Thursday, August 3, 2023

I Believe in Magic


Goodness its been a long time since I’ve written here in this blog. A lot of changes have happened in the last year or so – unexpectedly having to move last summer, not finding a new place in time and having to put EVERYTHING (including all my art and supplies) in storage, and spending 6 months sleeping on an air mattress living at a friends house with her and her family. 

Which meant I had little space to create or continue to run my ArtnSoul business from during that time.

Which is hard on someone who identifies as an artist here to create.

But I’m finally back in my own space and beginning to dive into Art and Soul once again.


I love a fresh start and blank canvas! 

But those often come with a lot of old and leftover baggage. I want everything to be different and better and to be a financially successful full time artist (Now!) I have evolved a lot in the last year and feel closer than ever to making my dream life a reality. But many things are still the same, I'm just experiencing them in a new location.

Especially regarding who I am as an artist.

On the path to finding my artistic voice and style, I have gone thru many evolutions - the academic learning phases of my youth.  The craft show phase of my early twenties - sewing and creating all types of crafts in all types of mediums and forms mixed with random paintings. The commission phase - drawing and painting house, pet and people portraits. The Mural and faux finishing phase - painting in homes and businesses across the country. And the lifetime phase of creating whatever Sparks my Soul -  landscapes, seascapes, realism, caricatures, abstracts, collages, mixed media, murals, woodworking, pottery, furniture and cabinet refinishing, faux finishing, concrete name it, I've probably at least tried it in some way.

But I have yet to land on that "thing" that feels like a YES! This is it! This is ME! This is what I want to create and dedicate all the rest of my time and skill to and be known for!

It's something I've struggled with the last few years a lot, especially as a now single person needing to support herself.

Most artists seem to have that signature style, or color palette, or subject matter you can look at and say - oh I recognize that - that's so and so's art. They're known for this (thing). They have this unique way of doing that thing they do.

I have a few favorite colors and things I like to do - but mostly I still feel like I'm all over the place.

Still playing and trying things out, experimenting with colors and subjects and surfaces. I enjoy creating drippy, splattery, blendy abstracts. I love rich blues, pinks and teals. I love building and putting things together. I'm pretty good at detail work - to me it's the details that make a painting (or thing) magical. I pride myself, especially in the murals I do, by adding those finishing little touches that make it pop.

I love creating that magic.

And yet, I also don't know what that magical 'thing' is for me in my fine art. Is it abstracts? Colorful landscapes? Spirit animals? A blend of things? What things? Is it building something - what? Is it creating a book, a card deck, different products with my art on them? Which direction do I go in? One way, or all of the above? How do I make what I create uniquely ME? And what "thing" will best help me support myself that I also really enjoy doing day after day after year?

What IS that magical thing that says - oh, I recognize that - that's Andrea's Art!

This has been my biggest and most pressing conundrum. One that continues to weigh on me.

My good friend recently told me that I am the magic in my art.

I am the only one of me and the only one who can do what I do the way I do. That alone makes what I do unique and magical.

I am the Magic.

Hmmm. Am I?

And according to my Manifesting Generator Human Design type - it is correct for me to have many projects and directions going at the same time - not just be focused on one thing, one style, one subject.

Well that's cool. But also - not exactly helpful. 

Is it?

Hmmmm again.

Being all over the place doesn't seem to gel with what's "typical and expected" in the art and business world though - Find one thing and do it well. 

But then again we artists are known for following our own beat and NOT doing what's expected or conforming. 

That's where the unique magic is in each and every one of us, artist or not, right?! Marching to the beat of our own drum. Following our own Soul's calling and guidance. ;-)

So maybe my "thing" is just continuing to experiment with all types of art and colors and subjects - whatever Sparks my Soul in a given moment to create. And maybe at some point a recognizable pattern or that “thing” will begin to emerge.

Or not. Maybe I'm meant to be all over the place.

Maybe trying to force myself into one thing, one subject, one style (that everyone will like,) is what is blocking me from actually finding my style, subject and thing.

Definitely food for thought right now.

I know my art and colors are not everyone's taste, nor will I most likely be widely known around the world. (Though one can still dream! πŸ˜‰πŸ™) But there are 8 billion people on this planet, so I do believe my art, in whatever form it shows up as, will find its perfect audience and eventually Spark enough Souls out there that I can fulfill my dream of being a full time artist.

