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A Transformation through Art • by Julie Haymaker Thompson

Losing What's Important
When my husband died of cancer six years ago, I dipped into a deep depression. It was as if I was under a glass dome and could see that I was here in the world but not part of the world. I have been a working artist all my adult life, as I am an illustrator. Well, my depression got so bad that I declared I would never create again! I took everything in my studio and put it in a huge pile in the driveway and called to have it hauled away. Even the studio furnishings. The neighborhood ended up taking most of it, when they saw what I was doing. So there I was, I had lost through cancer the most important person in my life and I had "killed " the most important part of me (I thought).

Going to Art Fest
My sister was very scared for me and so she signed us up for Art Fest. The event would happen around the one-year anniversary of my husband's passing. I was numb and did not care so when the time came I reluctantly went. We stayed in a B&B to keep it quiet and the night before classes I told my sister I will try my best to get out of bed and go but I just feel numb. Well, I went. Two days of classes with Nina Bagley and one day with Susan Lenart Kazmer. The dome I was under was smashed to bits and my creative life spirit was free to fly.

A Mixed-Media Artist & Teacher
Now six years later much is changed. I now call myself a mixed-media artist and teacher. I am doing what gives me life itself by feeding my soul. When I teach, I hope to offer the same to others that taking classes has given to me, and I still love to take classes too. They will always mean to me that l am spending time feeding and therefore nurturing my soul, as I now know that without doing so I am lost and empty.

To learn more about Julie Haymaker Thompson, visit,, or


I am so sorry for you loss; your struggle with grief! Grief comes in many forms and can take awhile to work through. I am
happy you were able to glue back your shattered soul and in reflection, found passion again! I think people under estimate the power of art. You soul released the fragments of your emotions through your fingertips! Your neighbors and sister gave you a gift; They helped you put the pieces of your essence
back together. I am happy you shared your story; I love your work/play!

Julie, thank you for sharing your story. It can only help others though it must have been tough to write it. I'm imagining how many smiles a day your art creates. How can one not smile when looking at your work. A gift indeed.

Thank you so much for sharing such a personal story with all of us. It honestly gives me hope and encouragement that no matter what life throws in our path, we are blessed to have a creative spirit to see us through even the most difficult of times.

I can really relate to this story as my dear husband passd this June.....he told me I must continue doing my art as "it is who I am" was difficult at first, but, i had an order to do and as I began, it took me back to my happy place inside....
Thank you for sharing your story, Julie!
Heart Hugs,

I cannot even explain my feelings the first time I saw your art in a magazine. Simply put, it made me happy, it made me smile. I'm glad you got past the depression because I really think your pieces could alter anyones bad mood after seeing them. Thank you for sharing your story and your art!

Hi Nancy: I must say it was hard reading that first paragraph, your big loss and pain. Glad your sister led you back! I must say I squealed with delight when I saw your little dolls and creations! They are just adorable!

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