Wednesday, November 28, 2012


16x20"  oil on heavyweight canvas NFS

This is Pinot.  I'd like to thank his Mom for her patience. It's taken ages for me to get this done. It seemed as though I would never finish and there's so much more I'd like to do but I'm ridiculously behind, so I called it.

There's a difference that I became aware of while working on Pinot. I can feel a shift in the perception of my work. It's a good thing, I think, however it has affected the length of time it usually takes to complete a painting. But there are other factors to be considered now, of course.

I hope everyone had a nice Thanksgiving. I counted it as my first official "real" holiday without Tim's physical presence. It sucked but it didn't, if that makes any sense. My good friends, Jason and his wife Lori, visited that morning and made pumpkin pancakes and turkey sausage for breakfast. It was wonderful and I was so grateful. They assured me that they weren't making sure the widow Berry wasn't alone on a holiday but I couldn't help but feel a bit like the lonely shut in. Silly I know. Even sillier, on some level I think I might have thought that perhaps Tim would be rewarded with a one-day pass to spend the day with us. Strange things dance around in ones head at a time like this. But really, let's face it, I wasn't all that grounded before he left!

After they left I had myself a good cry but it was cut short by the distinct feeling that Tim was not havin' it! I could hear him scold me in my head..."Come one now, you know the deal! I'm right here and I'm perfectly fine. No more ugly cries, vacate the pity pot and get on with it. We will see each other again and until then you need to stay positive!"

Okay. I'll try.

After that, the day was actually a good one. I had invites from Tim's bro Conor and his wife Sheila and a few other friends, but preferred to spend my first Thanksgiving without Tim...with Tim, if that makes any sense. I know it sounds strange but there's no way I could ever talk myself into feeling as good as I do sometimes if he wasn't here with us. It's uncanny. Either that or I've completely lost my stuff.

This snap is from one of our first dates back in '93. I think we were at a party for a co-worker. We were always so nervous because we were both so shy. That's one of the reasons we were so perfect together.

I swore I saw him today as I was driving to the market. He was driving this big SUV and smiled right at me! It was startling! George Anderson and Theresa Caputo (the Long Island Medium on TLC) both say that it's not our imagination when we think we see a loved one who is no longer with us.

That's fine with me. Even that quick glimpse today did wonders.

Also, please forgive me, I'm almost half-way through my thank you's for the kind and generous comments left on my last post. I so appreciate your words of support and your patience. I had promised myself I'd get on them right away but again, time just got away from me.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Moses Botkin Challenge / November

6x6" oil on linen

It's a good thing I've gotten back to the challenge, I haven't been able to get started again since the storm. Yeah, I know, I do have a lot of excuses for not working, but ya gotta admit, they are good ones! More on that very badly behaved young lady named Sandy in a bit.

The theme this month was "Adulthood",  logically following last month's  theme of "Adolescence". This time I decided to look through some photos I'd taken this past summer that I had planned to use for a series entitled "Men at Work", but it never came to fruition. I'd get these ideas and feel energized but then quickly lose interest for obvious reasons. I thought, since the house was full of men working, I had a wonderful variety of models to choose from, why not use them?

This is Mike who owns a company that did work in the backyard. I am thrilled with the results and spent many hours this past summer enjoying the peace and communing with Tim, interrupted by the occasional crying jag and fleeting feelings of guilt for having made the changes. But, all in all, being able to spend my first summer without my best friend in that space, was a gift and helped immeasurably.

I tried something different with this painting. First I worked smaller than usual and secondly, I used only a minimal amount of Liquin. I mixed the colors and kept the paint thick while working and I really like the results. I'm looking forward to trying more like this.

Now. On to Sandy. What a mess. A week before I'd ever heard that name in conjunction with a storm, I sat down at the computer and logged on to the Weather site thinking it was late in the season and wasn't it wonderful that we made it through without a big hurricane hitting our area. Perhaps I shouldn't have done that.

The dire warnings all week before were, to say the least, terrifying. Unprecedented, Frankenstorm, Superstorm, and on and on and on. Everything conspired to create a never before seen weather event and it was headed right towards Long Island. I miss Tim more than I can express, as I've said many times, however, waiting for the storm to arrive without him was not a good time.

I have been very fortunate to have made life-long friends with the owners of the company that is working on our house and will be forever grateful for the help and caring shown me at this most difficult and frightening time. Thank you Jason and Lori!

And thank you too Eileen and Tad, Jon and Laura! I'll be forever grateful for your help and caring. And thank you too Conor and Sheila for your concern and love.

The night the storm arrived was really not fun but I kept focusing on my chosen path, had lots of wine and spent hours talking to Tim. I was typing an email to a friend when the power went out. It would not return for the next six days. And I was one of the lucky ones. As I type this there are thousands still in the dark. During the outage, I had two very unattractive melt-downs. No one escaped my rather loud, expletive-laden, pity-drenched tirades. Not even Tim.  But when they passed I decided that my frame of mind determined my experience so I did my best to realize how fortunate I was and that the lights would come on when they came on.

Something happens when one is deprived of the creature comforts that we take for granted every day. I had no idea what the extent of the damage was to the East Coast for three days. One of our close friends from work had his power restored so I was able to take a nice hot shower, do some laundry and watch the news. I realized then that I had been incredibly lucky. I only lost two small branches and not one single shingle took flight. And, I'm closer to the Long Island Sound than I am the Atlantic but not close enough to either to suffer any flood damage.

My friend Jason came over with a hot breakfast and took me for a ride to see some of the damage to the South Shore while we charged our cell phones. I was flabbergasted! When I returned home I decided to count my blessings, stock up on candles and books and get on with it. Unsafe as it was I had about 25 candles going, shut the bedroom doors and was quite warm while I read book after book by the strangely cold glow of my 2 foot long flashlight.

Needless to say, I was giddy with delight when the lights came back on and went around turning things on and off for an hour or so, running the water until it was hot, listening to the fridge go on and off warming my toes by the now clicking with life heating elements.

I hesitate to share this next bit because it makes me look, well, not very bright but what the hell. My neighbors came over on the first night without power to check on me which I really appreciated. We sat in the living room by candlelight talking about the storm, until inevitably one of them asked to use the bathroom. I asked, without thinking, if she had to do number 1 or number 2. She looked at me, surprised and basically, with her expression, asking why I needed to know. Well, there's no power, the toilets don't flush, I said wondering how she didn't realize that fact.

I had, in fact that very morning, headed out to the woods to answer nature's call because the power was out, so when my neighbor announced that the toilets would indeed flush, I was sure she was wrong. Of course they flushed and after a good 3 minutes of much needed laughter I was shown that I could use the gas stove as well. I was so happy to be shown that I was still able to flush and cook, on the first night without power, I didn't mind the least bit looking like a moron.

I'd like to extend my thoughts and prayers to those who lost loved ones, homes and possessions during this terrifying event. If you haven't yet and are able, please consider contributing whatever you can to help.

And again and again, your comments and caring as I go forward without Tim are helping me more than you'll ever know. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. 

And now enjoy these amazing paintings by the group:

"New Family"
6x8" oil on hardboard
©2012 Diana Moses Botkin

 "Father Frederick Hanna"
  Oil on Canvas
  24" x 36"
  ©2012 Mark Adams