Darra Keeton


Four years ago I thought my life was over as an artist. I was diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease and for the following year I put off conventional medications while attempting to manage my rapidly deteriorating health with alternative programs. In a matter of months, it became painful to do any simple movement - sit, walk, turn over in bed, eat, dress. Going out to dinner, shopping, bathing, and even sitting at a desk to watercolor for more than 10 minutes was exhausting, physically and mentally. My job, formerly a great source of satisfaction, became an exhausting chore. I couldn't paint (or garden, or cook or swim or dance, all causes of despair) - and I stopped visiting galleries, museums, and other artist's studios.

The way I make art now has been transformed: pre-PD, my studio sessions were angst ridden, doubt-filled; they were battles in which I ususally lost any chance of being Important in Art History, let alone Having a Career. I now operate fully connected to the process (not the outcome) with gratitude, curiosity and passion, burnished by clarity and sense of purpose. I know I would not be at this point without Parkinson's. (It makes an interesting question to ponder late at night: would you trade your deeper knowledge/physical suffering for ignorance/health??)

Calendar 5 - 1989
Axon 15 - 1998
Axon 20 - 1998
Axon 10 - 1998
Calendar 5
oil on linen
30" x 22"

Axon 15
acrylic on paper
41" x 26"
Axon 20
acrylic on paper
41" x 26"
Axon 10
acrylic on paper
41" x 26"
In Vivo 06-UN - 2006
Score 1 - 2006
Locus 114 - 2004
Theory of Forgetting 11 - 2002
In Vivo 06-UN
gouache on paper
10" x 7"
Score 1
gouache on paper
8" x 6"
Locus 114
gouache on paper
15" x 11"
Theory of Forgetting 11
acrylic on canvas
20" x 20"