2012 MSAA Art Showcase Entrants
Mary E. Hetzel-Tingler – Hixson, TN
My name is Mary E. Hetzel-Tingler, and I was diagnosed with RRMS on Valentines Day 2006. I was 36 yrs old. My daughter was only 14 months old at the time, and I woke up one morning with the entire right side of my body numb, and the next day my left leg had no function. My world was turned upside down from that point. MRI, spinal tap, blood tests, all revealed MS. To add insult to injury, my husband of several years filed for divorce. It was a difficult time, and most of it was spent in bed, unsure of my future. I had little to no function in my left hand, and due to steroid treatments and anxiety, I had spasticity. I had a hard time holding a pencil without shaking, yet alone a paint brush. I have been an artist nearly my entire life and this was quite a blow to be dealt, to not be able to create again. I started spending time daydreaming about the paintings I would do, and something magical happened. I started to visualize concepts, instead of just copying pictures or sitting outside and painting nature, or doing portraits like I did in the past. Even though I couldn’t paint them, I envisioned and captured the feelings and remembered them.
As I got more function back I did the first painting called ”Pitiful Joy” 2006. It was the first painting I did completely from my head, representing my loss of vision and speech, yet a mind alight with music, sculpture and art.
The second called “Think Tank” 2006 was done in the same thought process as the first, with no photo reference, just capturing the feeling of being poked and prodded, slightly motion sick, like being underwater. Needless to say, I did not like the steroid infusions at all!
“Peace with the Beast” is a more current reflection of the art I am doing. This painting started it all, going in a more medical direction. I started doing paintings for chiropractors and physicians that are anatomically correct yet have a modern feel, and movement other than stiff medical art.
I still battle MS everyday, and in April of 2009 I was blessed with another little girl. My daughters keep me on my toes! They force me to stay active, and get out of bed even on days I really don’t want to. And they seem to understand that I can’t go outside a lot or horseplay and lift them. But both girls are extremely patient, kind and talented artistically, and have watched me paint since they were babies. If I can inspire just ONE person with MS to pick up a pencil, paintbrush, or whatever inspires them, then that in itself would be incredible! MS can’t rob you of everything. It’s a struggle, but you can make peace with the beast and use your talents, whatever they may be to your fullest potential.
Peace with the Beast