All it takes is some Magic, and I definitely believe in Magic. πŸ’–

Sunday, April 17, 2022

Creative Battle


On this beautiful Easter day, my thoughts are centered around the battles I have with myself and creativity - my gift from the Universe.

I saw a video this morning with Elizabeth Gilbert and Russel Brand talking about creativity. I’m totally paraphrasing here but basically Liz talked about this internal battle we so often face. Creatives are given a “thing” (for her its writing, for me its Artistic talent) from this great mysterious place. I call it the Universe and my Soul. Some call it God, or Spirit, or the great unknown….but whatever you call it and wherever it comes from it is unique and special to each of us and part of our purpose in this lifetime.

As we are developing our gift, we often find ourselves in that place of frustration where our work is NOT reflective of what’s in our head. We KNOW what “Good” looks like – we’ve seen it and heard it in others and even in our own minds……yet we ourselves just can’t seem to make what we are working on THAT kind of good (yet). And thus we go to war with ourselves and our creative muse.

We fight with the gift we have been given rather than nurturing it.

We all know practice makes us better. (I hesitate to say perfect, as there is no such thing – tho the perfectionist in me is giving me the hands on hips side eye at that statement lol.) It takes time, lots of learning and trial and error to get “good” at something.

So often we have an amazing idea and see its end result in our imaginings – and the excitement of it drives us to set forth on this creative adventure with stars in our eyes and a skip in our step.

But when the reality doesn’t quite match up….Ego steps in and we start beating ourselves up, even if it was our first attempt at it. We feel like since we imagined it, we SHOULD know how to do this thing we’ve never done before. But when we don’t, we like a failure – who do you think you are to create like THAT – you’re not that good, that smart, that talented. See! That was a stupid idea.

And we stop ourselves before we really even get going.

I can’t tell you how many half-painted canvases and sketchbooks full of ideas I have laying around unfinished and unrealized. Ideas that started off exciting and full of life but hit a roadblock somewhere along the way (either in my head or in their execution or in my lack of time) and instead of finding my way around….I left them abandoned at the side of the easel, thinking maybe someday I’ll be in a better place to finish them.

And there they still sit.

I’ve been drawing and painting in some way or another for almost 50 years. You would think I’d be amazing and uber confident in my abilities by now. And in some areas, I am. 20 some years of painting murals, especially at daycares where I had deadlines and massive amounts of detailed work to get done in a short amount of time – taught me how to be quick and push thru the roadblocks. I feel very confident in my skills and execution of meeting my, and my client’s expectations as a mural artist, even when the logistics of the job itself are overwhelming and frustrating.

But I’m struggling to translate that drive and energy into the fine art studio artist side of things – a world I very much need and want to transition to as a main source of income. 4 heart attacks and lung cancer have taken a toll on my body and energy levels, and I need to move away from the physically demanding labor of standing and climbing ladders and scaffolds all day every day.

I would love nothing more than to spend my days in my studio creating magic and having it fully support me. That is the dream. And I don’t think its an unrealistic one given the talent I have been graced with.

I have yet to zero in on my creative voice tho – that “thing” I’m known for and is easily recognizable as MY style and that draws people to my art and makes them want to buy. I feel like I’m still all over the place – playing and experimenting with whatever Sparks my Soul in each moment - Animals, women, children, abstracts, landscapes, seascapes, trees, swirls, bright colors….so many ideas, so little time, especially with working a day job too.

That lack of focused consistency, and no looming deadlines to meet like I have with mural jobs, AND the frustrations of not always being able to fully translate the images in my head, has me not following thru time after time. It has me fighting a war with my own creativity – wanting it to be better than it currently is, when the only way its gonna get better… to keep painting and working on it.

To ALLOW my creativity and ‘voice’ the freedom and joy of playing and manifesting however they want to emerge from me – in their own way and time. To just let go of all expectations and FEEL into the creative process. THAT is where the magic happens. That is zone I LOVE getting lost in and where my Soul is happiest.

But while its easy to say – just do that then - actually doing it tends to be another story.

This is the path of the creative tho. Finding the balance of work and life and indulging the muse – not fighting against it.

So I’ve been working hard at accepting what is. Because it is what it is – this life, this moment, this circumstance or struggle. I may not like what IS. I may want to change everything about what IS – but it still IS right now. And getting upset about it serves no purpose – that won’t change what IS.

