Monday, December 31, 2012


9x12 scratch board NFS

I'll be somewhat relieved when this particular holiday season is over to be honest. Keeping my outlook positive is really helping but it'll be nice to get back to not having to feel like I have to fake jolly. It's a difficult time of year for so many who've lost loved ones, both recently and in the past.

But it's also a time of renewal. Of possibly being able to accept what is and move forward. I know that I will never move on from loving and "losing" Tim but I can and must move forward, with his joyful memory as close to me as my next breath. I must say that the season has not been nearly as horrible as I expected. There really is something to this thought vibration thing. Invariably, when I choose the higher thought, my experience follows suit. Conversely, I've found the opposite to be true. The mornings I wake up and assume a victim posture, there's a lot of toe stubbing, plate dropping, deep depression and missing my best friend like crazy.

I know I've said the above many times in many different ways but I almost feel guilty not feeling constantly devastated, even though I know that's not what Tim wants. How silly to think that being in constant pain would please a loved one who has passed, as if it would show them how much they are missed.

Anyway, I've been doing a lot of purging and throwing out... still. I'm having some work done upstairs and I've been forced to get rid of a lot of stuff. Yesterday I cleaned out the "art" closet, which in reality is just a closet in one of the bedrooms up here. Over the years I'd stuffed it to near bursting with artwork, boards, books, papers and paintings and I finally had to face it all. Somewhere Tim is smiling. He was so after me to finally go through it all. I found some wonderful memories and work that we did in the early years when we used to throw down.

The scratch board above was done when I still lived with the 'rents, way back in the day. My last name was Barnes then but I replaced it with Berry in Photoshop. I remember being so proud of it, thinking that I'd been thrown a bone by the art gods. Working from complete darkness and picking out the light was quite a lesson in values. I'd love to try one again soon.

 I was particularly thrilled to find copies of these illustrations that Tim did of us in '95. Working in the same office at the same job for 15 years was such a gift and more fun than I can put into words. We kept each other sane—the pressure in the marketing department of a newspaper was incredibly intense. And he was so creative and eager to learn anything new, and such a positive influence. And after a hard day, we'd get in the car and just unload, complain, make funny noises and finally laugh until we arrived home. Our hearts were broken when I was asked to retire. We had hoped to one day find a way to work together again, but it was not to be.

In those days, Tim did so many illustrations, both for the paper and for fun. I'd always find a drawing or cartoon on my desk as a surprise. I am so fortunate to have so many loving memories.

I'd like to thank everyone for all of the support and kindness I've received through this most difficult year. Thank you for visiting and following my blog, for reading my posts and leaving messages that have helped so much, for flowers, for checking in to let me know I'm remembered, for being there. I hope to get back to some sort of normal schedule after the new year. My new studio is ready and I can't wait to get started.

I'm putting aside time each day to visit other blogs and see what I've missed and catch up on my thank yous. Until then, I wish you all a healthy, wealthy and safe New Year and again, I thank you from the bottom of my heart for caring.


  1. First, I love the painting on the scratch board..amazing!!! and the illustration of the two of you is wonderful...I love it, Suzanne!!! It sounds like you're slowly moving'll never forget and we don't want you to but soon you'll be able to think of him and smile again.!!
    Happy and Healthy New Year Suzanne..SO glad I know you!!

  2. Hi there Suz!... What a wonderfully powerful feel scratchboard rendering provides with its strong use of contrast and etched line!

    Perhaps there is a lesson to be learned from the scratchboard technique that one can apply to one's own journey. Out of complete darkness... "Light" and form can be coaxed and made manifest to create whole new form and meaning... where it could least be expected to exist.

    Through perseverence and a firm and committed belief in one's abilities... and the courage to risk entering the void... a totally unexpected and new image can... and will appear... if you try... and believe!

    Do continue to keep making your beautiful Art Suz... Tim would expect that of "You." Do continue to "keep his memory as close to you as your next breath."

    Perhaps we might all consider to live... from the first moments of 2013 this evening... using that very same promise to our Selves... and to those we love and cherish. It's all that really counts for any of us... isn't it my dear Friend?

    We'll have "You" in our thoughts tonight... and that promised "delivery"... simply awaits an address via email!

