Friday, April 5, 2013


18x24" pastel on Canson Paper

I found this in the art closet along with some other oldies that I threatened to post when I found that scratch board from back in the day. My name was Walker back then (you remember trial husband) and the date says '92, however I thought it was much earlier than that. Tim and I were transferred into the same art department that year but it was toward the end of the year that we started seeing one another. So I guess it's correct.

I worked in pastels exclusively then. And while I really enjoyed working with them, I longed to make the transition to oil which wouldn't happen for another 12 years.  My friend decided to manage my "career" and put me in a booth at a fair in the Planting Fields located in a very beautiful section of the North Shore of Long Island. I did this painting for that. It was my first public outing. The hands are a little hinky but I remember feeling they turned out well. I've progressed I guess because I'm not at all happy with that claw the little boy is using to maneuver his little blue truck about.

I had a decent amount of traffic for that weekend, but nothing sold. Easily discouraged I packed it in and didn't work again until Tim and I fell in love and began trying to impress each other with our respective skills later that year. He'd never used the medium before and his first portrait was very impressive.

That was the beginning of our..."oh yeah! well check this out" period, which was great fun. Its so funny how time changes everything. Back then the television was never turned on, we were drawing and painting all the time. Towards the end, worn down by work and the usual life challenges, the telly was on constantly and the last thing he felt like doing after a day of creating rush campaigns and the like at work was to come home and paint.

It's been a strange week. I'm still working every day but I'm discovering that grief, for me at this stage, is not unlike a migraine. You're going along and then one day you wake up in excruciating pain, unable to function and the next day it's gone. I had a two day grief migraine this week. Must be a reaction to getting back to work, like on some level I felt guilty for enjoying myself I guess. There should be a little grief handbook that tells you what to expect. Like... "at the fourteen month mark you will suffer from intermittent periods of feeling like it just happened". I mean before that I honestly felt, you know this really sucks like nothing has ever sucked before but I think I can do this. And I know I still can because Tim is always here to help me.

The new space is really helping my desire to create. I'm very fortunate to be able to have this light filled, inviting space to work in. Given my druthers I'd work in a closet lit with one lone candle if I could have my best friend back but since I can't, I'm going to continue to be positive and grateful and work through the setbacks and keep going. I have no choice.

I know he would insist on that.


  1. Magnifique! The striking pastel, the sentiment, the attitude, the artist.

  2. I did not know that you worked in pastels,too.And frankly, I can't believe that a work done so many years ago is still so appealing(though you are right about the 'claw', but otherwise the painting is so touchingly beautiful)
    I know that being alone can bring in depression anytime- that is why I admire your courage.I guess keeping yourself busy with work and taking on new challenges constantly is only way out...As you say yourself, you have no choice.Wish you the best,because you are the best!

  3. We know there will be bad days followed by "okay" days...the hurt never goes away, it just gets a little easier each day that passes. Don't ever stop talking to us, Suzanne...we're here for you!!!
    I thought this painting was a photo at first...its really amazing!!
    and the claw is fixable!!! otherwise a "perfect" painting..Enjoy your new space!!!

  4. I think this is a marvelous work Suzanne and I am especially amazed that you did it in pastel. It's really charming and if it were my work, I would be thrilled with the results.

    I bought a Hallmark card the other day. It had such a wonderful message, just what I would want to express if I could put the words together that well. Anyway, the text was signed "Suzanne Berry". You are as talented a writer as an artist so I wondered if it was from you??

  5. Such a wonderful painting - despite the "claw" - and an intimate, sharing post. I think you could write a book on grief. You are very articulate and able to bring the reader in. I admire your many talents.

  6. Gosh there is no way this is art from you! It looks like an exaxct photo! How can you do this? How can this be? There is something about you and your art that gets us everytime we see what you have done. You are beyond amazing.. your work is splendorious!
    And you know Tim is there--- cheering you on- you know what he would want.. because he wrote it on your heart. Keep listening to your heart- and feel and cry and continue to heal.
    We love you
    tweedles and moms

  7. You know, Suz, I expect that there will always be grief migraines. I still have them myself and I lost my daddy 28 years ago. You are sure one spectacular artist and I think the little guy's hand looks fine.

  8. I have always admired you work, Suz. I have to agree too with Linda, that your ability to articulate your journey is a strength and a gift that you have shared. You can and may want to put these narratives into a book for others someday.