The only way to make what IS feel better is to accept it. And allow it to help you take the steps towards the better things you do want.

For me that means finding my way thru the roadblocks, meeting my creative muse on the other side again with an open heart and mind, and seeing where it leads.

Back to easel I go.

Sunday, April 10, 2022

Soulful Sunday Musing - Listen to Your Soul


Do you LISTEN to your Soul?

Like REALLY LISTEN and follow the whispers (or loud screams) of guidance coming from within you?

Not the voices of others. Not the ego trying to protect you into sticking with the known path because it’s the easiest.

But the voices from deep within YOU.

From way beyond you.

Those gut feelings saying – YES, this!! or Noooo….NOT that. Saying - you deserve better, more, happier! Lets go this other way and see what new and exciting things it holds.  We need more color, fun, laughter, beauty, joy, Love and peace in our life – so lets find that!

It might be super easy to follow those leads…..or it might be really scary and hard.

But if you trust and believe in those Soul messages, your life will be that much richer and more content.


For many, MANY years I ignored the gut feelings and directions my heart and soul were trying to get me to hear and move towards. A lifetime of societal, parental and peer conditioning had me towing the line and following the path of SHOULD and people pleasing over my own Soul time and time again  -

I SHOULD listen to, and please my parents and elders ALWAYS. Even when it keeps me small. Even when I KNOW they are in the wrong and not being how a loving parent should be. But no matter how hard I try, I can never seem to do right by them, and I hate the way they make me feel, and even tho they say they love me, their actions say otherwise, and I feel so unloved, unseen and unheard. So I must not be a very good or worthy soul since those closest to me have so many problems with me just being ME. I Should be different than I am.

I SHOULD remain quiet and in the shadows, – it’s safer that way. Standing up for myself always gets me in trouble, or causes confrontation, or may hurt someone else’s feelings in some way. And I’m not supposed to hurt and confront others. I’m supposed to please and get along with ALL. So it’s better to be silent and compliant even if I KNOW I have something to say.

I SHOULD be better at school and get higher grades but no matter how hard I try I still just don’t get it. My brain is not understanding, nothing is sticking. So there must be something wrong with me – I’m just not smart enough or trying hard enough - even tho I KNOW I am where it truly matters.

I just want to paint and create things and I KNOW this is what I was born to do. Why I’m here….. but everyone says that’s not a REAL job. That this path will be a struggle and I might “starve” so I SHOULD have alternate/better plans, and I SHOULD have a college degree to be the most successful, even tho I’m not good at school.

I SHOULD dress and act different than I do so people will want to be my friend and hang around me, even if I KNOW that doesn’t feel authentic to me.

I SHOULD get married because I’m pregnant even tho I KNOW something feels off.

I SHOULD set my career hopes and dreams aside to stay home and raise my children because that’s what a loving wife and mom does – she sacrifices herself for the sake of the family. Right?

I SHOULD stay married for the kids sake and because my husband is a good guy, and because my parents divorce was miserable (and thus I was miserable) and I don’t want that for my kids too….even tho I KNOW everything inside me is wanting to take a different path, and my marriage is NOT my parents marriage nor do the outcomes need to be the same.

I SHOULD be angry and dislike my ex like every other divorced couple I know does – even though I’m the one who wanted out and he’s one of the best people I know, he can always make me laugh, and we had a great friendship and life together for the most part – we just didn’t have that deep soul connection as a couple that we both needed. Something was missing and we just weren’t meant to go the long haul. But I KNOW we can still come out the other side of this in a good place.

I SHOULD ALSO Not like his new wife even though she is awesome and his perfect fit and loves my kids like they’re her own – which was the whole point of divorce – to find our better Soul match.

I SHOULD paint what the majority of people out there want if I want to be successful – NOT what lights me up the most. My colors are “too bright and loud” – nobody wants to hang THAT in their house. I Should tone things down. Even tho I KNOW my fans and buyers are out there – I just need to believe in my art and attract them.

I SHOULD market and run my business like THEY do and say – even tho that doesn’t feel true and right for me. I don’t know exactly what does feel true and right yet – but it’s not THAT way. I KNOW my way is best – I just need to figure out what that is.

I SHOULD follow all the rules and do my best to fit in….when I KNOW I am clearly made to stand out in my own unique way.


Yeah…….Fuck all that “Should” shit.  

