By Tammie Allegro
There has never been a time in Rebecca Zook’s life when she hasn’t been drawing or painting. She has the ability with her art to take the viewer on a journey. Seeing her art and reading her blog inspired us at IG Living to share her story. Rebecca is a wonderful example of perseverance and strength. Despite her diagnoses of CVID and the sudden and tragic loss of her husband, Tom, she still manages to live life fully by sharing her talents with others.
IGL: Your art is amazing. Have you always known you were going to be an artist?
Rebecca: Thank you, and yes. I don't ever remember a time when I wasn't drawing or painting. I am equally fascinated with science, but art was my true passion. I've been fortunate to have a day job as a graphic designer and to do my fine art painting as a second career. My art has also been an escape from dealing with the medical issues. Creating brings me joy. I practically moved my studio into the hospital room. I ended up being there for six weeks. At times, I could barely hold a brush, but I painted when I could.
IGL: How do you get the amazing detail in your paintings?
Rebecca: I paint in acrylics, which many artists find difficult, but it seems to work for me. I don't particularly like canvas and paint instead on sanded and primed board. The board, little paintbrushes and multiple layering of paint allow me to get a high level of detail — plus lots of patience. Sometimes I get too wrapped up in the details and have to make myself stand back and take in the whole piece to realize that I'm worrying over something that in actuality doesn't make much of a difference if any. When you think about it, that's a good strategy for life in general.
IGL: On your blog, you share beautifully and honestly about the loss of your husband. What do you feel is the one lesson he left you with that will help you continue to fight through your CVID?
Rebecca: With his sudden death in a traffic accident, I had lost my best friend and entire emotional support system. Trying to put into words how I felt, to explain it to someone else, was amazing therapy. I gained a level of understanding that I don't think I could have gotten anywhere else. Others told me that my writing helped them too. That meant a lot to me.
Without going into my whole life history, it's a little hard to answer this question, but essentially Tom had encouraged me to rebuild myself and to start painting again. He had given me back my self-worth and confidence that had been destroyed in a previous relationship. It is only because I knew him that I can not only survive the loss of him, but to go forward knowing that I can take care of myself and be happy again.
IGL: If you could tell our blog audience one thing about you and about your journey, what would you want people to know?
Rebecca: Since my diagnosis and after Tom's death, I have had so many people tell me how brave and strong I am. I am not any braver or stronger than anyone else. I just made a choice. I chose not to hide from the pain, and I chose to believe I would be happy again. It's what I knew Tom wanted for me. Everyone can make that choice.
IGL: How has being ill impacted your art?
Rebecca: People have been surprised that I don't paint angry or pain-filled scenes given all I have been through. I think I need the serene landscapes and pretty florals to serve as light to balance out the dark. You have to let the pain go in order to heal.
To see Rebecca’s art and her blogs visit: