Wednesday, October 23, 2013

LOUY and Tim's Validation

12x12" oil on canvas


Meet Louy! I so appreciate his pet parents patience, thank you so much. Louy, unfortunately, is also no longer with us. I hope the painting helps to bring his memory closer to those who miss him so very much.

I think I'm beginning to prefer the smoother linen surface to this heavyweight canvas. I think, not really sure yet. We'll see. Wow, that was not a real smooth segue, sorry, but...

Moving on, I'd like to thank you for all of the comments on the palette knife painting! I appreciate them so much! Clearly, I wasn't sure about that painting at all, but the comments and a sale shut me up and steered me in the direction of.... hell yeah! Let's do another! Maybe. I think. We'll see.

And, I know it was a tease and a set up to mention that I couldn't wait to share Tim's validation of his presence while painting his birthday portrait and then not do it, but I couldn't help myself... so I'll dive right in:

First, it should be explained that I have a deep and abiding love for peanuts. In the shell. Roasted. No salt. Love em. And lately, I've been eating far too many of them so I swore, during the painting of Tim's portrait, that I would resist temptation and not buy any.

So I finished painting him on a Friday. Having spent the previous two weeks in the studio with himself and feeling pretty satisfied, I determined that a reward was in order. And what better than a nice, big bag of roasted, unsalted peanuts! Fridays are particularly difficult as I've shared previously, so why not? Have at it Suz, you deserve it.

So at the market, ignoring the siren's call of the seductive aromas emanating from the bakery department, I headed for the produce section...the healthy produce section...and scored a bag of my favorite brand. I can always rationalize that they are indeed good for me, just not in the mass quantities that I enjoy consuming. As I placed the bag on the conveyer belt, I promised me that I would make it last all weekend and not mindlessly chomp away while mesmerized by the flat screen.

Of course, come time to hit the sheets, the bag was all but empty. More than a bit disappointed with myself, I rolled it up and deposited what was left in the kitchen cupboard. Damn peanuts!...I swore to myself, why is that I can't feel this way about carrot sticks, broccoli or even pretzels?

The next day Laura, our friend from the job, was due to stop by for a visit. Since Tim passed, Laura has become a very close and trusted friend. She was, like most of the folks Tim worked with, very upset when he left us and she has been incredibly attentive, kind and patient as I make my way through my days without my best friend's physical presence.

I had emailed an electronic version of the portrait for her to see earlier in the week, so after our greeting at the door, she rushed past me and into the studio to have a look at it. As I joined her, she was excited to share a dream that she'd had the night before but wasn't sure what it meant. Maybe, she said, I could make sense out of it.

In the dream, I was standing in front of the painting and working on it while she stood behind me watching when she heard a voice say..."I was here!" She turned to see Tim standing in the corner of the room! He wasn't clearly solid but she knew it was him and she was very excited and wanted to let me know he was present so she implored him to...."give me something so I can let Suz know you were here!"

With that his arm came forward, now becoming more solid. He extended his hand, palm up, fist closed. As he slowly opened his hand, there in the middle of his palm was a lone peanut, unopened, in the shell!

"That was it!" she said looking confused. "I can't understand why he didn't show me a pistachio nut since you told me those were your favorite!" (which they are but so high in calorie I try to limit my exposure to them).

I too was confused and wondered as well why he would show her a....WHOA!!...WAIT...a peanut?? I ran into the kitchen, retrieved the now almost empty bag and ran back to show her what I had almost finished night before!! I then went on to explain my decision to buy a bag to reward myself for finishing the painting and how I was going to try and not consume them in one sitting.

WHAT??? I was so excited! I cried tears of joy and relief and we both were so shocked all we could do was laugh and run from room to room while Laura kept repeating..."you're're kidding right...are you kidding?" We were both pretty freaked out. So much so that when my friend Jason, the contractor arrived to attend to something, and I began to introduce them to each other, I forgot his name! I'm still apologizing for that!

Now those of you with more rational minds might think I'm making this stuff up or imagining it because I miss him so much. I've always been interested in the mysteries of the other side and now, for obvious reasons, it's become my passion, so each time something like this occurs I go from elated to inquisitive to dismissive and back to elated again, all in the span of five minutes! It's pretty incredible and as much as I need and want these kinds of interactions, it's hard to believe that something you want so very much is right there in front of you and has actually taken place!

