Gallery and Participant Testimonials

Name: Patricia Varga

Certified ScART Instructor  and Founder of Create to Heal program-- a program using all forms of art to help patients and healthcare providers heal.


What caused your scar? Uterine tumors


Tell us about your ScART painting and what it represents:

When blown up, this scar looked like a woman with her arms outstretched, joyful and free to be who she is. My uterine tumors were benign and so was the endometrium ... blessed since I had endometrial cancer in my early 30's ... I picked the blue because it represents freedom and self-expression. Wisdom and JOY. I picked the two different yellows because they represent enthusiasm (the voice of GOD) happiness, spontaneity, optimism, creativity, independence and adventure. Because of this process, I was able to release so much of my past and the trauma that I believe caused the masses to grow in the first place.


Name: Chris Heatherman, Studio Owner and Certified ScART Instructor Painting with a Twist Myrtle Beach, SC


What caused your scar? Emotional Scars, C-Section


Tell us about your ScART painting and what it represents:

My scars are mostly emotional scars (I do have a C-Section scar, but it doesn't bother me).  I chose a heart shape because it is my heart that is scarred from childhood emotional and verbal abuse.  The band aids represent myself as a young child's and my attempt to heal myself from the emotional, verbal and sometimes physical abuse I did not understand and are represented in a typical band aid color of yellow and highlighted with copper.  The large torn areas with the bad stitching in gold represent myself as a teenager who was learning to navigate what had become the normal of my life, the better I got at understanding what was happening, the more I was able to pull the shattered pieces closer together.  The silver scars with the neater stitching represent myself as a young adult woman who has learned that the emotional, verbal and physical abuse of my childhood had little to do with me.  I was able to mend pieces back together.  The splotches all over the heart show that damage was still inflicted as an adult, but that the child I once was is gone, now I a grown woman, who has an understanding of it, and while it still hurts, it is no longer capable of destroying my heart.  The reds and pinks are to indicate the love I have learned to give and to accept.  The black is because there is still negativity in my life that can cause damage and hurt me, but I can deal with it.


Name: Angelle A.


What caused your scar? Radiation and Scars from Breast Cancer

Name: Jerry P.

What caused your scar? Breast Cancer

What are your thoughts and attitude about your scar? Cancer was just a period of time in my life, not who I am today. My scar is special to me because it represents me overcoming breast cancer. Every imperfect line of my scar is perfect to me. Every time I look down at my scar, I’m reminded that I am 4 ½ years out and doing great. I am also reminded that I am a warrior.

What did you learn from your ScART program? Painting my scar fulfilled my desire to let cancer know that I had the last say-so. When I saw my scar for the first time I think I stopped breathing for a second or two. Now I think differently…… “Live and Love life”… I’m happy to show off my scar…. I have learned to trust more in myself and listen to my body, tap into my own healing power and knowledge, to not listen to negativity. I surround myself with positive people and thoughts-where possible. I don’t have to look at my scar and feel uncomfortable about my body anymore. I have learned that it doesn’t matter who you are or what you’ve been through you are beautiful in spite of your circumstances. I try to keep a positive attitude. If there is an upside to scars it’s that it has made my relationships with people stronger and more meaningful. My scar lets me focus on what I have gained and been blessed with through this journey. I love my final product.

What advice do you have for other people? ScART creates a conversation piece. It allows people to embrace their scars and bodies because scars tell a story that at the end of the tunnel there is always a shining light. My scar is a part of my history that’ll always be there. Thank you...You Night and Painting with a Twist (ScART) for making it easier when life gets hard.

Name: Rhonda E.

What caused your scar? Breast Cancer

What are your thoughts and attitude about your scar? Yes, my cancer journey was tough, but I was tougher! I fought my battle one day at a time. By the pure grace of God, my journey was complete and I was cancer free in August of 2016. Yes, my body is full of scars! I embrace my scars and look at them as saving my life!

What did you learn from your ScArt program? My painting portrays my perception of how I feel about my scars. I feel the port, at the top right of my painting, was a huge part of my cancer journey. It was the life line that allowed the chemotherapy to enter my body and kill the cancer cells that tried to take my life. I have gained true life long friends! This painting portrays all of the beautiful silvers linings from my cancer journey! These silver linings far surpass everything I endured throughout my battle with cancer. I am truly blessed! Our God is always good!

What advice do you have for other people? In time, scars will fade. What will remain, are all of the wonderful people God blesses you with in your journey.

Name: Cheryl L.

