The Blue Lady

Permanent Collection Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center
The Blue Lady, Pastel-Sold

Artist Statement

Years ago, my husband, Werner, and I became very familiar with Norris Cotton Cancer Center’s Hematology-Oncology Corridor at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center where Werner received treatment for esophageal cancer.

We always stopped to admire the artwork displayed on the walls along our route. Werner often said, “Your paintings should hang here.” I  always chuckled.

During his many inpatient stays, I usually walked the hospital corridors to stretch my legs.

The artwork was for me more than decoration. Each stop was a  momentary hiding place from all things medical. THose moments helped me manage my stress, while Werner managed his treatments, procedures, and surgery with extraordinary grace and courage.

When his cancer progressed to the final stage so did the frequent hospital stays. During our last journey together, his hospital room became home for us, and a living room and a welcome place for family and friends. On the warm June days, he said, “It is good for you to go outdoors for a walk.” I did.

Along one path a blue lady sculpture caught my attention. I stopped to admire her. Her defiant yet graceful stance struck me with her hand on her hip and her chin-up. I  spoke to her as if she could hear. “Something happened in your life too, and you also  wait and look for someone.”

I walked away from, the blue lady, with these two thoughts. I could not change our circumstance. I knew full well; my husband was dying. But I stood on the promise I made when we began this journey and now walked our final journey together. It was a request Werner asked of me.

 “You must be brave.”

In the end, God honored that commitment. The symbolism of the blue lady with her chin up stayed with me. I might one day paint her.

The late Barbara Kaufman sculpted the Blue Lady that I met in the garden.

My pastel of The Blue Lady shown on this page and the story behind why I painted her now hangs in the new Hematology-Oncology Reception located at the North Entrance of Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center. The painting hangs in memory of my husband, Werner Zwahlen, an inspiration to all of us who knew him.

I hope the art will attract viewers to read the story and walk away with a little more encouragement.

5 thoughts on “ The Blue Lady ”

  1. Do you live anywhere near the center of NH? I was thinking you might be a very interesting speaker for our Lakes Region Art Association . We pay $100 for a speaker for about An hour. We do love to see art and have a demonstration if possibly.

    1. Thank you for your interest in my work and your inquiry.
      I live in Mont Vernon, NH; however, I am often in Wolfeboro, NH. I don’t mind traveling as I am also a pianist and have had to travel for different events.
      Where are you located?

  2. Spent two weeks visiting my husband there this month and saw your panel and information on the sculpture which we could see from the window on floor four. Thank you.

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