    Good Painting...Much Peace and more Happiness in 2013!
    Warmest regards,

  3. Your posts are so meaningful and such an inspiration. Glad to hear you are making such positive progress. You've worked through a terrible tragedy with courage and grace.

    Wishing you a fantastic new year!

  4. What a treat to find that illustration Tim did of you two! I can really see the resemblence to both of you. And the scratchboard piece is stunning!!! I have always been in awe of scratchboard work. It is just so cool, for lack of a better word. And Suze, I hope you continue to heal and find some major happiness in this next year. You deserve it and I think that Tim will pull some strings to bring it to pass for you.


  5. Happy New Year Suz! May each day become easier and each memory sweeter for you in 2013.

    Scratchboard is neat, though I haven't got much experience with it. I love the crisp lines and almost antique-like feel of it. I hope you'll try it again soon.

    Yes, there's something to be said for seeing the back of the holidays and often forced jollity. Its tough when you've lost someone, but your attitude is amazing. Tim is proud I know.

    Those illustrations are such treasures, each and every one. Perhaps a little book with them all in might be a good idea? I know Blurb and other self publishing places do great work to enable you to compile something from images.

  6. Sweet Suz
    We had never heard of a scratch board- and when we saw this one, we were shocked. It does not seem possible that this could be done,,,,! Its amazing.
    And the illustrations of you and Tim are soo cool. We loved them.
    Suz- you are moving on and doing exactly as Tim would want you to be doing.. He is with you- guiding you..
    We have held you close during these holidays,, and everyday,,, and we thank you... for being our friend.

  7. Suz, this piece is gorgeous! You have such an amazing talent and I love seeing your historical work. I love the way you are thinking and clearing the cobwebs and I so wish I lived near you. What friends we'd be!

  8. As usual, i attently read your stories and it's like knowing you very well, and able to see you in your house.
    Happy New Year, have nice days!

  9. Fantastische Arbeit.
    Liebe GrĂ¼sse

  10. Suzanne, as usual your post is poignant and well written and the scratchboard is terrific.
    Everyone else has spoken so eloquently here that I can't add anything but my own well wishes.
    You know, we are all here for you and to support you.
    Hugs girl.

  11. Best wishes for 2013, happy New Year!

  12. I do pray 2013 is a Happy NEW Year for you. Thanks for being so transparent and sharing with us. Love your scratchboard portrait. Keep painting and keep the faith!

  13. Happy New Year Suzanne!
    Seeing this scratchboard reminds me you are very versatile.

    Jeannettes suggestion is perfect, a book. That could be a good way to move forward in 2013 but still remember and honor Tim. Put both your work and his drawings cartoons, maybe include anecdotes.

    Keep painting...

  14. Wonderful post Suzanne, Happy New Year.

  15. This is just outstanding!!!!
    I have never tried a scratch-board before. What a great find!
    And Tim's drawing is so funny - Clearly a great sense of humor!
    I'm glad you are going to start painting again. It's a good idea to sort a schedule. Nothing like a clear out and a fresh New Year to get things going again. Will look forward to your posts for 2013! :0)

  16. My dearest Gunkie
    First, I wish you the most wondrous and awesome of New Years!!!
    Your scratch-board piece is divine. What a happy and beatific expression! I would love to see more.
    And I LOVE the cartoon of you and Tim.
    Your new studio sounds very inspiring. Keep painting your beautiful, wonderful works, and stay up there with the "higher" consciousness.

  17. Oh no doubt, you have been kissed by the art god! That scratching you did is magnificent! You never cease to amaze me. Sounds like your closet was filled with sweet delicious memories. Thank goodness you didn't clear it out a year ago. You might have disposed of lots of things that proved to be very dear to you at this time. Love the caricature! So precious...

    By the time you're done, you'll have a whole new house in the old neighborhood! Good for you. Hope you go get lost in your new studio soon... Hugs my dear.

