Nora Hanna MD knew that she wanted to be a doctor and an artist ever since she can remember. A high achiever from a young age, she was admitted to a 6-year medical program right out of high school. It was a busy and intense program of study, leaving her little free time to pursue her interest in art. But throughout her college and medical school years Nora Hanna dabbled in crafting, always with a focus on acquiring new techniques. She made homemade birthday cards for her friends and family and learned how to work on cross-stitch. She remembers that each project took her a long time to finish, but it was the process that was the most interesting part for her. She learned how to make jewelry, and while she always tried to explore different methods in her creative endeavors, she humbly says that she “wasn’t extremely good at any specific type of art.”
After medical school, Dr. Hanna specialized in pediatric psychiatry, worked full time, and was busy with her young and growing family. Over the years, she always found ways to incorporate her love of art into her life and work. When she ran group therapy for children, she used crafting as a way to help kids cope with their difficulties and express themselves.
Then, when her own life became stressful, she leaned on art as a type of self-therapy. Her husband was diagnosed with acute lymphocytic leukemia, and she explains that art was an escape from the anxiety and uncertainty that she was facing at the time. She carved out a studio for herself in her home and immersed herself in projects for brief periods of respite from her many responsibilities. Now, three and a half years after his diagnoses, her husband is doing well. And she has made some changes in her own work schedule. She went from working full time in an employed position to running an independent part time child psychiatry practice.
Dr. Hanna continues to dive into different types of art, always open to using new medium and materials. She started painting and has explored a variety of types of paint. She recently discovered alcohol ink and the material fascinated her. “You can’t control where the ink goes or how much it will spread. It has a mind of its own,” she says. Using alcohol ink, she explains that she doesn’t use a brush to spread the colors, instead using gravity or straws. After she completed one of her paintings, she casually posted a photo of her work on a social media page. She was astounded at the number of comments it received—over a thousand—within just a few days. Dr. Hanna explains that she never thought that her art was exceptional. But after so many people she didn’t even know encouraged her to sell her work and go into business as an artist, she started thinking about the idea.
She is now working with a vendor to get started on the process of listing her paintings and selling them. After all of these years, Dr. Nora Hanna is thrilled that she achieved her dreams of being both a doctor and an artist. Dr. Hanna still loves the process of working with different styles, textures and materials. She has noticed that artists tend to be very critical of their own work. But she encourages other aspiring artists to pursue their interests and dreams. “If an artist enjoys the time spent working on a piece, that in itself is worthwhile,” she says.
You can see more of Nora Hanna's work by following @NoraHannaFineArt or visiting her Facebook page Nora Hanna Fine Art
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