The Story Behind " Paradise"


40x30 inches, acrylic on canvas.  I had been living in Hell's Kitchen in Manhattan, and became very ill, having lost people whom I loved dearly. This is the story of this painting. Many people have heard the condensed version, which is " I moved from New York, to Vancouver, and it was so pretty there, I decided to make this painting and call it Paradise".  You are getting the in-depth details.
My husband at the time this was all happening was with me, but not.  I don't know how to describe the disconnect we had.  I was falling fast, and I guess he just couldn't conceive of my pain. I was sick with grief and couldn't eat. I became anorexic. I went from about 135 pounds, to 75 pounds in a two-year period.
My beautiful and wonderful sister helped me get to Vancouver.  We must have taken an extra long time to come out of the gates where my sister Susy was waiting for us.  I was so happy to see her, and she was devastated to see me.  I must have looked like a holocaust victim or something.  All skin and bones.  She smiled, we hugged, and started off to my parents' house in Kitsilano. (A lovely section of Vancouver, close to the beach). As we drove through the streets, lined with big beautiful trees, Angela was very impressed. "Mom, is this a National Park?" She was looking out of the window .  
When we arrived my parents were thrilled to see us. Angela was enjoying all the attention, and was very amused by my Dad. She sat on the couch and said `Grandpa, your gonzo mushuganah!`(I don't know if I spelled that right. I think it's Yiddish. He was so-o-o-o- excited to meet his Grand daughter Priscilla, who looked very much like my Mom, who she was named after.  He already met Angela, but this was his first time meeting Priscilla.  She, on the other hand, took one look at this big, excited, strange man and started screaming at the top of her lungs, refusing to go into the house for about two hours. My parents rented us a basement apartment that we called the bubble gum house. It was bright pink inside. Priscilla thought she was in Barbie Princess paradise. I did have it re-painted (against Priscilla's miniature protests).  It was a bit too bright pink for me.
We were in Kitsilano, walking distance to the beach. It was all the healing and loving, and many days at the beach that allowed me to start to bounce back. My third husband Carl finally joined me and we rented a house. I was almost back to health and happiness but still, very skinny, and just starting to get over things.  I was able to get some spiritual counseling in Los Angeles, and this really helped me get my health back, and my spirits back. I was feeling very alive and wonderful, and it was after this spiritual counseling that I realized I wanted to paint. I had Scientology Assists and these were so amazing.  I was able to get back in communication with my body, and I started to steadily gain back my health. And then the counseling on top of that.  I felt like a whole person again!  
All of these experiences are in this painting. The journey from noisy, concrete New York, to laid back, green and beautiful Vancouver, the love for my children, my recovery, the love and help of my family and the absolute beauty of where I was, after I was recovered.

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