    This image is still powerful inspite of the claw. It does feel good to see how one courageous leap to show, has lead you to this day, huh?

    Take care.

  9. GURL! You are writing that book on grieving...these posts are so raw and real, all together in a book would be extremely helpful to others. Ps:I didn't know you worked in pastels! Great...

  10. Maybe you might consider doing visuals about your grief migraines. Just a thought. You never know who you might help with such a thing. Danny Gregory did that (you are probably aware):
    I love your pastel --so charming. It always intrigues me how most artists start out with hyper-realism, but get looser and looser and more abstract with time. It's interesting!

  11. SUz, my friend, when i read your notes, it is like I am inside you - seeing and feeling what you are. You are a superb writer!!!
    As for your pastel - beautiful. The colors and the scene is so intimate. I didn't even notice the "claw" till I read your post.

    Tim will always be with you, loving and encouraging you.

  12. Words fail me, but I just want to say how incredibly brave and wonderful you are Suzanne!! It makes my heart happy to know you paint on and take the happy and the sad and keep on keepin' on.

  13. My heart goes out to you - really it does... They say time heals, but still, if I ever lost my Paul I can't imagine how bereft I'd feel. And of course you will miss him for ever, but learn to live without him in the physical sense. Still, it will take a long time. You should be so proud of your self for being able to get through this as you are. I'll bet he is so proud!
    I loved reading about the two of you and how you met. And that pastel painting is absolutely amazing! I can't believe it's not in a frame or up for sale! :0)

  14. You are brave to show early work, especially since you can see now what could be better.

    Years after doing one of the portraits I painted (in pastel) in my beginning stages of doing commission work, I hinted to the collectors that I'd like to re-do it. They told me they loved the piece, that I'd captured their child's look and personality so well. They were very happy with it and seemed a little appalled that I wanted to work on it or do another one. These people, who are friends, know I'm "a little strange" (OH those artists!), so I don't think it affected their appreciation of my paintings that they own.

    While it is encouraging that collectors might not see the glaring mistakes in our work, it still stings to see a piece on someone's wall that doesn't look so good now.

    But, I suppose even if I worked on all those old paintings that now embarrass me, in a few years I'd want to change them again. It's good that we can see we've grown and also keep pursuing excellence.

  15. What a gorgeous picture this is Suzanne. It's hard to believe you've made it using those horrid little lumps of chalky stuff that make a horrible crumbly mess everywhere.
    You say you have no choice, but you do ... and you've chosen to work through the setbacks and keep moving forward, and you need to feel very proud of the Suzanne Berry we all get to see. We are. ;)

  16. Susanne! These are over the top knockouts, But so is all your work.

    True love is always there, it becomes apart of who we are, building on the adventure forward. Wear the love proudly in all that you do.

  17. Your pastel is beautiful! Yes maybe the hands could have used a bit more of your time, but WOW! No wonder you're so busy with commissions...

    It's ok to feel happiness again. Eventually you'll allow yourself that. One day you'll be surprised that you'll experience true happiness again. It will happen. You continue to have an amazing attitude and coupled with your amazing talent, who knows what lies ahead in your future? Something great, I'm sure! Smiles and hugs my friend.

  18. Like all the commentors, I think your painting is wonderful. Your strong and very personal sense of design is so evident, and your capture of the magic of everyday was there back in '92.

  19. Suz, the new version of "Morning Walk" is stellar! I believe that some of our growth as artists actually takes place when we are not painting too, because we are thinking, looking, being inspired, and painting in our heads. When we return to the easel, that something new is coming through.

    There is a lot to love in your "Toys" piece as an earlier work - the pose of each figure, the colors, the strong light. I was doing some of my early pastel work around that very same year, and it gives me insights to look back at what I was doing then. When I came back to pastel after many years away from it, surprising growth in it's absence seems to have occurred as well, even though most of the time in between I was working in other mediums.

  20. your comments make me cry... there is such sincerity there, and honesty. It's great, I guess, that we all have a format to share our artwork and thoughts. I certainly love the way you express yourself... you could have been a writer, as well... your journey as an artist is so wonderful to observe, first hand. Your generous sharing of your love for your partner and best friend, Tim, is so special. you are just pretty amazing, and an inspiration to so many !

  21. It is so wonderful how you keep Tim with you in everything you do.
    How great to feel his presence around you. That's special!
    Here for you, Hugs,


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