"The true painter strives to paint what can only be seen through his world." ~André Malraux

After a year of intermittant "painter's block"  I am working again in my studio, and feeling in a tentative positive state. Painting is a solitary activity, and as artists, we are often working in a vacuum. Unless we have a show hanging, reaction to the work is minimal. With several pieces underway, I decided that perhaps if I write about what I am doing or am attempting to do, it might act somewhat as a muse for me as well as give me some feedback on the work I am creating -- hence the establishment of this blog. 

As for the blog title, traditional, representational painting is a language for expressing what’s visible. But I feel my work is the most successful, and most interesting, when focused on things not entirely visible. I paint what I see but also what I sense and feel by utilizing my interior and unseen world --- in other words, the invisible world. Plein air work or  studio work from photographs are only touchstones or landmarks which guide me to other inner spaces. By so doing, I find that I am pushing the boundaries between representational and abstract work.

You can enlarge the images in this blog by clicking on them.

May 8, 2014


(Mecsek's Szuszi of Strafford)

Szuszi is gone. The house feels empty, our other dog is a wreck, and our hearts are heavy with loss as we learn to live without her. In the end stages of kidney disease, and having lost 10 lbs (a third of her weight)  Szuszi was soon going to suffer some pretty terrible consequences from this illness. We decided to let our good vet, Kim Jones, put her to rest on Monday while she was still pain-free, and relatively happy and content. We have known she was ill for quite a while; changes in diet and medications gave us another good year with our little sheepdog, but always tinged with the sad reality that she could not recover from her kidney disease. Below is a photo of our girl the night before we put her down. Human tears were flowing, but she, unaware that she was so sick, was fine.

We brought her home from the NJ breeder just about 13 years ago, stopping off in Wilton, CT to show the new puppy to our 7-month old grandson Aidan. Here, right,  he is with her when he was about a year old, and she is 6 months.

Puppy Szuszi in the daisies.

Aidan and a very wet and scruffy looking Szuszi, just starting to cord.
For many years, Aidan and Szuszi were best buddies, and I was brought to tears when I saw him say goodbye to her last New Year’s, knowing he would probably never see her again. It was one of the first words Aidan said …”Zyooozee” and their bond was very special. But as dogs do, she grew old .... and he became a teen-ager last year he moved with his family to California. She looked for them always, and hoped every car that drove up was full of her people.

Szuszi sashayed into our lives in 2001 and turned the life of our older dog, Bradford, upside down. First of all, for the first time, he discovered he was a boy, so, not only was she spayed, but because of his amorous and unwanted attentions to little Szuszi, he too had to get “fixed” -- although John insisted he was not broken!

Here are the two of them in our fields in October, Braddy very regal, Szuszi still a matted, happy puff ball.
She stole all of Braddy’s toys, tried to eat his food, insisted she was the prettiest one, and demanded the Alpha dog position in the house. Unlike her older companion, who was beautifully resplendent with long Rasta cords, Szuszi had Tina Turner hair that just wisped wildy about her, matting constantly, and for the first six years of her life, she had to be clipped down from time to time.
Puppy Szuszi trying to get a toy away from her big brother Bradford.
Eventually, after Bradford was gone, Szuszi began to grow her Rasta curls, and we had another beautiful, corded Puli.

And then Sami arrived, and turned the tables around ... he stole her toys, and her food, and wanted to be the boss. She resisted. They had a love-hate relationship, but were constant companions.
Szusi, before she corded, with the new puppy we named Sami in 2007
She was a friend, and protector of all four of “her” children, as well as of their parents, and nothing made her happier than when one of more of them would come to visit. She snuggled with them on couches and in beds, and barked at them when they went in the pond. Noisily chasing after them down the sledding hills or out into the wildflower fields, she worked hard  to make sure they came back to her herd of humans, where she could keep her eye on them, as fast as possible. 
Reese grandkids and Szuszi and Sami.

Walking the fields

Corded or not, young or old, she was always a Puli. Wiry and active under all that hair, the Puli has been likened to a bouncing spring. Happy and playful well into their teens, with boundless energy and insatiable curiosity, they bustle about with light-footed agility, checking out every new sight and sound -- and expressing an opinion about it.

Playing ball with Nate.
"Come back! Come back!" Mike and Lily!
Acrobatic Pulis are superb athletes, with quick reflexes who can turn on a dime and clear a six-foot fence from a standstill. In Hungary they have been herding sheep for centuries, not with the finesse of a Border Collie, but they get the job done noisily and menacingly. And with keen eyesight, acute hearing, and an innate suspicion of strangers, Pulis are also serious about their responsibilities as a watchdog. They will rush up to a stranger to check him out, and if necessary, are willing to back up suspicions with loud warning barking, from rich in their DNA. But then they jump up and lick the 99% who pass the test.
Szuszi with her cordsicles.

Szuszi helps her kids, Natey,Lily and Aidan, build a fort.
Szuszi loved her home; she was not very fond of traveling. Cars made her feel a bit rocky, and new places made her nervous until she was shown which bed she could sleep on, which couch she could jump on, and where her food bowl was. She did like to visit her kids, although our grand dog Mack made her a little worried. She hated vegetables, unexplained noises, and squirrels, birds, cats or other interlopers on her land. She was uncomfortable with other children, not hers, who played too roughly with her and pulled her hair, but she always tolerated them kindly. Szuszi did not like baths, hair dryers, or vacuums and hated going to the vet’s. But she never complained.

Somewhere there are frogs
Apple picking in the fall is great fun
Sooz in "her" garden
Szuszi lived the good life here in Vermont. She adored having the freedom a doggy door offered her,  so she could be outside, patrolling her fields, casing the pond, smelling the flowers, chasing geese away from the pond, and she especially liked to “help” John and me in the yard …. busily carting off briars and brambles, pruning bits, plant clippings, rocks, even logs from delivered fireplace wood. She carted our clean socks and underwear to "decorate" the living room, and unmade our bed when we were away.She leapt wildly and noisily into the snow John shoveled, and ran in front of sleds and tractors; she chased hockey pucks all over the pond, apples being picked, and croquet balls being hit. She loved cocktail hour and the possibility of a dropped bit of cheese or a peanut, and her favorite things to eat were chicken livers. On hot days, she was known to take a quick dip in the pond, although mostly she patrolled the edges, looking for frogs.
So much to do, so much to smell.

Couch Potatoes. This was always her perch, and we had to replace several pillows as a result.
Sooz loved parties.This was her last one, 
New Years Eve, 2013.
And the one place she liked to travel to was to Lake George to be with Maddy and Jerry. But she didn't like the motor boat.....
 She is greatly missed by John, Sami and me. The most loving of girls, she was as a good a doggy as there is. And although they had a love-hate relationship, Sooz and Sam were companions, and he is not handling her loss any better than we are, spending the past three days under his chair, the bed, or the car, and crying a lot. The house is quiet, lonely, and empty without her, as are we. 

Rest In Peace, Soozie Boozie, Sooz-A-Looza, Szuszie Girl .... my angel girl. 


1 comment:

  1. A beautiful tribute to your girl. She had a great life with you and John.