Thursday, September 20, 2018

Of Love, Loss and Letting Go.

For my part I know nothing with any certainty,
but the sight of the  the stars makes me dream.
- Vincent Van Gogh

Grief is an odd thing, isn't it? For me, this process is like an ocean washing onto the shore. Everything is calm then the tide starts to come in and before I realize it, I am standing in a puddle of tears. What could be considered even odder is when it is over a beloved little heartbeat that was once at my feet. But it is what it is and it is how I feel.

I believe that people can and do spiritually bond with animals. I believed this as a kid playing on the neighbors' farms. I believe it today. The unconditional love that these beasties give transcends any of us. Animals just are. They are who they are supposed to be (given environment and temperament) and act accordingly. There is a light about them that I rarely find in humanity.  I was blessed to have the bond seemingly returned.

I also believe as creatures of the field (and sky and sea), they are perfect in creation therefore they return to the Creator. There is no dogma to sift through. There is no judgment. They are innocent. This may be considered a new age placebo or anathema or whatever. But it gives this old girl comfort.

In saying “good-bye” to Russette, I have accepted that it is probably going to be a life-long journey. I am not good at letting go by any means. I fight. I kick. I scratch. I cry. I will always have that Dutchie girl-shaped hole in my heart. Thank God my rabbits help make my heart large enough that it won't collapse into itself. So … I am ok.

I wanted to do something to help the absence. I wanted to do something to – I don't know – bring her briefly back? This is my project of love, loss and letting go.

Since Russette was always at my side during my arting adventures, it only seemed fit to do a piece of her. Of her leaving me.

She would run across freshly inked drawings and canvasses. She would steal pencils and paint brushes. When I would use a portable drawing board she would sit in my lap under the board. This was part of my process for almost a decade. This is the first piece that I didn't have to go get another pencil or chase after that specific color pencil she ran down the hall and hid somewhere.
It was a lonely drawing.

Russette giving pointers
Pink Floyd's Wish You Were Here is a favorite of mine. One afternoon the song played and that was it. An idea hit. Note that what I see in my head is NEVER what the final ever looks like. I just trust that the idea/imagery will take me somewhere.

I wanted a mixed media. Something that represented all the media that Russette spilled, chewed, stole, walked across: An organic element coupled with computer graphics.

She started as a pencil sketch on Dura-Lar with inked blues on the back. Acrylic inks and acrylic gel for texture are the front. Color pencils fill in some details. I really love the color pencil over the acrylic gel.

Fabulous phone photography
The above image/process shows the final steps.
After all was complete – I put it away for a while.

My concept of death is hopeful at best, terrifying at worst. As a kid I used to imagine “the cosmos” as the place of spirits. Mine were similar to Carl Sagan's COSMOS – without all of the math. My cosmos are overwhelming, beautiful, engulfing and welcoming. Now came the computer part. Much was experimental. Much was me looking at old pieces and NASA photos. Some was me staring at the wall.

I represent death in my symbolic work with the white/greyish eyes.
Her heart-light took some thought and trial. But I like where it ended.
Circles are feminine and connecting.

Memories fade. I wanted to somehow represent that she was leaving. She was free. But she was also disappearing because the Earth doesn't stop. The sun comes up and those left behind have to return to the Land of the Living. Returning to the Land of the Living sometimes feels like dying.

Happy travels until we meet again.

Mixed Media


  1. "Returning to the Land of the Living sometimes feels like dying.
    " omg, how true, I just never knew how to express it. I'm so sorry you've lost Russett but so grateful you have shared her with us. Binky free girl, and soft nose bumps to you Penny. I will light a candle for the little dutchie.

  2. This is one of the songs that I am going to have at my funeral.

  3. I kept it together until the very end when I read the title of the piece and seen the finalized picture. I am bawling and cannot see my keyboard so well right now. I am immensely sorry for your loss. Rabbits have a very unique way of bonding with us that I've never found with any other animal; and to lose that bond and that being that's created it with you... there are no words for that kind of pain. My heart goes out to you. Beautiful piece. ♡

  4. The finished piece is beautiful. The eyes are haunting, but they express what you described perfectly. Her eyes were so sweet in your drawings. LIt's very hard to lose a bunny, I know. Binky free, Rusette.

  5. Love to you, dear Penny. Give the song "If I Ever Leave This World Alive" by Flogging Molly a listen as well. -Kaycee Jane

  6. I once read a booklet given to me at a hospice that described the shutting down process for a person in their last day or two, and how the person is prepared by nature for a blissful exit. At least that's the usual way it happens, given that any pain from disease etc. is assuaged by drugs. I've watched 3 birds go, and while I can't imagine what they were feeling, they held on to their life to the last seconds, as though they knew that the purpose of life is simply to live. It seems that what makes life also prepares for its end, physically, and the rest (our spirits and dreams) continue on where spirits and dreams are destined to be.

  7. Our hearts are breaking for you and your furry family. We love our buns like nothing else on this planet. I’ve never known a love this deep. And it is scary. Your IG gives our little family lots of laughs and lots of “oh ya that’s true” moments. We love your family and we grieve with you. Thank you for sharing your babies with us.

    -your fellow Ohioans !

    Don't think goodbye is easily said
    Don't cry now I've joined with the dead
    You've suffered lots of heartbreak before
    But now you needn't live anymore still grieving
    Just trust me, our love still flows
    'Cause part of me lives yet within you

    Don't live a life full of regret
    Don't let sadness take over your heart
    I've heard you weeping for me before
    No reason to do that any more
    Believe me, the love in your eyes
    Made all of my life so worth living

    I am the eye in the sky
    Looking at you
    I can read your mind
    I'll show that death doesn't rule
    Love is our tool
    Ours are ties that bind
    And I don't need to see any more
    To know that
    I can read your mind
    (looking at you)
    I can read your mind
    (looking at you)
    I can read your mind
    (looking at you)
    I can read your mind

    Don't leave hope and gladness behind
    Don't cry, 'cause I ain't leaving your mind
    So find another Love like before
    'Cause I want you to know more of Joy while living
    So many Buns who need all the
    Love you can give them

    I am the eye in the sky
    Blending with you
    We are of one mind
    I'll show that death doesn't rule
    Love is our tool
    Ours are ties that bind
    And I don't need to live any more
    To show that
    We are of one mind
    (blending with you)
    We are of one mind
    (being of you)
    We are of one mind
    (waiting for you)
    We are both one kind

    Binky Free Russette.
    Nose bonks.

    BunBun Rwa

    Melody - Eye in the Sky, Alan Parsons Project