My name is Kathlene Melvin. I grew up in Michigan, but was born on a hot July day in 1965 at a Naval base in in Rota, Spain. Because I was born premature, I have had many years of health problems, and even more problems as I get older.
I was diagnosed at the early age of 14 with arthritis and a heart abnormality called mitral valve prolapse. I started drawing as an outlet and came to find I had a talent for the arts. At the age of 20, I was diagnosed with epilepsy, right partial lobe seizures which were thought to be brought on by carbon monoxide poisoning from a car I had been driving.
I didn't let that stop me. I raised three wonderful children and worked as an emergency medical technician and a nurse assistant. Then the time came when my seizures became worse and more frequent to the point I could not work, even on medication.
In 2004, I decided to show my kids that you can do anything you put your mind to. I started college and went for an associate’s degree in interior design. I had a rough time trying to remember what I learned the previous semester and working to raise my family, all while suffering with seizures. I graduated with a business degree in interior design. I couldn't have made it without the support of my sisters, parents, children and instructors who devoted extra time to help me.
I then moved to Grand Rapids and married my high-school sweetheart. Due to severe arthritis, heart problems, diabetes complications, uncontrolled seizures, memory problems and other ailments, I'm unable to work. I have been disabled since 1999. So I paint to cope and to live!
I am now a grandma! I have learned along the way that even though life throws you barriers, with strength and determination you can make it over them a better person.