I SHOULD live my life how I want….not how they think I should.


For 40 some years I followed the path of people pleasing –at home, at school, with friends, in my marriage, at work…. putting everyone else’s wants and needs in front of mine to keep the peace and keep them as happy as I could. Even if it made me unhappy.

And Boy was I UNHAPPY inside. For as long as I can remember.

When the screams of my Soul trying to claw its way out of me became too much to ignore – begging me to make big changes with the giant Neon Signs of 4 heart attacks and a back surgery in the span of 7 years, and my body physically AND mentally not allowing me to keep people pleasing and doing things I no longer wanted to do -  I finally began listening to the inner Soul messages I was receiving and following them.

 And my world began to right itself.

 The veil of depression and smallness I’d lived under most of life began to evaporate and the world became more colorful and hopeful.

When I started making myself a priority and doing more of what I enjoyed and wanted – everything just got better. My entire system calmed down and good things aligned and fell into place.

I would love to tell you it was easy to just walk away, just say what needs said and do what you want to do and follow what feels good…..and that I consistently follow my Soul every minute of every day now too. But things are never that easy, and living your Souls dream life takes work and patience.

Doing what’s best for you, is not always best for those around you either (especially at first glance) and that’s a hard thing for a people pleaser to get thru – that your happiness will potentially be someone else’s pain for a while.

It requires a TON of bravery and strength in self to listen and follow your Soul, particularly when others are closely involved. But we can do hard things.

There is also a LOT of long held trauma and ingrained belief systems that need to be healed, loved and let go of along the way. Especially when you are a sensitive empathic Soul like I am who feels what others feel too. My emotions run deep and have been suppressed for decades, typically only released in times of solitude for fear of confrontation. So I’m still learning it’s okay to fully express them, especially in front of others. That doing so helps us grow.

But damn is my SOUL happier overall. And when its not, it means I’m not listening and living authentically again.

 I feel so much more peace when I do listen and follow my gut reactions and guidance.

That is always the core benchmark for me – if its feels good and peaceful inside me – it’s the correct way.

Once you awaken to your Souls messages, acknowledge them, and begin doing the things that make you feel the most Alive – there is no going back without an internal fight. It’s almost torture to NOT follow your inner wisdom - to go back to following the “Shoulds” that life and society tend to demand of you.

This is where stress and anxiety and overwhelm come into play.

Sometimes tho, you may need more time to make that change you most want to make to follow that new path, and it may feel like its eating away at your soul in the meantime. But if you reframe it as a temporary but necessary path on the way to your dreams – it will make it easier to get thru.

Just be aware and don’t allow yourself to get stuck on that hamster wheel, or you’ll fall into the misery trap again.

 Your Soul WILL let you know when its time to go a different way. Your Soul will NEVER steer you wrong – it always knows what is the best way to get you where you are meant to be. And often, the quickest path is also the hardest path which is where the strength and bravery comes in. But its also the most profound and impactful.


Along the way be sure to find ways to bring small pockets of joy into your days anyway you can. Sparks of Soul I call them – something that ignites a bit of joy and fire within you.

Life has a way of putting exactly what you need in front of you – if you’re open to seeing it.

Whether it’s a hobby you enjoy, a piece of art that speaks to you, a book or an activity, its important to surround yourself with inspiration and beauty and deeper connection.

Time in nature is one of the best medicines out there and I personally try to take time outside every single day walking or just sitting in the sun with my eyes closed connecting to all that is.

It just makes everything feel alright.

So get quiet and listen. Close your eyes and SEE.

What is your Soul trying to say to you? You KNOW.

You’ve ALWAYS known – you’re just not always paying attention.

Or you’re too stuck in what already is and don’t think you CAN change things up now.

Which is Bullshit.

If you’re still breathing – you CAN build yourself a better life, do things differently.



So get out there and Rock the Damn Boat! Make waves and jump and play in them too! Build a whole new bigger better boat in all the best colors and styles YOU love. If you don’t know what you love, what you want to do or where you want to go…..then take the time to figure it out.

What Sparks your Soul? What lights you up inside and out? What is calling to you and makes you smile, or brings you a sense of peace? That Ahhhh…..YES…..this feels amazing!! feeling.

THAT is your Soul speaking to YOU.

It doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks about your path and likes and dislikes…..only YOU.

