Tuesday, February 28, 2012


Each time I open my blog to read the kind and supportive comments left, and I see Tim's serene face and his light-filled eyes, with the boys snuggled tightly on each side of his strong shoulders, I can't believe his name is followed by a span of time defining the length of his life. I can't put into words how impossible this all seems.

I want to thank each and every person who took the time to lend their support and sympathy. Your words mean so very, very much and you will never know how much it meant and continues to mean.  And the irony is, I've never met any of you face to face, and yet you all feel like family!

Everyone has been so gracious and wonderful, I don't know how to thank you. Being rather shy people, we had become a tad reclusive of late and were regretful that we hadn't put ourselves out into the world much. Just last week we had joked that if anything ever happened to either of us, the other would be pretty much screwed since we actively maintained few if any friendships, preferring to selfishly, just enjoy each other.

How wrong I was!! Everyone Tim came into contact with had nothing but wonderful warm things to say about the kind of human being he was. I'm overwhelmed and comforted by each and every word, phone call, and visit.

I'm finding that when the feelings of loss, fear and searing pain begin to filter through, I am almost grateful. They are cathartic, healing. I also find that during those times, when I feel victimized by his loss, I don't feel him near me at all. However, when I quiet my mind and center myself and go within, I feel he's closer to me than my own breath. It feels as though he never left.

The deep terror in the pit of my stomach subsides when I turn within and spend time with the still small voice that has guided me for the past ten years on my journey to inner peace. Without this path I would be completely lost forever. I've never experienced a relationship like this. After almost 20 years we could still talk from dawn till dusk, still fascinated by what each other had to say. We marveled at the fun we had and how much we enjoyed each others company on a daily basis. No guilt or regret for not getting those sweet things said here. It was near constant.

I'm hesitantly but pleasantly surprised that my work is calling to me. The canvas feels, for the first time in my life, like it might be a safe place to be.  And even even though he'll no longer be coming home after work to see what I've done and share his thoughts, I know he'll be with me all day as I paint.  He will get me through this. My journey to inner peace will get me through this. My family and friends, both from cyberspace and close to home will get me through this.

I will survive, but I know will never be the same... and I don't mean that in any negative way. My life was blessed by the presence of this incredible man and I will not do him the disservice of filling it now with darkness and pain because I can no longer physically see or touch him. That would be selfish and not what he would want. We were far too close for him not to be with me now, in some way, and I must accept that.

Thank you everyone from the bottom of my heart. And most of all thank you, Tim, for loving me and for sharing your incredible spirit with me for the last 20 years. You were a gift, and I have a feeling you will just keep on giving— as long as I keep my arms open to receive.

Friday, February 24, 2012

TIMOTHY F. BERRY 1967-2012

I am numb as I write this because it can't possibly be real, but beyond all hope it is. Wednesday morning as I tried to wake Tim for work, it became painfully clear that he was no longer alive. He was only 45 years of age.

I've been inundated with phone calls and visits from family, friends and co-workers offering me comfort and company and I can honestly say I don't know what I would do without them.

I'm not sure about painting, I'm not sure about anything as nothing was real or meant anything unless Tim was a part of it. I hope to be back soon but only time will tell. I won't know anything until the numbness wears off and I begin to try and process a loss I cannot even put into words.

Tim, you are and always will be the answer to my every prayer, my every hope and my every dream. You are the kindest, most generous, selfless person I have ever met, and it is an honor to be your wife, partner and best friend for almost 20 blissful years. I will carry your memory with me until my own heart stops beating, although I think it already did, on Wednesday morning.

My life will never be the same. I love you.

Suzanne, Raz and Blu Berry

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

DMB CHALLENGE - "Tools of the Trade"

10x30" oil on canvas  SOLD

It's that time again! This month, it was my turn to choose our subject, and I chose "Tools of the Trade." We were free to use any tools, from any trade.

I chose eyes as my "tools" for two reasons. They are integral to most occupations and I thought it would be a great way to continue my "body parts" series. Sneaky.

I got a late start and didn't have the time to paint the canvas black. I think I prefer working on a black canvas but the white didn't present many problems, except that feeling of filling the canvas a lot sooner.

I'm very happy with the results and feel that this series, as it develops, will define it's own style and feeling. I've been besotted with Jenny Saville (here featured from a 2009 post on the Women Painting Women blog) lately. Such incredible brush and color work!

I absolutely love visiting the WPW blog. Such inspiration and talent! Amazing! Digressing. My point here is that I plan to wield my paintbrush with much more abandon...at some point. I'm finding it best to take in all the inspiration I can and then sit down to work and just see what happens.

Also, if you are an artist or even if you're not, you might find this site interesting...