The medium, George Anderson, said that anytime there are coincidences, or sightings or feelings and dreams, to accept them as a loved one making contact. He went on to say that it's fine that some folks might think I'm koo-koo. It's not about that, it's about what makes me feel good, what makes it easier to get through the day and know with my heart that Tim is always near and will never leave my side.

What puzzles is my inability to dream and contact him directly although George insists I do but just don't remember. I can see the wisdom in that. I wouldn't do much vertically if I could recall spending time with him in my dreams at night. In fact, I'd most likely spend most of my time sleeping. I only remember two distinct times. One the first night after he left and the second seeing him in a big comfortable chair, laughing during what felt like a party. But that was for just a few minutes and I remember being quite put out that he didn't seem the least bit excited to see me. But, since I'm told we're together most nights, I gave him a pass.

I recently stumbled upon a blog,, maintained by a grieving mom whose son committed suicide in 2009. She chats with him daily through a medium and blogs about what he says about the afterlife. I'm also reading her book, "My Son and the Afterlife." It's fascinating stuff. I've been researching a lot and am bowled over by what I've found and read.

Until one loses someone, it's impossible to imagine how one might react or might try or believe in and do to regain some kind of contact and for me personally, it's about getting through each day with a positive and grateful attitude. It's not about what's believable, what's possible or real or about me being koo-koo or anything else, it's about feeling good, it's about living on and knowing that you'll see that person again, about being grateful and full of joy recalling the time spent together on the physical plane, about embracing what is and accepting and finding peace. This happened! There are no backsies, no do-overs, no if only-ies. I can deny it, refuse to accept it, get angry at the Universe, fate, my own inability to save him, all of which I've done at times, but none of that will change what happened or help me.

Without acceptance there's just darkness. Emptiness. And that's not what this is about. Personally I don't believe that the death of the body is a punishment, some kind of lesson, or a permanent loss. It's just a different state of consciousness. I have horrible spans of time where all I do is cry but it passes and then the sun comes out and I feel him near. I firmly believe that if one maintains an open, kind, giving, compassionate and grateful attitude, our loved ones who've moved on are closer than we can possibly imagine and will find ways to show us just that, even if it's with one single peanut in a shell!

Thanks so much for visiting and again, many many thanks for your patience, interest and kindness. And also again, attempting to convey how much it means to me is just not possible with words.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013


"Flower of the Sun"
12x12" oil on canvas


Palette knife! Arrrgghhhh! I've come to detest those two words these past few weeks! That was the challenge this month. Paint exclusively with a palette knife! "Thanks Vicki!"...she said, her words dripping with sarcasm.

I always thought I would enjoy painting with a palette knife. I was wrong. I loathed it and it doesn't look good for a second date. The only sparks that flew were the ones coming from my progressively exsplicit potty mouth!

But, it IS a challenge after all, and it WAS a challenge. For me, it was like painting with a tree stump! Creating depth was nearly impossible because every new stroke brought whatever I was painting forward, so going back to try and add a shadow of some sort wasn't working. And mixing colors was not happenin' all! I have a new found, deep respect and admiration for artists who create extraordinary work with a palette knife. I, unfortunately, will never be among them.

I am, however, okay with the outcome. It does look like a palette knife painting so I guess it works. The one thing I adored about this method was clean up! Even between applications of different colors...just wipe and dip! Nice! And who knows, one should never say never right?

And I would like to thank and give photo reference credit to my dear friend Brenda Ferguson. She has an amazing piece of land graced with abundant flowers of the sun and was kind enough to let me use one of her shots for this painting. 

And as a post script, after all my ranting about painting with a tree stump, the darn thing sold!! And quicker than any other painting I've done. Okay! I have no problem being wrong about this palette knife thing! Excuse me, I'm off to the studio to apologize to the knife and retrieve it from the bin.

Also, Tim validated his presence in the studio while I was painting his portrait, and I can't wait to share how.


6x8" oil on hardboard
©2013 Diana Moses Botkin

"#17" (of 100 variations)
7.5x7.5" oil on paper

And, thank you so very much for each and every word in each and every comment left on the painting of Tim's birthday portrait. You all truly made it a celebration of joy for me, for us!