We may be living in a world full of people and sharing our lives with a close few. But we are still each one of us on a personal journey of the individual Soul.

So the only thing that truly matters is – are you living your life the way YOU want?

If not…..its time to start listening.


Wednesday, February 9, 2022

The Pain - Phase 1 of my SCAD heart attack story


Phase one - The Pain

Heart pain comes in many forms – emotional, physical, your own, feeling someone else’s…..

Whether it’s a little bit of pain or excruciating…..

Its still pain.

And it can alter your entire world.

Ask any woman who has given natural childbirth with little to no pain medication, (myself included times 3), or anyone who has been in a horrific body altering accident. That physical pain can be intense.

Move that pain up into the center of your chest, and you’ll know how I felt when my first heart attack happened.

Laying on that cold sterile cath lab table trying not to move as doctors frantically tried to fix my fully shredded artery – I experienced the worst pain of my life at its peak, comparable only to childbirth. It was so bad the nurse had to move up to my head hold my shoulders down and whisper calming words to me as I cried in pain and tried to hold still while they worked on me.

But all I really wanted to do was roll off that table, curl into a ball and make everything go away.

I have a pretty high pain tolerance most of the time, but for me on that 19th day of March 2009 that altered my world, my pain threshold had been reached.

My heart attack story actually begins the night before. I had been sitting in a recliner watching tv with my family for an hour or two. When I got up to go to bed my left arm immediately went numb and tingly, like it was falling asleep, or like I’d hit my funny bone. It was weird because I hadn’t felt it falling asleep like you often do when in a position for a long time. But figured maybe I’d pinched some nerve, so I shook my arm a bit, it went away, and I went to bed.

Doctors tell me that my artery had begun to tear in that moment. Umm, what?! Just from standing up out of a chair? To this day it still doesn’t make sense to me – but then neither do the rest of my events.

The next morning was a typical start to the day – got the kids up and off to school (then aged 15, 13 & 11), husband went to work, threw a load of laundry in the washer, then I went down to the basement to do my normal workout program. A workout I had done dozens of times before – some basic body weight moves, aerobics, and light/medium strength training. Nothing new, nothing overly intense.

In the middle of my workout, after a set of shoulder presses, I bent down to put the dumbbells on the floor, stood up, and my left arm went numb again. My immediate thought was – what the hell nerve did I just pinch? Again. I began stretching my arm out to unpinch it, but the pain only got worse. I sat down on the floor noticing I was having trouble breathing - not uncommon when working out, but this was different – there was a heaviness and pressure building in my chest. I laid down still thinking maybe I just pinched a nerve and trying to stretch it out, but my chest began to really hurt - radiating to my back, my jaw, both arms….I was getting nauseous, dizzy, and my heart was pounding.

This was NOT a pinched nerve. 

I had seen enough movies and shows to know what left arm and chest pain means. But I was 37 years young, training for a half marathon, and in great overall health and weight. A heart attack made absolutely no sense to me.

Yet there I was on the floor feeling all the symptoms of one, this horrible sense of doom and KNOWing something was seriously wrong. 

I also knew I was at home alone and there was no phone in the basement with me. I could NOT stay there if I wanted to survive whatever this was.

So, I willed myself to roll over and crawl to the stairs and climb them. I couldn’t seem to stand up without wanting to pass out – and I knew that would be BAD – so crawling it was.

I was also doing some serious praying to the Universe too – Please don’t let this be bad. Please don’t let this be the end – my kids are not old enough yet to be without me. Please let me live until they can take care of themselves. Its too soon.  PLEASE don’t let this be bad.

Please please please please PLEASE!!






This is the part of the story I don't often mention to people as I'm a bit embarrassed to have not taken this situation as serious it was. But I seriously could not fathom I was having a heart attack and this was an emergency.

Once I got upstairs, I would love to tell you I grabbed the phone and called for help immediately. But I must confess, on my hands and knees, while having a freaking heart attack..... I stopped in the laundry room which was right there at the top of the stairs….and put the wash in the dryer. 

I have time for that right?!

I couldn’t leave wet clothes in there if I potentially wasn’t gonna be around to dry them later now could I?! I mean seriously – no one wants to have musty smelling clothes. And what if my husband and kids are too upset or busy and don't realize the loads need to be switched this evening?

What kind of mom (and people pleaser who puts others first before their own pain) would I be if I left them wet and their clothes smelled?!!