What caused your scar? Breast Cancer

What are your thoughts and attitude about your scar? THE HURRICANE: I arranged my scars in a circular pattern with the idea of resembling a “Hurricane Symbol”. Being from St. Bernard Parish and having gone through the devastating events of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, which left emotional scars, I was diagnosed with breast cancer in July 2016. The resulting physical skin scars from my biopsies, bilateral mastectomy and SGAP tissue reconstruction surgeries, were equally devastating. By participating in the ScART “Every Scar Tells a Story” Event and Painting with a Twist, I was able to look at my scars in a different, more positive perspective. Just as bad as Hurricane Katrina was to the City of New Orleans and surrounding areas, several good things happened as a result. So is true of my breast cancer diagnosis and resulting scars.

What did you learn from your ScART program? Painting my scars in a supportive and caring environment with other cancer survivors was uplifting and allowed me to identify myself with my scars. I have met so many amazing and strong women and feel that I can relate to and help others with similar diagnosis and experiences. My scars do not limit or inhibit me, but rather remind me of my strength, resilience and determination to overcome. The blue circular areas represent the “Eye of the Storm”. This is the calm, peaceful and serene place. The hint of green represents “LIFE”: a life that is good and worth living to the fullest. Hurricane Katrina is over and so are my surgeries. Life goes on and on…..

Name: Joy B.

What caused your scar? Breast Cancer

What are your thoughts and attitude about your scar? When you hear the words, "You have cancer" time stops. Then you realize you are at war with your body.

What did you learn from your ScArt program? You become a fighter and a warrior! All warriors have scars and these are my scars. I've learned to embrace them because they saved my life.

Name: Nancy T.

What caused your scar? Breast Cancer

What are your thoughts and attitude about your scar? I had Cancer, Cancer never had me.

What did you learn from your ScART program? We get to see our scars, look at them, remember what happened, and then decide. Choose who we want to be now. Look at how far we’ve come. Realize that it’s only a scar. I embrace the scar, I am alive, God is good. I am blessed to have had cancer. We can choose to still be that person who got the scar, or we can choose to be someone else. I want to thank You Night and ScART for making all this possible. I'll share my journey, helping inspire and encourage other women.

Name: Marie C.

What caused your scar? Breast Cancer

What are your thoughts and attitude about your scar? I went in to this project thinking I totally knew what I wanted to do .. well surprise surprise that all went out the window. I wanted to show the world that with time all heals and scars fade.

What did you learn from your ScART program? This was an experience that I will always treasure. When I started painting I totally intended to start out with painting a deep silver and gold on my scar lines with the lines fading away on a white canvas. The next thing I know I was really getting acrid at what I was creating. As I continued to paint my scars the memory of what I went through and what my scars used to look like flooded into my mind and in that moment my strokes became softer and more pleasant as I realized over the years each one became better and better. I know longer have the deep dark color my scars were as time has help fade them, they are barely there. I never want to not see them now and I know that sounds a bit crazy but when I see them I know how strong of a woman I am today because of what I had to endured over the years and the blessing in what has crossed my path in my cancer journey. I am 11 yrs out and doing great.

What advice do you have for other people? I want to give hope to anyone who thinks it will never get better I'm living proof!

Name: Caroline Graham, Physician Assistant, New Orleans LA


What caused your scar: Scars from C-Section, my husband’s deployment, a child with special needs, and all my patients that have been diagnosed with cancer.


About Caroline's ScART Experience:  

I chose to paint both my physical and emotional scars. I chose bright colors and flowers because it makes me happy. Looking back, I would choose to bear the pain of these scars all over again because they have given me strength and character that I otherwise may not have known. All of these trials have given me hope, endurance, and wisdom. Painting my scars reminded me of their beauty, and I hope to inspire others to do the same.

Name: Phillip McLaughlin, Certified ScART Instructor - Warrington, PA


About Phillip's ScART Experience:  Life presents us with many struggles. We all have our own adversities and challenges to endure. Although they can be very difficult, these obstacles help us grow stronger and build our character. I feel ScART is a positive way to look at ourselves and all we have to face in our lives. By confronting these difficulties, pain, and scars we can begin to look at ourselves in a new light and find strength and love for ourselves and life.


Name: Susan Hebert, Certified ScART Instructor - Lake Charles, LA.

What caused your scar? Emotional scars


What caused your scars? A broken heart due to my mom's cancer and dementia. During this time, I went through a divorce after 26 years of marriage.


