Challenging Times

New Year’s Greetings Friends!

These are challenging times for all of us, in so many different ways. My Uncle Allan died on Christmas Day after a lengthy illness. He was almost 92 years old, and worked as a freelance photographer for most of his life. His art was an inspiration for me, and I featured him and his work in my September 28, 2021 newsletter.

Allan and my Aunt Caprice faithfully attended any local (and some not-so-local) showings of my art. Allan is the only person I know who would stand in front of one of my paintings for four, five, even ten minutes studying the details and deciphering the meaning of my work. Most people glance at a piece, pronounce it pretty or not, and move on. But Allan really took his time with each piece. His attention to my art helped me to take it seriously myself.

I last saw Allan six months ago. He was weak and frail, and I thought it might be my final opportunity to see him. I made a point of telling him how much I loved him, but I’m not sure he heard me nor understood.

The losses accumulate as we grow older, don’t they? Sooner than we’d like, many of our loved ones are gone. I turn to my art to console me.

I finished the handstitching on this rust and eucalyptus leaves piece. It’s about 30 x 30 inches, and I plan to place it on a handpainted dark background. I like the way it turned out, but I’m having trouble getting it to lay flat, despite a lot of steaming and ironing. I’m not sure what to do about that. The handstitching adds a great texture.

Cassandra Tondro rust art

Now I’m working on the handstitching for another rust and eucalyptus leaves piece. I still have a long way to go on this one. The stitching is a lighter color and it’s hard to see in this photograph, so I’ve included a detail shot. I think it’s going to look great when it’s done.

Cassandra Tondro rust art

Cassandra Tondro rust art

May 2024 bring you much love, light, and perhaps a fresh start.

In memoriam: Allan Dean Walker, 1932 – 2023.

Allan Dean Walker

What challenges are you facing this new year? I’d enjoy hearing your thoughts. You can share them with us in the comments section below.

With love and appreciation,



  1. Hi Cassandra, Sympathy on the loss of your dear uncle. I went and looked at the older post about him you linked to: such sweet family photos and lovely abstracts, both youra and his. Thank you for your ongoing newsletters.

    1. Thank you, Holly. Yes, my uncle’s photography was amazing, and now his family is trying to figure out what to do with all of his photographs and the hundreds of thousands of negatives!

  2. Thank you Cassie for telling your story about your uncle. Getting older is no picnic! Happy that my mom now lives very near to me so I can see her as often as I like. Happy New Year!

  3. Yes I feel your pain, I also love and have loss. My beloved mother one year ago and a few months, she always wore red. We must adjust but always remember them in our hearts and lives. My mom was a wonderful person, I learned how to get older with self respect, humor from her daily Wisdom. The reminded me to always walk between the blue lines in the parking lot because it was the safest place to walk.

    1. I’m so sorry to hear of your loss, Rose. Your mother sounds like a lovely person. Yes, to love is to feel pain and grief when they’re gone. But better than to never have loved at all, right? I know I’m paraphasing someone, but I have no idea who.

Leave a Reply