Berendina Maazel

Looking at her interpretations of sunlit landscapes, whimsical animals and brilliant flowers, you'd never guess that Tarzana artist Berendina Maazel has spent nearly all of her life in agonizing pain. Her hands and body crippled by the rheumatoid arthritis that struck when she was 17, the spirited octogenarian nevertheless has pursued a successful artistic career. Since 1996, the widow of renowned concert pianist Marvin Maazel has exhibited dozens of her watercolor and acrylic paintings at Los Angeles Orthopaedic Hospital, donating the proceeds from their sale to fund the treatment of disadvantaged children. Several of her paintings currently hang in the hospital's newly opened Renee and Meyer Luskin Children's Clinic. "It is exciting for me to be able to use my talents to help the children," Maazel says. "That I am able to help those less fortunate than myself has made my battle against rheumatoid arthritis seem insignificant in comparison because many of the children at the hospital lead daily fights for their lives. This alone has provided me with the inspiration to join their cause."