Each year, the National Marfan Foundation (NMF) has a HeARTworks gala fundraiser that features a special “artist heart” silent auction. Selected artists contribute sculptural renditions of a heart roughly 10″x10″ in size. Entries include a variety of materials including wood, mosaic, and, in my case, papier-mâché.

Heartworks Artist Heart, 2013- National Marfan Foundation

LoveNestWebIn 2013, I took a more playful tack. Two barn owls are surprised in their love nest. Their intentions are written all over their heart-shaped faces. Can you find it in your hear to forgive them?

Heartworks Artist Heart, 2011 – National Marfan Foundation

I was inspired to render the Tree of Life emblazoned with the sun on the Artist Heart to celebrate the gift of life that the National Marfan Foundation has provided for me and many others. This ancient symbol embodies regeneration and unity.The pomegranates represent creative power and passion, while the sun radiates warmth and light.TreeOfLife1_300

A network of branches embrace the heart like coronary arteries that stem from the aortic root or tree trunk. The bas relief of trunk and branches also resembles the raised scar of heart surgery, an emblem of victory of life over death.

On March 8, 2011 my mother passed away from an aortic dissection caused by Marfan Syndrome. She was 77 years old and had led a life devoted to her family and public service. Because she was diagnosed late in life and suffered from many complications caused by the syndrome, she was not able to get the preventative surgery to repair her aorta.

Heartworks Artist Heart, 2010- National Marfan Foundation

nmf_lovedove_frIn 2010, I chose to superimpose two white doves in flight on my heart: the front of the heart sports a dove taking off on upswept wings; the back of the heart shows the back of a dove about to land. The piece represents love, peace, and hope that pulse with each beat of the heart: “Love Dove, Love Dove”. This was my first artist heart and I’m honored to have the opportunity to contribute to the NMF in this way. The NMF national and local chapters in Massachusetts and in Los Angeles have provided invaluable help to me and my family.

In 2008, I donated the painting “The Weather Up There” portraying a giraffe, since many people with Marfan syndrome are tall and lanky, like me. Fortunately, they also have a sense of humor.

And in 2009, the NMF used the painting “Gnome Alaska” for their holiday card.

The Weather Up There

The Weather Up There

Gnome Alaska

Gnome Alaska

What is the National Marfan Foundation?

The National Marfan Foundation, founded in 1981, is a non-profit voluntary health organization dedicated to saving lives and improving the quality of life for individuals and families affected by Marfan syndrome and related disorders.

What is Marfan Syndrome?

Marfan syndrome is a disorder of the connective tissue. Connective tissue holds all parts of the body together and helps control how the body grows. Because connective tissue is found throughout the body, Marfan syndrome features can occur in many different parts of the body.

Marfan syndrome features are most often found in the heart, blood vessels, bones, joints, and eyes. Sometimes the lungs and skin are also affected. Marfan syndrome does not affect intelligence About 1 in 5,000 people have Marfan syndrome. This includes men and women of all races and ethnic groups. For more information about Marfan syndrome and the NMF, visit: http://www.marfan.org/marfan/


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