Clearly I was out of sorts and trying to act like this wasn’t a life or death situation.

Which it totally was.


Laundry drying, I then crawled to the great room grabbed the phone, laid on my back and called my husband first. I told him I wasn’t sure what was going on, but it sure feels like it might be a heart attack as all the signs are there.  Him concerned and on his way home, I hung up and called 911. By this time things were getting bad (clearly the laundry stop did not help matters). I was struggling to breath, in Severe pain and on the verge of passing out or throwing up or exploding…..or something. 

I just knew whatever it was not good.

Soon there were 2 ambulances and a firetruck out front, and I had a room full of paramedics taking all my vitals with extremely concerned looks on their faces, which is what my husband walked in to 15 minutes later, freaking him out a bit as he realized this might be more serious than he thought too.

Then the most ridiculous conversation happened in my opinion. I realize now emergency personal need consent to treat and transport you, but it still seemed like a crazy conversation to me at the time.

They asked me if I wanted to go to the hospital, which I thought was strange – clearly something was wrong – so shouldn’t I go to the hospital?  

So I said – do I need to go to the hospital?

They said…..Yeeeaaaah, we think you should go to the hospital.

Okay, I said, lets go to the hospital.

Okay Andrea. Which hospital would you like to go to?

Seriously? Whichever one will make this go away!!  I thought.

I said – I don’t know, which hospital should I go to?

They all looked at each other and agreed on one that was a bit farther away but had the better heart facilities.

So they loaded me up and off we went. My husband following close behind.

This is the part of the story that almost caused my husband to have a heart attack too.

Just before getting to the freeway (a few miles away from my house), the ambulance pulled over, the guy in the back with me threw the door open and began running towards my husbands car. All he saw was me on a gurney hooked up to stuff and a paramedic running towards him – Holy Shit, WTF?! Something REALLY Bad must have happened to me. But they were just letting him know they were about to turn on the sirens and GO and he couldn’t follow them with the sirens on. He would just have to follow the rules of the road and meet us there. 

Whew! But still.

In the ambulance I was semi out of it – eyes closed, fighting tears, and just trying to breathe, which was difficult, very short, shallow, and pain filled. The chest pain was non stop and getting worse. They had given me aspirin and morphine I believe, and started giving me nitro, which dilates the arteries so more blood can flow thru during a typical heart attack blockage. However it wasn’t working for me, which seemed to confuse the paramedics as I was clearly having a heart attack on the EKG, making the situation more dire.

What no one knew at the time was nitro wont really work if your inner artery is shredded like mine turned out to be – there was nothing to dilate.

After a brief evaluation stop in the ER, I was rushed to the cath lab. In a catheter procedure you are still conscious, so I was aware of most things going on around me - as much as I could be anyway with my eyes closed concentrating on breathing. Logically I knew they were somehow inside me trying to fix things, but by this time it had been over an hour since onset and the pain was excruciating and I could barely breathe. My entire Left Anterior Descending (LAD) Artery was torn, top to bottom and 100% blocked.  The LAD supplies oxygenated blood to the left side of the heart and out to the body – and my heart and body were being deprived of that and suffering the damage.

When the nurse had to come hold me down, telling me it would be okay, that they almost have it, just hold on, you’re doing great - I remember hearing the doctor working on me say – get Dr (So and So) in here NOW, I can’t get this. And get an OR ready we may have to open her up.

This is not good.

Outside in the cath lab waiting area my husband heard the pages and codes being called for me over the speakers, felt the intensity of the situation, and began fearing the worst. My quick trip to the cath lab (so he was told it would be) ended up being almost 2 ½ hours long and complicated.

But thankfully, I did not need open heart surgery. With some help and luck, the team of doctors managed to finally get a stent in place, then another one, and a third one, and partially opened the artery back up to stop the attack.


But after almost 3 hours of attacking, the damage had been done. To this day my artery remains shredded below the stents and the bottom third of my heart no longer functions - its just dead scar tissue now. Which of course affects some of my day to day functioning.


When I arrived in the ER my heart function was down to 20%. A normal heart functions between 55 - 75% allowing room for when higher activity is needed. When I left the hospital a week later I was at 30%. It took almost a year to get there but I have settled in at around 40-45% - basically meaning my heart now works at a third less capacity (or that much harder to do normal activities)  than the average heart due to the permanent damage done.


