Tess Senay Raynovich Art & Earth Fund

Supporting artists and Eco-art 

Indulgence is Not Necessarily a Bad Thing.

Posted by TSRartandearthfund@comcast.net on July 30, 2014 at 10:50 PM

Sometimes, I worry that I am being self-indulgent, working to remember Tess in this particular way. We have done some things here at Tess’s fund; given out four scholarships, piloted a photography/photo editing program, presented an exhibit from that program, funded an eco-arts summer camp, and a few other things in just under two years since Tess died.  It certainly helps us to do this work and to honor Tess.

The ups and downs of building a fund can fill and rack a soul, a soul that is still very much grieving. I take comfort in knowing Tess would have liked the things we have been doing through the fund, but she would roll her eyes at the part of this that has her name, image and art out front. Modesty is an understatement when referring to Tess. I can’t imagine what she would think of my agreeing to exhibit of her artwork this past summer. Self-indulgent? Yep. But she would forgive me for taking comfort in these indulgences of memory, her art and  the beauty of who she was.


Many people, who had been fortunate enough to see the exhibit of Tess’s work at Sweetwater Center for the Arts, have commented on the wide range of her work. The exhibit was called Artist Interrupted and reflected her development as an artist: open to everything and seeking experimentation not perfection. She wanted everything, to know it, to feel it, to see if it could be part of her.

Art did not so much change Tess, as it spoke a secret language with her. In that place, where she worked her hands, eyes and mind toward the expression of an idea or feeling, she was perfecting her own dialect, strengthening her own voice. Having a voice to express yourself, to have your say about what confronts a person on any life path is what each of us needs.

So many, who knew her for years, were surprised by her work; oil, acrylic, pastels, photography, graphics, large, small, political, spiritual, funny and  lions, lots of lions. Through this exhibit some have learned that even when you know someone, love someone, you still don’t get to see the whole of them. We often skim over each other, getting only the cliff notes of each other. We are all very busy and even now, I probably have friends that I don’t know the half of.

I knew Tess. She was open and generous with me and not much of what was left behind was a surprise to me. She left paintings, photography, sketches and words. I am beginning to gather it all together, hoping to share her strong sense of self-determination, intense respect for the power of love and her hope with others.  I hope this future chapbook will help bring to mind a fuller portrait of this young woman for those who loved her. For us to have a little something more, after losing so much, might help.


“Tess was…” It is an impossible sentence to finish, words cannot translate her and “was” still stops and sickens me. I am so lucky to have been given 20 years with Tess and indulgently hope that through this fund we are giving others a very tiny bit of the kindnesses she would have offered the world, had her life been longer.

Categories: Inspired by Tess