Why did you choose the colors or elements in your painting?  What do they represent?  "My broken heart has scars.  The scars form the bars of a birdcage.  I felt trapped and imprisoned as a caregiver.  But God's light was still shining on me.  The blue represents sadness and the yellow is sickness.  The red is anger.  I put butterflies because they symbolize hope for me. You can't see it well, but there are scars under the greenery which represent the "loss of sanity" in my brain that I've felt during the past 5 years."


Name: Cheryl D.

What caused your scar? Breast Cancer

What are your thoughts and attitude about your scar? When I was told about the idea of painting my scars I loved it and knew something great would come out of it. I've never really looked at my scars in that way before and didn't know how I would feel once I drew them out. After sketching my scars I still had no clue on what to paint. A few days passed and I showed Lisa McKenzie my drawing. Lisa visualized Angel wings immediately with my port scar representing an eye winking from a dear friend of mine, Debbie St. Germain who passed in August 2016. I felt that was a sign for me. I knew Angel wings was the answer I was searching for.

What did you learn from your ScART program? While painting the wings everything felt surreal. I had such a calming feeling I couldn't explain. After I finished painting, a You Night sister came up to me and said she didn't see one set of wings but two sets of angels in the picture. Not knowing what she told me would mean the world to me. It made me suddenly realize besides having Debbie winking, I also had my little sister and childhood friend who passed way too young by my side the whole time. I now look at my scars differently. Instead of seeing them as a rough time in my life that I overcame, they now represent my guardian angels that are always watching over me. I believe God has a plan for me. I believe God will always watch over me. I believe God is our Savior.

What advice do you have for other people? Always BELIEVE! I want to thank Lisa McKenzie, everyone with You Night and Painting with a Twist for this opportunity to look at my scars in a different way. It brought such peace and comfort to me that I never would have experienced without doing ScART.

Name: Emily B.

What caused your scar? Breast Cancer

What are your thoughts and attitude about your scar? Until I had to study to draw my scars, I did not realize how intricate they were. They are very rough and jagged and I realize that I never really look at them. I have always roughly keloid scarred but since they were in a place that only my husband or I would see, I never really scrutinized them.

What did you learn from your ScART program? I really enjoyed the ScART experience! To be able to turn them into a piece of artwork was very inspiring. My You Night sisters that were with me that night saw it as a proud figure of a woman standing tall, and now that is what I see (or a tree) even though it was meant to be abstract. It is a starter for conversation when someone says, "What is it?" and I say, "My scars".

What advice do you have for other people? Most people have no idea of the procedure for a double mastectomy so it opens conversation that you might not ordinarily have. Knowledge is power. I love how ScART has opened up this conversation.

Name: Joy K.

What caused your scar? Melanoma on feet and Breast Cancer

What are your thoughts and attitude about your scar? My breast cancer scars have never really bothered me, and I don’t consider them ugly, but I became more appreciative of them as I painted them. I actually now consider them pretty. It made me feel like I was letting go of the physical and mental pain that I had. Now I need to let go of the pain that I have had in life.

What did you learn from your ScART program? When I was first asked to participate in ScART, I had no clue what to expect. We drew free-handed art, rather than being guided through every step. When I started painting mostly browns and beiges, I was going to stay in that color scheme. The more I painted, the more I felt like I needed the color 'red'. The scar from my melanoma on the bottom of my foot stayed open for eight months and I saw a lot of 'red' at that time.

What advice do you have for other people? I’m hoping by this experience that maybe I and others will learn to let go of the memory of the physical and mental pain I associated with cancer. Thank you, You Night and ScART for letting us have this journey to get in touch with our scars!

Name: Stephanie R.

What caused your scar? Breast Cancer

What are your thoughts and attitude about your scar? I am not an artist. I do not put on make-up. I can barely draw a straight line with a pen let alone a paintbrush and I do not like to go shopping and put together an outfit. You Night and the ScART program is about embracing life, and so why not embrace something new and try to paint? Add to this project that we are to face our scars, well, again, why not try something new?  I doubt I am unique – I do not look at my scars. I deal with the bodily pain all day, every day, because of the scar tissue, but I have no need to look at them. I appreciated the opportunity to do just that with this exercise. My immediate interpretation of my scars was one of a ‘journey’. They look like railroad tracks.

What did you learn from your ScART program? When I arrived at Painting with a Twist, the artwork was just beautiful – white on white and peaceful. It was a bad pain day though. My scars were ‘screaming’. I ended up with a different thought about my scars. Emil Zola once said, “I came to live out loud”. I chose bold colors today. I am excited. I have started a relationship with the scars, and thus with myself. I have interpreted them in two different ways already. I am excited to continue to evolve this relationship with my scars.