But it still works. And that’s what counts.


I would like to say my story stops there. That once the attack stopped and after a brief recovery all was good.  But my recovery was long and complicated –

The first hours in recovery while lying flat on my back not allowed to move for 4+ hours while the arterial incision in my groin started to heal - I had a horrible allergic reaction to all the nitro I’d been given and began vomiting....all over myself. I leaned over the side of the bed to continue purging, which of course ripped my incision open. After one nurse cleaned me up, while another pressed on my incision with all her might, they then had to clamp me (I kid you not – it was a giant C clamp) to the bed, for several more hours pressing on my fresh incision, to stop the bleeding. 

That HURT!!!!!!! (with all the capitals and exclamations I can use!)

I had a lot of internal bleeding and blood loss during the catheter procedure – I remember thru slitted eyes seeing the nurse lifting my arm up to clean it after the attack stopped and before going to recovery because it was covered in blood. Why is there so much blood?! Where did that come from?! My foggy brain thought. 

I needed 3 blood transfusions in the following days due to that and anemia.

I was in the CCU for 3.5 days, then moved to a regular room for another 3.5 days, staying in the hospital for a full week. 

I had a giant black and blue hematoma in my lower abdomen, groin and right leg around the incision site – basically from my waist to my knee.  My right leg was one and half times the size of my left leg and every time I stood up that first week it felt like someone was pouring hot prickly water down the inside of my leg as all that blood and fluid buildup shifted and rushed downward. It was the weirdest sensation and also very painful. I hated needing to stand up the first two weeks or so as it slowly dissipated.

I could not walk without a walker for at least a week after I got home, and it was about 8 weeks before I could walk normally again (without limping) because of the hematoma and severe bruising.

 It took every ounce of energy I had to get out of bed go to the bathroom and get back in bed to sleep – for months. I just had no energy at all and slept constantly.

And my memory and brain function were affected too – I had a difficult time finding words and using them for many many months. My short-term memory, which I always prided myself on before my attack, has gone out the window.  I still get brain fog and have trouble remembering what I was gonna say even while I’m saying it sometimes to this day, and with age that is just getting worse.

I also went on to have 3 more heart attacks and catheter procedures in the following 7 years. 

The second one happened the day I finished cardiac rehab, 5 months after my first attack, while sitting holding my next door neighbors newborn baby who had just come home from the hospital. All of a sudden, all the symptoms were there. It was much milder than the first one, so I wasn't sure what was going on - is it just angina? I made an excuse to go start dinner, handed the baby off not alarming anyone to what I was feeling, went home and waited it out a bit to see if it got bad like my first attack. After an hour or so though, it went away. But two nights later it came back, and two nights after that again. I finally called my cardiologist the next day who told me to immediately go to the hospital and they would be waiting for me, went in and sure enough they found another tear, this one in the circumflex artery, a branch of the LAD. Another catheter, more bruising and limping for weeks, as well as ongoing angina (heart attack like) symptoms for months.

The third one happened 4 years later in September 2013 while drying my hair one morning. I had my head upside down blow drying my hair, flipped my hair over and BAM! It slammed into me. Again, it was milder than the first and while in my gut I KNEW, my head was still like...Is it? My husband came into the bedroom saw me and said - you've got all the symptoms, and you're sitting on the floor crying in pain - we're going to the hospital. Again, Sure enough, there was a tear in my right posterior artery this time. My third groin catheter, and again - more black bruising and limping for weeks.

Three heart attacks from tears in 3 different arteries. WTF?

My fourth event in 2016, while it felt the same and doctors did see/say something was going on in my circumflex artery again, it currently remains undiagnosed by even the top heart doctors at the Cleveland Clinic, who I went to see for a second opinion. That 4th cath procedure went in thru my right wrist artery this time, (instead of the groin) which they told me was less invasive and an easier/quicker recovery. Great, lets do that - no more black bruising and limping! However during the procedure, my upper arm artery started spasming around the catheter which was super painful. They quickly pulled the catheter out while it was spasming, gave me something to stop the spasms (Not nitro as I now know I am allergic to it) then proceeded. But that whole incident caused some serious nerve damage and I could not use my right arm or hand for almost 3 months. I'm right handed and an artist who paints for a living and I couldn't even hold a fork or brush my teeth. Arrgghh! I still have some numbness in that arm today. 

