Cancer patient's art shows raging battle, beauty of hope

By Melissa Eichman, Reporter
Last Updated: Saturday, September 13, 2014, 5:35 PM EDT
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Fifty-one-year-old Ray Paul is passionate about art.

"Playing with the paint, I love color, I love working with details, too and expressing myself and forgetting all the outside world while I’m painting," he said.

An artist since first grade, Paul has been painting for decades.

"Abstract, expressionism mixed with some surrealism and probably pop art with the bright and bold colors," said Paul.

Bold colors were put to the canvas differently after a cancer diagnosis in 2011. Paul turned to art to help him get through treatment.

"I look at it as kind of attacking the cancer because it’s right there in front of me and I’m able to see it and go at it," said Paul.

Paul’s collection, “My Sarcoma,” tells of his cancer journey through paintings, his body the canvas.

"We were able to get images of my tumor cancer cells and have them printed onto canvas,” said Paul. “And I was able to use that as a substrate to paint over the top of."

The artist says painting helped him heal through four tumors in three years.

"It’s definitely a refuge," Paul said. "It’s almost like a Zen kind of thing, you forget about the cancer, you forget about all the trials and tribulations and you can lose yourself in the work."

The collection is currently on display at Moffitt Cancer Center’s Healing Arts Gallery.

"I’m hoping this gives them a chance to stop, reflect and maybe lose themselves in the color and the paint and maybe to have a smile,” said Paul. “Maybe make their day a little brighter."

Paul, who is now cancer-free, hopes his pieces show patients, their families, doctors and staff at Moffitt both the raging battle and the beauty of hope.