Strength in the Face of Adversity

Hello Friends,

It’s been a challenging few weeks. I’ve had problems with my teeth for many years, and it has finally reached the point where I have to have several of them removed.

It was surprising news, but fortunately it takes a long time to get an appointment for any dental work these days. Everyone’s heading back to the dentist after lockdown, and dentists and oral surgeons are swamped. It has given me time to adjust to these changes, face my fears, and find acceptance.

I’m certainly not alone in facing adversity. It’s seems like everyone is dealing with stuff right now. For me this is another lesson in learning to let go of the things I can’t control.

The loss of a few teeth isn’t the end of the world and it doesn’t take away my happiness and joy. The sun is still shining, I have everything I need in the moment, and it’s a beautiful day. What does it really matter how many teeth I have?

There might even be a silver lining in the loss of these teeth. Maybe it will lead to a greater appreciation of the remaining teeth. Maybe it will allow me to eat more mindfully. I’m learning to lean into the mystery of the unknown and let it be.

As a way to deal with this change, I decided to make some t-shirts about appreciating my body. I wanted something I can wear that will remind me to thank my body for carrying me through this life.

First I experimented on a piece of fabric, trying out different colors of Jacquard Textile Paints underneath Procion fiber reactive dyes. From top to bottom, the paints are white, opaque white, metallic gold, metallic silver, and pearlescent white.

Cassandra Tondro Art

It’s not quite what I had in mind. I wanted something more subtle — something that would invoke a feeling of healing and a cave painting like design.

Next I tried four red dyes and maroon paint for the spiral hearts. Too subtle. You can’t really see the hearts at all. The red dyes are nice, though.

Cassandra Tondro Art

Third time’s a charm? I tried more saturated color and the stamps done in a darker mixture of maroon and black.

Cassandra Tondro Art

The red dyes are nicely saturated, but now I’ve lost all of the interesting detail in the dyes.

None of these shirts turned out like I had hoped, but they did give me ideas for a different type of abstract design. Stay tuned! To be continued.

Just a reminder that the opening for the abstract art show with three of my paintings is this Friday night! If you’re in the area stop by to say “hi.”

“Buenaventura Abstract Artist Collective”
Friday, September 3, 6-8pm
Bell Arts Factory
432 N. Ventura Avenue, Studio 99 (enter from the rear on Wall Street)
Ventura, CA 93001

Where have you had to find strength to face adversity? I’d enjoy hearing your thoughts. You can share them with us in the comments section below.

With love and appreciation,



  1. Such a beautiful way to look at life. I am sure your new teeth will be strong and useful and full of wisdom, just like you, even though I am sure they are not going to be “wisdom teeth”. Your tee shirt dyes are luscious!

    1. Hi Cinthia! Thank you for your kind words. I’m still working on the shirts. I have another one in the dye bath that I’m about to rinse out. We’ll see! It takes some experimentation to get the right look. Hope you’re doing well!

Leave a Reply