Life in two dimensions
For Marsha Balian, it takes two careers to attain the perfect balance. As a nurse practitioner with Kaiser Permanente in Oakland, Calif., she fulfills her desire to serve. As a mixed-media artist, she feeds her creative needs. The social aspect of nursing also acts as a counterweight to the solitary nature of life as an artist.
Each pursuit nourishes and benefits the other. Sometimes a patient’s story sparks Balian’s creativity. Often her artwork—two-dimensional pieces that incorporate found objects, words and images with painted surfaces, pencil-drawn faces and a dose of humor—helps her process all that she experiences in nursing. “While I can’t directly explain the link,” Balian says, “being an artist gives me something that enables me to be more human with my patients.”