Thursday, August 6, 2015

Wanda Shines Her Light in Pennsylvania

Wanda’s Care-ful Light and Life
by Judy Takács

Wanda has been the loving rock of stability for her family…all her families.

Even as a child, she cared for her younger siblings as her mother dealt with severe depression.

Later, Wanda was essentially a single mom to her four, now adult children whom she raised to be self-reliant, successful and kind…despite adversity.

Wanda’s house is a full one. Her own adult son and five-year old grandson live there along with Wanda and her long time partner, a sweet and caring man whom she recently married.  She and her husband, provide much of the care for his five-year old granddaughter because his own adult daughter is unable to care for the little girl. 

This complex list of people who depend on her immensely, adds up to a lifetime of Wanda putting herself last.

And, I haven’t even started to tell you about the health issues which have, over the past fifteen years, added to her already extremely full plate.

Wanda has been living with debilitating pain and severe fatigue from lupus for the past fifteen years. Two years ago she almost died of sepsis from a kidney infection, and then last year she was diagnosed with early stage breast cancer. Thankfully the treatments worked well on the cancer, but not without almost killing her; this time because of the blood clots they caused in her lungs.

She’s a quiet fighter though, puts on a positive face and soldiers on.

And, after her own children were grown, she began taking art classes at the Community College about an hours’ drive from her home in Pennsylvania. This is where I met Wanda, when the Chicks with Balls show made its first stop there as a traveling show in 2014.

The art classes at Luzerne County Community College, awakened her creative spirit.

Wanda embraced her artistic side and threw herself into her photography the way she had with all the other aspects of her life she cared about; with her whole heart and soul.

She graduated with Honors in commercial art and photography.

Since awakening this sleeping giant, she hasn’t looked back. She bravely left her full-time job of more than twenty years to open a photography business. Wanda is also on the Dean’s list as she attends college full-time for her second bachelor’s degree in studio art and art history.

She humbly describes her considerable talent and her discovery of it as “her little light” and chose to pose with a small ball of light. Since we discussed this in advance, I ran to buy spherical Christmas bulbs, knowing they’d be perfect!

This quiet, gracious demeanor which veils the bubbling creative passion lurking just beneath the surface is what I wanted to capture in my sparkling, glowing, purple painting of Wanda.

On the day of the posing session; as if to parallel the twists and turns of Wanda’s life; the lovely spherical set of Christmas lights which I had brought with me all the way to Pennsylvania for her to pose with…shattered!  The whole string shorted out just before she arrived for the shoot and I was swearing like a sailor! I really wanted to paint the luminous effects of my beautiful model carefully holding an actual glowing bulb.

Wanda was unfazed though, and chose a sparkling glitter ball to pose with ( I brought back-up balls) and I named her painting, “Wanda’s Care-ful Light and Life.”

And, I’m psyched to let you know that I’ll be part of a group exhibition at the 


featuring the work of
Benjy Davies, Beth Nash,
Joe Radoccia and Judy Takács
Opening Reception:
Thursday, August 30, 4:30 to 6:30
through September 28

Coburn Gallery
Ashland University
Center for the Arts, First Floor
330 College Ave.
Ashland, Ohio