In 2006, I won the Lilly Oncology International Art Contest for my painting, "Will He Still Love Me? (Without My Breast)," which was chosen among 2000 other entries from a total of 43 countries. My painting traveled to the Royal Academy of London for a week-long exhibition and toured the world for the next two years.
In the same year, I was one of the judges for Snapshot of Survival, a national art contest sponsored by Gilda's Club. I judged art submissions by survivors of colorectal cancer, describing the journey of their experience through art. I was the only Dallas artist chosen for this honorary position, which I will always consider a privilege.
In 2007, TORCH made its debut. TORCH is a collection of stories by ovarian cancer survivors. My role in the project was to paint the cover art for the book. My inspiration for the image comes from a quote of Dante's that, paraphrased, goes something like this: "I carried a lantern behind me, not to light my own way, but ti light the way of those yet to follow." The painting depicts a heroic woman, holding a torch aloft, with yellow light shining behind her. The painting now hangs in the gynecologic oncology unit at Baylor University Medical Center.
In an effort to get attention on a national scale for this cause and the women at the heart of it, I created a large painting of Oprah Winfrey cradling a child and sent it to her with the TORCH materials inside the crate, hoping she would find value in the project. Oprah later met with me, accepted the painting, and promised to let me know if she ever discussed ovarian cancer on her show. Meanwhile, the painting of Oprah was hung above the fireplace in the library of her school The Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Due to my interest and belief in the healing power of art, several of my paintings hang on the walls of Baylor University Medical Center. Many of them are featured in the gynecological oncology unit. Also, the new cancer center on Baylor's campus showcases a large 25 foot long Texas landscape on the conference center level.
After September 11, 2001, I painted two life-sized pieces I consider among my most important work. "The New Twin Towers," is what I've called them. The two paintings portray a policeman and fireman at Ground Zero. Both paintings have been part of numerous exhibitions and now have permanent homes in the New York Historical Society and NYC Fireman Museum. Limited edition prints of these paintings sold out within days.
Given up for adoption at birth, I found my birth mother and father in 1986. The result of that search was so unusual that ABC made a docu-drama about me and my search called "Love With A Twist" in 1989. I played myself in the film and was featured singing a song about my experience called "Heaven." Earlier in the year, I sang the same song at the Grand Ole Opry.
In the summer of 2004, I finished recording an album with three time Grammy-winning producer Phil York, who submitted my album to the Grammy-nominating committee. In the fall of that year, Phil was notified that my album “Fools” was a contender in the ’05 Grammy race for three categories in the Pop genre: Best Album, Best Song, and Best Female Vocalist.
In 2009, we recorded another album which was again a contender in the 2010 Grammys in the Alternative Music category.
In October of 2015, my husband and I produced an independent film based on my experience as an adopted child called Three Days in August. We shot the film in Mineral Wells, Texas, in just under three weeks. The overarching theme of the film is the universal need to know who we are and where we come from. As an adoptee, it's a very literal question that needs answering. In the film, the main character Shannon invites her birth and adopted parents to an isolated ranch for a long weekend so she can paint a family portrait that depicts her "whole" family. I painted the actual painting, on set, while the filming was going on.
We cast Barry Bostwick, Marietta Hartley, Cal Bartlett, Mollie Milligan (playing the role of Shannon), Stephen Sweden, and Colton Tapp as the key characters. Johnathan Brownlee made his directorial debut in directing our film. In April of 2016, we had our world premiere at the Dallas Film Festival to a sold-out-audience. Our national theatrical release is scheduled for the first week in December in Studio Movie Grills.