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13 May 2011

What Does "Celebrating Creativity" look like?

Here's an example of just one of the many creative challenges that will be a part of THE ARTIST IN YOU TV SHOW!


We asked a group of artists to leave behind their usual creative utensils, put on a favorite song, and "paint" with their bodies, TO THE MUSIC! We wanted to see them relinquish all control and focus..and JUST have FUN! The concept behind THE ARTIST IN YOU TV SHOW is to rediscover the JOY of creativity!

Doesn't this look like FUN?
Does it make YOU smile?

Rhonda Liddell is an accomplished and brilliant burgeoning artist. In her words, "it set my soul free"!

What is even more important for many people to discover is the therapeutic value of getting their creative groove back on and just having fun! Here is Rhonda's "Back Story" in her own words:

The Truth about Rhonda

Discovering me...a truthful journey

Until very recently I was a skeptic of, myself, Life, love, and people. I was liked by most and accepted the people I came in contact with. However, I was very reclusive, so that is not saying much. I struggled with most changes in my life and knew only superficial happiness. I was caught in and endless circle of self disgust and sabotage.

How did this loathing come about? Well that is complicated, but I will try to keep it simple. 

As a child, I was raped twice and molested by a friend of the family, quite a jolt to young innocence. I escaped this (I thought) when I joined the U.S. Navy in 1984. I thrived in the service, I loved it! It suited me in every way. I went to school for my first 2yrs learning to fix fine electronics (Data systems, Crypto, Sat-com) I did very well. After school I was assigned to Oceanographic Unit One, attached to NASA/ NOAA. A very cool job! I saw and sailed around the world! (Well, most of it). While I was out to sea and docking at different ports, I discovered what I thought was the coolest job in the service, EOD (Explosive Ordinance Disposal- disarming bombs). I worked nonstop to pass all the physical tests and got cleared mentally. I had convinced MEN that a woman was good enough! I became only the 3rd woman in the U.S. Navy to have been accepted to this school. 

While awaiting my orders for school, I ran 6 to 9 miles 5 days a week, was on the Base boxing team, swam 2 miles every other day, and rode my bicycle almost everywhere. If you have ever seen G.I Jane, with Demi Moore, that was me, I swear! On October 20th 1989 while running I fell out at the back of Mare Island Naval Shipyard (where I was stationed). I lay on the ground for over an hour. Finally a Marine running stopped and got the medics. I was rushed to Oakland Naval Hospital as I was having an appendicitis attack. They took me to the fifth floor, where they were prepping me for surgery. As I was getting an I.V put in my arm and watching the Oakland A's Vs. the San Francisco Giants in the World Series, all of a sudden, the earth quake that dropped the Bay Bridge happened. All the buildings outside looked like snakes, the TV went fuzzy and the ceiling dropped on our heads. Luckily our building stood. Needless to say, I did not have the surgery that day. They kept me under close watch and I went as soon as they could get me in the next morning.

After 3 days in the hospital I went to my apartment on convalescent leave. On Friday the 27th of October 1989, my buddies had convinced me I was well enough to go to the club on base. I love to dance! We left the base, around 2AM on the 28th, at the second stop light out, we had a red light. As it turned green, I razzed my buddy (the driver) saying "What are you waiting for? Christmas?” he pulled though the light at about 5mph and a truck going about 60mph, running his light, struck dead on my door! Everyone but me walked away from this. I recall nothing but was told they used the Jaws of Life to extract me. I spent the next 3 years having multiple surgeries and nonstop physical / occupation therapies. My dreams for EOD and a Naval career then came to an end in 1993. After 8 1/2 yrs I had lost all that I thought defined me. I was devastatingly heartbroken. I felt like Superman without his cape. I thought I had failed!

When I was discharged I still had that can't fail, can do, OOooo RAH!!, attitude. I dived, full force into college. I did well but found myself withdrawing from people as I was having great trouble trusting and relating to civilians. I was in a master degree program to become a Physical Therapist. One day I just freaked out, dropped a beaker of hydrochloric acid all over the place. I ended up in the VA hospital psych ward. I was diagnosed with PTSD, depression, adjustment disorder and given a rating of 100% disabled. All labels I still carry. I was pulled from college. The VA no longer funding my education saying I was TOO disabled to continue. With only 1 1/2 yrs left to my masters, I told myself I had failed again! This caused even more mental anguish

In 1996 my son was born. This gave me a new start. I was doing ok again, and then came my daughter in 1998. I was a full time stay at home mom with little to no help but had found a new purpose in life. When my little girl went off to school in 2004, I found myself with too much time and nothing to focus on. During this time I had managed to clean up my credit and buy a house. I got screwed on the mortgage and within a year was going to lose my house. I failed again! I was now back to that whirl wind of total mental anguish. The VA was poor at best where I was and I was not getting the care I should have been receiving. So, in 06' knowing I was going to lose my house, I began to self medicate. I very quickly became addicted to Crack Cocaine and just gave up on life. I was sent now to the Regional VA hospital in Augusta, Georgia. The kids went to live with their father.

As one of many therapeutic tools I was given, I was introduced /reintroduced to art and my creative energy. I was taught healthier ways to express myself and not to run from how I feel .As I began this journey it was at first just a way to occupy my mind with positive, constructive things. After 2 1/2 years of fighting ALL my demons, I emerged in 2009 a way healthier person. I am sober. I have my kids back. I have a new respect for me, life and living. I continued with Art Therapy and, after just a short while received many compliments on my creativity. I was encouraged to create even more. Through this process I have gained a sense of pride and self worth I haven’t known since I donned my uniform.

I now live in N.Y. and the VAMC in Albany is the best. I am happy, peaceful, and gracious each and every day! My children are also content, healthy, and happy. I have gained a totally new respect for what is important in life. I understand that material thing do not define me, that forgiveness, love, and humility are keys to happiness! I believe in a higher power, myself, and have faith!

"Rediscovering Art and my creative energy has set my soul free." ~ Rhonda Liddell

See more truly awesome works by artist Rhonda Liddell in


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