.

The home that Christine shares with her parents is filled with her artwork—some as far back as from the seventh grade, while others are just a few months old. The bedroom once occupied by her younger sister when they were growing up is now Christine’s art studio. The room is filled with canvases, some empty, others awaiting final touches. Christine’s paintings can also be found in art galleries, local art shows and in buildings throughout Frederick.

Christine’s coordinator, Beth, helped connect her to resources, so she could continue her passion for art, as well as remain active in the community. When Christine is not painting, she likes walking around the track at the local YMCA and volunteering at Daybreak Adult Day Services, a place she attended during her own recovery.

While Christine’s path as an artist changed after her illness, she says she would not change things. Deeply rooted in her faith, Christine believes that everything happens for a reason and that God had a plan for her.