Kirkcudbright woman turns to painting to get through cancer diagnoses

Natasha Potts reports

A woman from Kirkcudbright who turned to painting when she went through cancer treatment during the pandemic is set to exhibit her work.

Julie Hollis was diagnosed with cancer through lockdown, which she found to be a particularly isolating time.

After almost three years of treatment, Julie is sharing her story through paintings she created during this time.

Compared to the landscapes she usually paints, her paintings set to go on show in an exhibit will feature a self-portrait, as well as a close up of her cancer under a microscope.

Julie said: "I ended up as part of my treatment I had a mastectomy so I lost one of my breasts and to me that's quite a normal thing when I look in the mirror and I've accepted that this is how I look now.

"It's quite a traumatic thing obviously sort of having part of your body taken away is quite traumatic, but the way I've chosen to do it I think I hope it shows that I've still got the strength of character that I'm still the same person even if I'm missing part of my body it's still me."

Julie used painting as a way of getting through her treatment, using it as a way to express the emotions she was feeling

She added: "I found it very cathartic doing these particular paintings I don't think you realise when you're going through treatment just how many feelings you keep bottled up, especially when you're trying to keep a brave face and be brave for other people.

"So when I was painting these twelve paintings sometimes I'd be sitting at the easel and I'd be in tears as I'm painting away."

Due to being diagnosed through the coronavirus pandemic, Julie was not allowed her husband to be in the room with her when she first found out.

She also found that there was not the usual type of support due to lockdown.

Julie said: "We were already behind locked doors but all the support systems that are already going through cancer treatment they just weren't there. You didn't have the normal groups you could go along to there was no one there to talk to everything was being taken online and it just wasn't the same sometimes you just need a hug and the hugs just weren't coming.

"My husband wasn't even there to hear my diagnosis so you know even that part of it I had to cope with on my own, I had to ring him afterwards to tell him it's cancer you know it's hard."

The exhibition starts this weekend (Saturday, 14 May).