The Story behind The Aura Series
I began to get the headaches at age 10 - pain and nausea preceded by frightening, colorful visual disturbances. Don’t worry, my mom said, they are migraines, and all the artists in our family get them. You will be ok. My mom, grandmother and aunt, all painters, went through the same thing at the same age, and I took it as somewhat of a rite of passage. I sold my first painting at 13, and used it to buy my first set of professional grade paints.
Over the next decade, the migraines became more frequent and severe. I saw specialists and had many tests, while going through high school and university. I put myself through forestry school with multiple jobs and painting commissions on the side, even as I felt my art transforming and pulling me away from my sensible science career. My landscapes became more surreal. I couldn’t stop painting these circles, and even saw them in my dreams. I would rush through my laboratory work so I could get home to paint.
One day in graduate school, I had an eerie realization as I looked around at the paintings on the walls. The circles I was painting over and over were migraine auras. Approximately 20% of people with classic migraine see a visual disturbance at the onset of an attack, due to a pattern of changes in the brain. Medically termed an “aura”, this is caused by pressure on the optic nerve.
After my revelation, I kept painting the circles into the night sky, but they became more peaceful. Now I see them as beautiful, a superpower, and a connection to the artist grandmother I never got to meet.
At 25, I took the plunge to paint full time. Thankfully, the migraines slowly became less frequent. With careful diet and exercise, I rarely get them now, which I am very grateful for.
My obsession with the circles lead me to develop a new resin technique. I’m thankful for the women painters in my family, and I want the Aura Series to honor them and their gifts.