Note to my future self - do NOT let them go in thru the right arm ever again. Limping and bruising sucks, but not being able to use my dominant hand for months sucked more.

My first attack was by far the worst. The others had all the same symptoms but were not nearly as severe in intensity or damage, thankfully, and only needed medicinally managed to heal. But in my gut I KNEW something was wrong with each one of them. Once you've had a heart attack, you never forget those feelings. And even tho part of you really wants to believe it can NOT be happening just know it needs to be checked out and taken seriously.

All of my physical/medical heart attacks were caused by SCAD – Spontaneous Coronary Artery Dissections – where the inner lining of the artery tears and collapses causing blood to go to the wrong place and pool, which causes a blockage, and thus a heart attack. An attack occurring in the LAD is often called the widow maker as it is the main artery of the heart and without it functioning properly…..well, you know.


Emotional heart attacks can also be just as traumatizing. I have had my share of that pain as well – childhood traumas, breakups, loss of loved ones, kids leaving the nest, divorce after 24 years, and starting over on my own all alone for the first time in my 40 some years of life, to name a few.

The pain whether physical or emotional can have deeply marking, long lasting effects.

Pain so dark at times you can’t imagine ever seeing the light and feeling whole again.

But from that pain, if you can process your way through it well enough, you can Rise again. And again. And again.


Stay tuned for Phase 2 – the Processing. What the hell just happened to me, and what happens next?

You can also follow my journey of processing thru my Art on this blog and at

Sunday, February 6, 2022

Still Going

Still Going

We've been thru a lot

This heart and I

From the lowest lows

To the highest highs

But no matter how much

Life turns up the heat

We still keep going

And continue to beat.

18"x24" Acrylic on Canvas

Andrea Morgan Art n Soul

Heartstrong Collection

Wednesday, January 26, 2022

 The last few months since I posted have been Crazy Busy so I obviously have NOT been doing Art Every Day (AED) lol. Well, not like I intended too anyway.  Two weeks ago tonight though, I finally opened an online store to sell my art, prints of my art and products made from my art. Woo Hoo!! is up and running and I'm super excited to see where this will lead.

It feels really good and I have SO many ideas of things I'd like to create - all kinds of paintings, more products, books, campaigns, maybe some children's art much I want to do, so little time it feels like lol.

 The future seems full of potential on this path - a path I've felt meant to take for a very long time. The further I go down it, the more my Soul is like - YES!! About time!! Lets Do This!! 

Part of my dream, my purpose in this lifetime as I currently see it, is to someday (soon) be a full time studio artist - to create and share regularly and consistently my art, my poems, my writings, whatever Sparks my Soul...with the world. To be an inspiration, a mentor and help others connect to their own Souls and passions, whatever they may be. 

I'm not sure how that will all look and come about yet, but the ideas are there, swirling around me, waiting for me to grab hold and turn them into something tangible and special. 

Until then tho, my time is split with needing to support myself and this future dream. I'm still painting most every day, but my canvas is often walls in homes and businesses, cabinets and the occasional piece of home dΓ©cor. Some of which I have occasionally posted about below or on my Mural page at

Speaking of posts below - I also combined my Beyond the Canvas blog with this blog as I  had a lot of my daily art and soul musings on there that I wanted to share here since this is the name I will be using moving forward for all my fine art and soul things. So it seemed fitting to move those posts here. 

You may notice there is a big gap in the timeline. I spent quite a bit of time in recent years going inward and working on myself and my art quietly, as well as recovering from a pretty major surgery. So I haven't posted much publicly the last few years. But hopefully I will be here more often than not moving forward. 

Anyway, just wanted to do a quick check in now that things are beginning to come together with my Art and Soul. You can check out both my websites in the above links and join my email list or follow me on social media to keep up to date on new art and product launches too. 

Thanks for being here. πŸ’–

Oh, and here is the Soul of a new painting I'm about to begin. Every painting has a Soul - something at the root, the spark that lights it into BEing. This one is feeling pretty powerful. More to come.......

Wednesday, October 13, 2021

AED day 13

 Finished the bathroom faux finish. The walls in the toilet room had been repaired, so I primed, repainted  and fauxed the whole room to match the rest of the bathroom again. 

I Believe in Magic

  Goodness its been a long time since I’ve written here in this blog. A lot of changes have happened in the last year or so – unexpectedly h...