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


  1. Yes, Suz, I love your posts! And your paintings are amazing. Happy for you that Sandy didn't do much damage and that you survived the "moron" incident! :) You sound better and I hope you are and will continue to paint and post. I am one of many that miss you!

  2. This portrait is amazing, Suzanne!! I can't stop looking at it..its awesome! Congratulations! and love your glad you're okay ...and I didn't know that I can use the stove by just putting a match to it! LOL thanks for sharing the rest of these amazing paintings with us...again!! "Adulthood" is beautifully painted.

  3. Oh Suz, you always make me laugh and cry in your posts. I love your forthright way of telling it how it is.

    First of all, your portrait of Adulthood is fabulous. Love those skin tones that only you can do so well.

    That sucks to have been without power for six days, it really makes you appreciate all it provides when it returns doesn't it? I'm glad you and your house and trees came away from Sandy relatively unscathed. It was quite the storm and good that you had some people watching over you.

    We get hurricanes here occasionally, usually just the tail end of them but a couple of years ago we got hammered and a couple of months ago lost many trees again to a hurricane's wind.

    Keep painting, keep talking, you have many fans and listeners.

  4. Nice to see this fabulous Challenge Painting. I love the nice thick paint and beautiful brushwork. It is really wonderful. So good you made it through the storm and have your home.

  5. This face is so nicely expressive.
    I am glad to hear about your recovery from Sandy, it's amazing to think about 6 days without power, at least you had your painting!
    Have a good week-end, Suz!

  6. You know, Suz, I can see why you have such good friends. You are so real and down to earth. I'm considered a pretty bright cookie and yet I've made that same mistake with the toilets. They only do not flush when one loses water. LOL I'm so glad you were able to make the best of a bad situation and if not fully enjoy the time without power, at least finding a way to stay cozy and take your mind off of it all. Books always do that for me. Or almost always. I love your painting, too. You've definitely caught a rugged and good looking man here!

  7. The paintings are amazing, especially the portrait at the top. That's such a frightening story about the storm, but isn't it kind of poignant and wonderful the way people come together in those times when protection and survival are the only thing on their minds. I think everybody comes away stronger and wiser from those situations. I'm glad you came through it alright! All the artwork is so good and so touching!

  8. Hi Suz,

    Your painting is wonderful! I have to agree this challenge is good for you. You sculpted his so well, I can just feel him. Great use of color too. It's nice you haven't lost your lovely touch.

    As for the rest, well you already know...

    Always a wonderful surprise to find you here. Sending you peace and harmony and of course hugs.

  9. I hadn't realised that you lived near the storm Suz - If I'd have known I'd have been emailing you checking that you were okay! Thank goodness you are! it must have been terrifying!!! This is a great post - firstly with a remarkable painting - but then of course it would be :0) And secondly, I laughed my head of at the last bit! That is SO funny! :0)

  10. It's good to know you and your place made it through the storm. Thank you for sharing your foibles with us. I think it draws us all closer together to know the struggles.

    I'm very glad you joined us again for this Challenge. Your paintings always amaze and inspire me. This piece is simply luscious. Keep working, dear Girl.

  11. Unas pinturas maravillosas, son geniales!

  12. It's a beautiful painting. He looks pensive, and like he's been through some storms himself. I love the variety in the interpretations of the theme.

  13. You captured the light in "Adulthood" beautifully! Even though there is no clear indicator, except the lighting, that your subject is outdoors, I can still feel it, smell it and hear it. You're so good!

    I'm glad to hear you 'weathered' the storm fairly unscathed. I thank God that you have such caring neighbors and friends to whom you can turn for strength, support and laughs.


  14. Number 1 or 2??? LOL!! I TOTALLY would have asked the same! That's what I would be thinking too. I'll blame it on my blonde hair, and you can blame it on the stress of the storm. He he. :D

    So glad you are okay Suze, that was such a scary thing. Thank goodness for your good friends close by. And I bet Tim maybe appreciated seeing your expletive filled tirade, I could see him chuckling about it maybe. ;)

    The painting is amazing my friend. I love the look of the thicker paint and can't wait to see more like this. It is gorgeous. You captured him perfectlly, I feel like I know him without ever having met him. Well done.

  15. Suzanne, glad you were physically unscathed after Sandy and that many friends are around you. That is funny about the bathroom. I was saying "Ya..that's what happens - no flushing." Does here, the water pumped into the house by electric from the well. We always have to have jugs of water to flush the loo when power is out. Laughing about it all probably helped you get through it. I love this painting especially the expression on his face.

  16. so glad you are ok suzanne and there wasn't damage ..had to smile laugh at your post !...very impressive portrait men at work sounds good

  17. Wonderful portrait, I can just imagine what kind of person he is, there is so much personality in this piece.
    So glad you survived the storm and had a funny story to tell as well! We should all be thankful for what we have and take for granted.

  18. Your paintings always take my breath away. This is so good. Great post. ;)

  19. Suzanne,
    Been awhile since I commented but I'm always checking in. Happy to hear you survived the storm without damage.
    Love the painting.
    Hope you have a Happy Thanksgiving!
    I know you have had a very tough year but I'll bet you can still fing plenty to br thankful for.

    Keep painting...

  20. What an incredible portrait. They say the soul is in the eyes and this man has soul - lots of it.


Your visits to my blog and the comments you leave here are an integral part of my creative process. They are helpful, supportive and well, let's face it, they feel really good! If I don't thank you personally, please allow me to thank you in advance for taking the time to stop by and leave your thoughts, they mean so much!