Meaghan Troup regularly sets up her easel on the seventh floor of the Penn State Hershey Cancer Institute to paint and interact with patients and their families. She creates oil paintings depicting calming, natural landscapes. Many of her pieces – included in the Center Stage Pick A Pic program – show a scene that does not include a person or an animal so that the viewer can “own the space” and enjoy a visual place of rest.
There are three pervading influences upon Meaghan’s work. “Foremost is my personal relationship with Christ, and faith in God and his Word. God is the master painter who tenderly and carefully places us – his strokes, on his canvas of life, in which he invested his all. Only God knows the depth of our tone, the vivacity of our character, and the length of our stroke,” Meaghan says. “He generates all that exists, imparting grace, strength, and the ability to fully love. God has bestowed me with the talent and ability to reflect this through art.”
Having battled Leukemia as a teenager, Meaghan says, “Statistically, I’m not supposed to be alive today. My life is a series of miracles.” She shares her story as a source of inspiration for those currently fighting cancer in the hospital. “I tell them that there is abundant life after cancer. I have received many blessings from my experience.” The life lessons learned from this struggle potently impacted her work because it altered the way she perceives the gift of life. “Facing the possibility of death gave me a heightened appreciation for life and a new perspective to view the world. I choose to see the beauty and good in the world, regardless of the circumstances I face.” Many describe her work as simultaneously vivid and peaceful – a quality that she believes stems from this experience, and also identifies each piece as unmistakably hers.
Meaghan’s paintings are heavily inspired by nature. She views the beauty around us as one of the most amazing and transparent ways that God touches us with his presence. Growing up in the beautiful Finger Lakes region of New York State provided endless stunning landscapes that continue to be reflected in her work. The nature surrounding her current residence in the Central Pennsylvania region also inspires with many beautiful waterways, fields, rolling hills, and mountains. These aspects of life are often disregarded as we go through our daily routines,” she says. “Our eyes are open, but we forget to look.”
Painting only with palette knives creates energetic texture characteristic of her work. “This impasto technique allows for dynamic texture and a heightened sense of depth in each piece,” Meaghan says. “It is my desire that, through my art, individuals from all walks of life can be reminded of the beauty, joy, and hope that persists in this world if we take the time to notice it. I also hope that my work inspires peace and encourages viewers as they face the situations that arise each day,” she says.
“I learned that cancer doesn’t have to steal your joy.” Meaghan says she credits her mother for making her realize this when she felt angry and bitter. “She asked me, ‘Is this how you want people to know you, or how you want to leave this world?’ She encouraged me to focus on what I still had – my artistic talent – rather than what I had lost.” Now a wife and mother herself, Meaghan states that she wants to provide a space of reprieve for other patients who see her work, and through art communicate a mutual recognition of their unspoken sentiments.
When painting onsite at the hospital, Meaghan says she understands many of the issues and emotions that patients and their families are experiencing. “My art is meant to be a reminder of the joy that is present despite hardships. You are given a prognosis, but what is inside of you cannot be accounted for. I had a drive and will to live. Faith brought me through. I will be on this earth however long God needs me here,” she says.