Name: Elaine S.

What caused your scar? Breast Cancer

What are your thoughts and attitude about your scar? I admit, ScART was right up my alley. Any artistic endeavor is welcomed by me. My scars don’t really bother me. To me, they are proof that I am stronger than the cause of the scar. Having the opportunity to paint them, for me, was fun!

What did you learn from your ScART program? I really intended to be more abstract than I was. Since Grand Isle is my favorite place in the world, I have gone there since I was a little girl with my family. Grand Isle is what appeared in my picture. My scars became the edge of the water and the breakers or rock jetties you can find along the beach in places. Instead of a weakness, they represent a strength or protection. When I shared the painting with my family, my dad’s immediate response was, “You have the rock jetties, those are important and necessary to protect the island.” Since I chose to have a double mastectomy to protect against ever having to do this again, it is fitting these scars now represent a protection of someplace so loved and treasured by me. What many of you may not know is my husband also has scars. He had a birth defect in his heart and had to have aortic valve replacement at 41 years old. My kids have had to deal with the mortality of both of their parents in a short amount of time. I cannot wait for us to paint his scars to hang next to mine in our bedroom.

Name: Sandy H.

What caused your scar? Breast Cancer

What did you learn from your ScART program? The Blues......Blue has always been my favorite color and I felt like I had the "blues" as I went through my surgeries and treatments. I stared at the canvas for a while trying to determine how to portray my scars in a positive way. I finally picked up the brush, dabbled with blues and greens and some other colors to brighten it up. As it progressed, it made me think of calming blue waters like the ocean.......making me wish I could hear the waves crashing against the shoreline.......

Name: Elaine R.

What caused your scar? Breast Cancer

What are your thoughts and attitude about your scar? ScART opened up a whole new way for me to become closer to myself. My scar is 19 years old and cancer was never a negative experience for me, in fact I made it a playful experience. But when I drew my scar, I realized that I have given more attention to my toenails, and if you look at the chipped off polish you will see how much attention that is. So I got to meet my scar, thought it was beautiful and had loving conversations with it. Risking to do a piece of art in front of my peers was yet another experience. I am an overachiever but I always feel like my work is not going to be good enough. Like I am being judged. And so at first, the painting part was stressful but I am happy with how it turned out.

What did you learn from your ScART program? The experience was one of continued emotional growth, self love and self acceptance. My lesson, as always, is to learn to enjoy the journey, not the destination.

What advice do you have for other people? To let go and let God. And to remember that we all are still a work in progress.

Name: Judy R.

What caused your scar? Breast Cancer

What did you learn from your ScART program? The picture of my scar represents me "whole again". It's a miracle and a testament to the power of God and the love I have for Jesus. My scar is a reminder to thank Him everyday!

Name: Tammy B.

What caused your scar? Breast Cancer

What are your thoughts and attitude about your scar? I had a bit of a snarky attitude toward my scar before participating in ScART. I was grateful it wasn’t larger and out of control, yet still miffed that it was on my body at all, piercing the very skin that I took such pride in preserving. As a fashion model, the presence of my scar was out of place. However, as a cancer survivor, it was my “warrior card” and proof of battle.

What did you learn from your ScART program? As I picked up my brush to paint this lovely conundrum at Painting with a Twist, I was in for a transformative evening. A basic horizontal cut with a dot atop in its actual appearance, I thought about what that placement of the scar meant to me. Nothing. I turned it sideways and upside down. Maybe. I could change it to something abstract and poetic. In its original shape, it appeared to be a sleeping woman with a moon behind her. Too perfect, I thought. It went sideways and appeared to be a woman being chased by an orb. Too creepy, I thought. It went upside down and I saw a landscape with a magic egg. Hmmm, now that’s poetic, but too storybook fairytale. So I went with the reclining woman and moon idea, because I am “perfect” in the eyes of God. Still, while others chose a myriad of happy colors, I chose dark, solemn colors because I had not fully embraced the perfection of this puckered, crooked carving in this flesh of mine. “Give me the colors of a dark and stormy night” I requested. I picked up my brush and began to paint my story. This is a testament to the adage, “Life happens when you make plans.” I had a plan in mind about what I was going to paint, but by the end of the session, it turned into something else. I wanted to try a clever trick and create an intentional column of paint drippings and runnings that the instructor demonstrated so effortlessly to us. It went well but I wasn’t really sold on the creative outcome. My reclining woman looked like she had been skewered, not crying, and not in an abstract and breathtaking setting. I just messed up my painting!!! I thought. Then something told me to just breathe and relax. Everything is okay. Every stroke is perfect. Every painting a work of art. Suddenly my column of drippings found some new paint along the sides. Maybe I could turn them into trees. It was going well until my wrist slipped and I accidently dabbed a black mark on the canvas. Needless to say, I was disappointed. However, I stayed the course and turned that black dot into something else. Enter the reeds; the wheat-looking flora; the post-apocalyptic bronzy hues and pewter metallics. In a nutshell, my poetic “reclining woman of repose” turned into an eerie coastal marsh just before a storm of Armageddon. I had gone from the tranquility of the Garden of Eve in Genesis to the desolate wastelands in Revelations. Even so, I am pleased with my work.