It's literally a video magazine featuring today's prominent artists in demonstrations and interviews! I purchased two issues and downloaded them quickly and easily. The videos are so inspirational and informative that along with my morning web crawl, I try to fit in a demonstration by one of the magazine's featured artists. Nothing like being intimidated to get those creative juices flowing.

And, before I try to come up with a clever segue to lead you into the challenge group's response to "Tools of the Trade," I would like to announce that this post and all posts to follow will be created and written by Suzanne_version 1.01. This new and improved version of the artist has been updated with new software that will all but eliminate any residual whining, insecurity and doubt that previously surrounded her work. I'm pumped! Let the creativity and healing begin!

Sorry, no clever segue except to give a belated and warm welcome to our new incredibly gifted members: Mark Adams, Becky Joy and Mary Maxam! Enjoy and thanks so much for stopping by.

“A Painter’s Handful’
8”x10” oil
©2012 Mary Maxam

© Becky Joy

“Barber Tools”
Oil on hardboard 6”x8”
©2012 Diana Moses Botkin

“Bluebird En Plein Air”
oil on panel, 4x4”
©Vicki Ross

“Tools of the trade - Bartender”
6” x 8” Oil on panel
© Mark Adams

Sunday, February 12, 2012


8x8"  oil on cradled hardboard $85 plus shipping


Meet Shazam! She's an artist and obviously very shy. The minute I asked her to pose she immediately turned and ran, which explains this rather, shall we say, unflattering view.

Shazam lives in the artist's colony, right behind the hot tub but not too far from the fire pit, with her husband Tom and two pet fire-flies, Sparky and Ralph. She loves being an artist and has recently, at the urging of the members of the colony, decided to embrace her ability and enjoy her work.

A collective sigh of relief was heard coming from behind the hot tub.

We'll see!

We'll see!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

BLUE LEAVES 1 in progress

12x12" oil on linen  in progress

I'm still here! It feels like it's been awhile. I've been working on commissions and not being obsessed with finishing "Laura".

I'm so grateful for the wonderful comments I've gotten on that painting, I can't thank everyone enough. It's hard not to feel like  a real artist reading comments like that, but I'm sure I'll manage somehow. Kidding.

Working on a painting that opens up the possibility of a change in direction brings up so much stuff. Realizing how much of my self-concept is tied up into being an artist isn't at all a comfortable feeling. Suddenly painting hands are beyond the scope of my ability, hair begins to get muddy, matted and heavy and it becomes close to impossible to create the right perspective on those damn containers. All imagined, all silly but if I don't acknowledge the poop it builds up and before you know it I'm in the middle of a poop storm— so I took a break and played amongst the leaves.

It's all so ridiculous. Why can't I be a hard working successful artist? What do I think is going to happen if I paint with some consistency and enjoy compliments, attention and sales? Sure there's the "other shoe" problem. You know what I mean. Things are going well and you begin to get uncomfortable waiting for the sound of that other shoe hitting the floor but that's not it.

I'm reading an incredible book right now entitled "Power vs Force, The Hidden Determinants of Human Behavior," by David R. Hawkins. The basic premise is that realized human power has it all over force. And by power the author isn't talking about bullying, oppression or might. He's talking about kindness, tolerance and joy. The kind of power that made it possible for Gandi to defeat the British Empire.

One calibrates on the map of human consciousness (20 being the base and 1000 the highest) according to what one feels.  For example, exceedingly violent, hate-filled folks calibrate at 20, Mother Theresa calibrated at 700 plus. And the gist is that you attract what you project. I know what you're thinking but I assure you, no cosmic muffinery here, we're talkin' scientific fact! It's a fascinating read for both the die hard, show me the facts realists (Tim) and your basic cosmic muffin (moi).

The whole book resonated but this passage in particular is perfect for my ramblings above:

"All limited self-definitions create fear because they create vulnerability. Our perceptions are essentially distorted by our own self-definition, which in turn is qualified by identifying with our limitations. Error occurs when we cling to the belief that I am "that." Truth is unveiled when we see that one has "that" or does "that, instead of is that."

Total growth spurt!! So...conceptualize, paint and reap the benefits of it with joy. It's not who I am. It's what I do!

I do go on don't I? Anyway, the leaves are relaxing for me like the folds and I think going back to "Laura" with a clear head and new eyes will be beneficial. We have a section of our backyard that is comprised of woods with lots of ground cover. This past summer I took the camera out and snapped some really attractive sections. I have a triptych in mind but I'm going take my time and enjoy this one.

We'll see. Thanks so much for stopping by!

Thursday, February 2, 2012


8x8"  oil on cradled hardboard $85.00 plus shipping

Meet Edna! She's pretty aloof. No one knows much about her except she's always in a hurry. She's just been invited to the big tree at the end of the drive for tea on Sunday. Folks are takin' bets as to whether or not she'll show.

We'll see.