By Melissa Newton, CBS 11 News

FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – They’re shedding their clothes and shedding light on an important cause. A number of North Texas women are baring it all for a new art project called ‘The Heart of Women‘.

Rashell Deering is a different person today than she was just a few years ago, she said. The 39-year-old credits the creative vision of Richardson artist A. Kaye.

“I came in here [art studio] the first time, head down, couldn’t think, couldn’t feel,” she recalled. “He made me believe in myself when I didn’t think many people did.”

Deering is one of the women featured in A. Kaye’s new collection of artwork, which raises money and awareness for various causes that impact women.

“I love to paint. I love to create. I love to interact with these women,” explained Kaye. “My mother endured more than most, and I am here because she protected me.”

Kaye says the women are both the artist and the canvas.

The subject’s paint whatever they want on a large sheet of paper or their own bodies, while Kaye, a former photojournalist, takes pictures. The photos are later made into abstract art using digital manipulation.

The project is done in the nude, and all of the paintings have to have a heart displayed in it. “The removal of the clothes is to unmask the woman,” Kaye said.

The Heart of Women‘ project was first intended to raise awareness of heart disease, which is the number one killer of women in America, but through the process the focus took a turn, as many of the women featured painted their past.

“I’m hearing stories about domestic violence and abuse, and I’m shocked,” Kaye said, “Someone is abused in America every 29 seconds.”

Deering is one of those women and says she kept the abuse from her ex-husband a secret, until A. Kaye’s project gave her a voice.

“I didn’t just throw paint up there, I threw my tears my sweat, my pain,” she said. “It brings out so much. The beatings I took, the rapes I had to endure, the lies, the betrayal… the pain.”

When Deering saw the final product on paper, her pain became a work of art that she now proudly displays.

“The women out there that are being hurt, not just physically, or verbally, but emotionally and mentally, who are watching their children being hurt,” she said, “Those are the ones I’m here for.”

The works featured in ‘The Heart of Women‘ project are available for purchase online. Portions of the proceeds benefit both domestic violence and heart disease prevention foundations.