What advice do you have for other people? The ScART event gave me an opportunity to celebrate the battle scar of our disease. Isn’t this how life is sometimes? We start off on one trajectory and end up flipped around and upside down many times. There’s got to be some humility in that human situation, it is a reminder to “Let go and let GOD!”

Name: Sonya W.

What caused your scar? Breast Cancer

What are your thoughts and attitude about your scar? I was diagnosed, but not staged, near the end of my pregnancy. Post-delivery imaging revealed metastatic disease. Early scars included a thoracic biopsy to confirm metastatic disease and the installation of my port. I was told I would not be a candidate for a mastectomy, but the unusual nature of my first recurrence allowed me the choice of a mastectomy with no reconstruction. I gladly chose surgery hoping to extend my time with my two young children. In painting my scars, I wanted to convey hope and put my loss and anger behind me.

What did you learn from your ScART program? I was excited to hear about the ScART Project. I felt the free writing exercises and painting experience would be extremely cathartic, and they were. Writing to my scars and writing responses from them allowed me to address my sense of loss and anger and to address what I had gained and how I have grown since diagnosis and treatment. I did not want to magnify the scars and have them dominate the canvas, so I included a neck, chest, upper torso landscape with predominantly pink tones behind one shoulder and more blues on the other shoulder. I used gold to for the lines delineating my body because there have been many silver linings and golden opportunities since my diagnosis and as a result of the scars I have accumulated throughout diagnosis and treatment. My son’s favorite color is blue. I wanted blue and gold to dominate the canvas with warmth and comfort and hope and a sense of natural life processes. I was a bit frustrated with my lack of brushstroke techniques to execute the textures I had hoped but I was happy to see the colors play out in the cathartic manner I had hoped for.

Name: Deborah T.

What caused your scar? Throat Cancer

What are your thoughts and attitude about your scar? Participating in ScART was yet another step along my healing journey from Stage 4 Throat Cancer. Two years ago I was diagnosed, and after 8 weeks of chemo and 7 weeks of radiation therapy, I am now cancer free. My radiation burns were deep and painful, but they healed. Now I am left with scar tissue that encircles my neck, creating a squeezing sensation. I tried to depict those internal scars in my art. The concentric rings represent the constant tightness and pressure I feel every day. I chose vibrant reds, pinks and gold to mimic the healing energy flowing through my scarred neck.

What did you learn from your ScART program? Painting with fellow cancer survivors has been an honor and a blessing. Hearing stories from the other participants empowers me to face any fear or doubt about my future.

Name: Carolyn M.

What caused your scar? Breast Cancer

What are your thoughts and attitude about your scar? I was diagnosed with Inflammatory Breast Cancer December 2015. When I was told about the ScART program I knew I didn't want to portray my scars as an ugly burden but as a badge of honor. Without the scars I would not have survived.

What did you learn from your ScART program? I chose to use gold paint on the scars to symbolize my win against breast cancer. I chose to use greens and blues for the background representing peace and tranquility. I also included my scar from my port because I felt it was my lifeline in defeating this disease.

Name: Moira L.

What caused your scar? C-Section 

What are your thoughts and attitude about your scar? My scars gave life! My scars saved me and my four children. I'm so thankful for them everyday.

What did you learn from your ScART program? My paintings portray my feelings of my scars in two different styles. The first is an impressionist technique to add more beauty to my image of my body and scar. I love painting female figures, but when it's of yourself it's enlightening. 

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We Lift You Up Foundation

A portion of all proceeds from ScART Events benefit the We Lift You Up Fund -- a 501c3 public charity which creates empowering experiences for cancer survivors, with the ultimate objective of creating a national sisterhood of support.


ScART is an emotional support program created by Lisa McKenzie, Founder of You Night Empowering Events.  Founded in 2013, You Night offers year-round empowering group experiences that help women embrace life beyond cancer.