Wednesday, April 22, 2009


This wonderful frog painting is a watercolor by a wonderful friend of mine, Robert Berryman. Robert (or Buzz as he is affectionately known to those who love him) studied art at California State University at Sacramento and obtained his Masters Degree in Art. He studied with many teachers there but I have heard him talk more about Joseph Raphael than any other teacher. Robert (Buzz) just so happens to be my daughters' (yes, the apostrophe is in the correct place because I have identical twin daughters who married brothers, if you can believe that!) father-in-law. He lives in Northern California and painting is his passion.

Buzz paints what he feels, what he sees daily, what he lives, and what he remembers from childhood and close family ties. He has a passion for the river where he fishes from his drift boat. The river is deeply embedded in his philosophy for life. I think that it is a metaphor for his life too. He also truly feels the presence of the native people who lived and survived at this river. The Redwoods are some of his closest neighbors. He can sit high atop his perch in the wonderful home he built by hand and view the river below from almost every window in his home. He represents the epitome of a self-made man to me. He only paints what is important to him. It has to hold some aspect that he can clearly identify with in order for it to command his attention. It has to MEAN something to him personally. His surroundings and his home are special to him, as he has a personal attachment to this bit of land since he was a child. His family has been coming to that part of Northern California since he was young (and maybe even before that). So, it is home to him. It represents his essence, his soul, his deepest connection to life and love and to what may come to pass.

This frog was found not far from his home. It reminds him of his childhood and playing with the frogs in the creek that runs to the river. The frog is a symbol of fertility to many cultures. The Romans linked it to Aphrodite. To the Chinese it represented the moon--the lunar yin principle bringing healing and prosperity. The American Indian's believe that the frog connotes renewal, Spring, and fertility. According to "" old dream interpretation books "say that frogs are good omens and represent happiness and great friendships". Frogs also represent transformation of the positive kind.

The painting is surrounded by the Yurok/Tolowa tribe "Frog's Foot" pattern used in their weaving and baskets. In doing so, he surrounded the frog painting itself with a border of the old world that reads "Frogs Foot". Very symbolic. Very deliberate. Always a connection for him to the past, the people, his world and theirs.

I see all of these definitions as being current in his life. He is going through a period of transformation and renewal. In many ways, this is the Spring in his life. He is experiencing healing and happiness and also great friendships. Definitely transformation of the positive kind. He is a true friend to me; not only family. He listens and collaborates with me. He can listen to me "bend his ear" for hours and "hardly" ever complains about it. His philosophy and mine coincide and in so doing, I am able to discuss anything with him and obtain great insight. Sometimes these insights are not even apparent to me until I voice them out loud. Maybe it is the act of being able to voice them that makes them apparent? In many ways, just having a friend who also understands art is a valuable commodity. We have a common ground.

I have been quite absent from doing my blog as of late because I am experiencing my own form of transformation at this point. I have had radioactive iodine tests, ultrasounds, and am currently scheduled for a Fine Needle Biopsy. I can't say that I am not concerned. How can you not be when you don't know what is in store for you? But, in reality, none of us knows and so I am trying to remain positive and feel that I am being guided to do what is the appropriate course of action. I am hoping that this frog brings to me, via email, the Chinese meaning of healing. And, I wouldn't mind some of that prosperity that they talk about too. If the frog doesn't bring me what I hope for, it HAS brought me the best of a good friendship and happiness. And time to reflect.

Thanks to (one of these days I am going to figure out how to highlight and link these...for now, they don't seem to be working...any advice?) for linking my moss painting. Moss----such soft pillows of green. Yours look like birthday presents all wrapped up, ready to be open. It just so happens that I had a birthday yesterday and I am considering your photos of moss (and my link) a wonderful gift.


  1. happy birthday, teri! i'm glad finding the link was a pleasant surprise. this frog painting is amazing. i feel as if i'm laying in the pond looking up at him swimming, and it's a very magical and relaxing feeling indeed. your friend is very talented, thank you for sharing his work!

  2. Is it your birthday? Have a happy day. You're right, the water color is amazing.

    Be well. Sending good thoughts your way!


Blog Archive