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Cerebellar Ataxia Art I

Sandra Pena de Ortiz

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Cerebellar Ataxia Art I Photograph  - Cerebellar Ataxia Art I Fine Art Print





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San Juan, Pu - Puerto Rico

Thank you John!

Halifax, NS - Canada

Very nice series Sandra. V/F

San Juan, Pu - Puerto Rico

Thanks Sherry and Jon!

Loveland, CO - United States

Very creative Sandra! v

Jacksonville, fl - United States

Fantastic job! it and congrats on feature in All Things Abstract group..V/F

Stockholm, SE - Sweden

Beautiful and interesting work. V

Suncrest, WA - United States

Lovely Art work! V

San Juan, Pu - Puerto Rico

Thank you for you wonderful comment Jenny!

Yaroslavl - Russian Federation

Intriguing creation and dark tones, Sandra! Fascinating patterns...

San Juan, Pu - Puerto Rico

Thank you so much for your words and comments on the art. It is meaningful that you can see ... !

Faulconbridge, Ne - Australia


Tehachapi, CA - United States

Oh Sandra, this is sooo beautiful. It feels like neurons and electricity ... and a perfect illustration to your eloquent description of Cerebellar Ataxia. This piece is Awe inspiring. v/f

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Cerebellar Ataxia Art I


Sandra Pena de Ortiz


Photograph - Painting - Digital Oil Painting On Canvas


FEATURED PHOTO: Activism in Art FAA group - 04/03/2013

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This is the first digital painting in my new series on Cerebellar Ataxia. Is was created on GIMP and is and oil digital painting on canvas. I shared briefly in my bio that I have a condition known as cerebellar ataxia. Cerebellar ataxia is known by several names, including spinocerebellar ataxia, cerebellar atrophy, and cerebellar degeneration. There are multiple forms of the disease; mine being caused purely by cerebellar degeneration or atrophy meaning that the mayor cells (neurons) of this part of my brain have died and are dying. The condition is incurable and progressive, but does not generally affect the lifespan of affected individuals. Cerebellum comes from the Latin expression, little brain. Anatomically, the cerebellum seems like a separate structure from the brain, attached underneath its back. I have come to understand that the cerebellum is an awesome and very mysterious part of the brain. Most brain scientists and physicians only know about the important role the cerebellum plays in controlling movement, balance, and coordination. The term ataxia means the lack of coordination and balance, hence, one name for my disease being cerebellar ataxia. The cerebellum is responsible for our ability to walk, run, and coordinate the movements of our whole body. We need the cerebellum to dance, to swim or to learn how to swim and dance, to ride a bicycle, or to skate. Great basketball players, floor dancers, skaters, ice skate dancers, and gymnasts surely have strong cerebellar function. However, the cerebellum is much more than that. Neuroscientists and neurophsychiatrists are now beginning to rediscover and promote other very significant roles of the cerebellum. The cerebellum is deeply involved in regulating emotions, affect or mood states, and our capacity to make decisions. The cerebellum is relevant for sleep, dreaming, memory and learning. Actually, it turns out, that the cerebellum maintains a high level of active communication with most other areas of the brain, including its frontal area, which is involved in higher levels of cognition and thinking. After presenting these basic functions of the cerebellum, I can share how the condition affects me. At present I can still walk, although my balance and coordination are very bad. At times it can be unnoticeable; other times my struggles are very clear and I tend to fall. Sometimes I use a cane, but I always try to avoid it. I guess it is my fighting spirit. Rarely I use a walker and only a few times have I needed a wheel chair. As to now, I have not lost may capacity to ambulate; it is just that some times my legs get really tired because the muscles are not receiving the proper stimulation from my nervous system. The condition is trully disabling. On the other hand, when I am in the water I swim like a dolphin. Once my body is in the water, it immediately develops an uncanny flexibility and I can swim, even dance, underwater gracefully and with great freedom! This limitation in physical movement has caused a huge explosion of creativity in me toward the arts, and although I have been extremely original and creative all my life, something that has been expressed in my scientific endeavors, today my creative muse is mostly directed toward the fine arts, specifically fine and digital art photography. In my continual search for knowledge and introspection, I have discovered solid scientific evidence, described previously by others, establishing a role of the cerebellum in creativity. I ask the you to think about the following question until I return with Part II of The Cerebellum, Creativity, and Cerebellar Ataxia in my blog at my website ( If I have lost about 40% of my cerebellar neurons so far, how is it possible that my creativity seems to have increased? A possible hint might be related to the fact that my newly developing creativity is directed toward the arts ... Think about it?

In terms of this incredible piece of art is a tribute, a homage, to all those in the world suffering from some form of this disabling disease. The painting represents various things, some can be observed in the patients, some not. First the lack and struggle with balance, with order, with coordination, with usually leads to incredible physical leaps of the body with falls, turns, and getting up. The other layer, is the cognitive dysmetria, noted many times also by a lack of control of thoughts, memories, emotions, and the birth of novel ways of thinking because the brain is so able to compensate and renew itself. Finally, there is the dissorder in neuronal connects, the interruption of them, the fact that long interconnections exists between the cerebellum and very far regions of the brain relevant for memory, executive function, and thought. Finally, note the colors orange, blue, purple, turquoise, and white. Orange is a power color, a color of healing, stimulating enthusiasm and creativity, meaning vitality with endurance. Blue is the colour of peace and infinity, regarded to have a relaxing effect, promoting quietness and reserve. Purple and violet are the colors of good judgment, of seeking spiritual fulfillment, bringing peace of mind, meditation, and purpose. Turquoise is the color of communication, self awareness, happiness, and initiative. Turquoise has more to do with feeling and creative expression than with rational thought. White is the color of purity, clarity, kindness; it is the manifestation of the presence of all color - the complete energy of light. It stands for wholeness and completion. In many cultures it represents openness and truth.


April 1st, 2013


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