A Brooklyn cancer survivor has channeled his hopeful outlook on life through painting landscapes of the borough and beyond.
Windsor Terrace resident Frank Noll has turned his hobby of putting brush to canvas into a coping tool ever since he was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2014 and he said that it has helped him remain thankful for life, even on its toughest days.
“It was one of the tools to help me get through hard times,” Noll said.
The 68-year-old has been in his second remission after a lung resection surgery in 2019, when doctors removed half of his left lung to battle the disease, but he said that even after all the treatment, his art has kept him positive.
“I can get into a flow doing my art, not thinking about the what-ifs,” he said.
One of his works, an oil on canvas of a beach sunrise scene titled “Another Day,” was one of 12 works chosen out of more than 50 submissions by the cancer focused medical magazine Cancer Updates Research and Education for their 2020 calendar, and he said the painting reflects his appreciation for life.
“To me, watching the sun come up when you’re out there in the morning, it’s a reminder that it’s another day, another day of life,” he said.
The artwork is based off of a beach on Long Island, but the artist has also painted some scenes closer to home, such as the Brooklyn and Verrazzano bridges.
With the current outbreak of the respiratory disease COVID-19, Noll has had to take extra care of his health, but he said that his battle with cancer has prepared him to face the stresses of a health crisis.
“We all know that we’re going to die some day, but we think that’s some far off day in the future,” he said. “When I was diagnosed it brought me to a moment to think about how important life is. I think I’m much more prepared with dealing with what’s going on and it hasn’t hit me as stressfully as some of my friends.”
Noll advised that keeping a routine helped him during uncertain times and he continues to stick to his schedule even as the coronavirus confines him mostly to the indoors and his back yard.
“My wife loves it, because I’m doing all the things she’s asked me to do, like clean and organize,” he said.
A competitive bike rider and walker, he still ventures into Prospect Park — but limits his visits to Brooklyn’s backyard to no later than 5:30 am to beat the crowds.
“Just to keep as physically active as you can,” he said. “For me, getting out and continuing to do that is important.”