  18. Beautiful scratchboard sketch and thoughts. May your New Year be filled with all you wish for......

  19. That's a stunning scratching Suzanne, and I love Tim's illustration. Wishing you all the very best for 2013.

  20. Suz, I always feel your voice when I read your posts. And yes, you are keeping your head above water, and I do believe your life with Tim continues, albeit on a different level. And aren't you blessed to have little mementos drawn by Tim's own hand. I wish you a blessed NewYear filed with healing and, yes, happiness . Much love, girlfriend xoxo

  21. Love the scratchboard.... and the illustrations of you and Tim. Thanks for the sweet remarks on the blog post... coming right back at ya !

  22. The scratchboard portrait is amazingly beautiful as was your last canine painting, a real beauty. I love to see your art and enjoy and be inspired by it.
    I wish you too all the best for the coming year, hoping that it will be an easier one for you.

  23. I love the scratchboard - I really love the illustration of you two's priceless of course. Purging is a good thing, I think, I can't seem to get myself to do it. My husband calls my mess "Pattie Piles" - hey, but I know where things are usually. It was good to get a visit from you on my blog. I hope you have a good year - I will keep checking in. Paint on girl!!

  24. This is a lovely scratchboard drawing. I love the medium, too. That tedious part of my personality really gets into all those little lines. And working from the black surface bringing something to light is indeed a bit magical.

    It is fun seeing your older work. I hope you'll post more from time to time. Tim's illustration of you two is quite entertaining too.

  25. Suzanne, I have missed so much... Your blog is amazing...I am so drawn in by each and everyone. Each little detail captivates. May your year be blessed beyond measure. Have a wonderful day.

  26. Hi Suzanne, I am sorry I don't get by more often, I love to visit. Your scratchboard is amazing and I LOVE your latest pet portraits. Happy New Year to you. Hugs

  27. My hearts ache every time i read these blog posts, from which it is all too evident that hoq much you and Tim love each other and how much you miss him. My boy friend, who I love deeply, is 17years older than me, and deep in my hearts I know there is a big possiblity that he will leave first, and I will just be missing him so terribly. One can never be truly prepared for something like this -- on the other hand i would love to believe whatever seperation from this world is only temporary, and there would be a happy reunion after the journey here is over. It is much easier to say "live everyday fully" than actually doing it though, and I admire so much your strength to take this one day at a time, refusing to let the incredible sorry define your life hereafter... I find it so difficult to look back at the happy memories after a terrible loss. But it is those happy memories that ultimately pull us through even the darkest days... Words are powerless in situations like this. But you will always have my warmest thoughts and wishes...

  28. Suz, each time I read the posts about you working with Tim I am reminded of my own days working with illustrators and designers ...all the fun (and un-fun) we had on a daily basis. The drawings that people did ..just for fun!....sometimes I would pinch myself thinking do I really get to work here?? If I would have fallen in love with someone at work...WELL. It would have been all that much more great. What fantastic memories you have. Still, as you have stated..there must be times where it feels right to think about what is in front of you, in your the new chapters. We'll be here cheering you on --no matter what awaits. Like the other commenters, I applaud your candor. I have felt a lot of feelings...reading your blog entries. I think it's pretty easy to get why your husband loved you like he did. You are dang special on all fronts. Case-in-point, this amazing scratchboard! Zounds! .......Happy New Year.

  29. Beautiful tribute to your best friend. Thanks for sharing your beautiful work and thoughts with us. Best to you in this new year!

  30. an illustration to treasure suzanne ... i hope to see another scratch board ..incredible detail..wishing you a peaceful and creative 2013

  31. The stratchboard is lovely. It's very nice to see some of your older work. I'm glad your studio is ready for you; there and ready for some good work.

  32. Hi Suz,

    Just wanted you to know that I am thinking about you. This post makes me feel that you are now on that upward swing. I am so happy to hear how logical you are. I know Tim is so proud of you.
    I am so happy to see you painting again and sharing your beautiful work with the world.
    Hang in there my friend.

    Here if you need me.
    (((BIG HIGS)))

  33. Hi Suzanne,

    Thanks for the really nice comment on my blog.

    This piece is fabulous and to know you did it so many years ago just highlights what a talented artist you are.

    On another subject, I have been listening to Dr Phil lately and I have heard him tell grieving families many times "The depth of your love is not measured in the length of your grief" I think we all feel just a little bit guilty when we start to move on, even though we KNOW that is what our loved one would want for us.




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!