Creativity through Loss

During these times of dealing with a major pandemic, illness followed by loss is a large part of our national and personal experience. Following on from my series dealing with creativity in sickness and disability, I would now like to share Sue Trickey’s story of creativity during loss and its therapeutic benefits. Sue has just been accepted as a full member of the Gloucestershire Society of Artists. A real achievement!


Can you tell me a bit about how your creative career began?

I have always loved the arts and have always been creative. I loved art and music at school, though for most of my life it has all been “On hold”. It was during this time of bringing up a family that I composed several albums of instrumental music, and started song writing ( guitar/ piano/vocals ) Music is still very much part of my life Unfortunately I am losing my hearing and also have developed a problem with my voice, so at the moment it is impossible to sing. I have vocal chord damage and have been referred for a course of speech therapy. I do miss singing and if my voice comes back I am sure I will be writing ,recording and singing more songs in public.

How did you make the progression to art and why?

I think after all the years of bringing up children and helping my husband with his business, I wanted to do something for myself again! I loved art at school, it was always my favourite subject. I had wanted to take an art “A” level but was dissuaded from pursuing art at that time although I have always felt there was an “inner artist” in me. It has only been the past six years that I have been able to find the time again for art. It  has  developed into a real passion. I trust my imagination and love seeing an artwork develop over time. Some of my larger artworks have taken over 6 months to complete, as they are so detailed but it is really only the past six years that I have found time to paint and create using mixed media..

I had been suffering depression at the time and I was prescribed a course of “Art Lift “ sessions through my GP. These were led by an art therapist in Cheltenham. I really enjoyed this course ,I found that when I was creating art I forget about my worries and cares, and lose myself in the art. I have never been to art collage and am self-taught apart from a few evening classes. I had an inner feeling that I wanted to create using my imagination and not copy anyone else. My first artworks were a series of imaginative themed tree designs using pen and ink and watercolours. These proved popular and I started getting asked for copies, thus I started developing a range of greetings cards and prints.

Art has also been very therapeutic to me, it can speak sometimes when words cannot.

I lost my eldest son James, in a road traffic accident on 23rd December 2014. He was killed by a dangerous driver, while he was taking an early morning cycle ride for pleasure before work, he was 22 years old. The shock and loss have been overwhelming but as a way of coping I have created many works in memory of him.  One of my most popular works “Tree of Life, I had started just before the tragic accident.  After my loss, I continued working on this piece of art in my son’s memory, adding meaningful bible verses, song lyrics, angels, I even cut out small hearts using a piece of marbled paper my son had made at primary school.  Later in the year I created an artwork “Across the Miles” using James’  large collection of random stamps as the medium. I could forget about the grief while I worked on these detailed pieces and it really helped me to get through this terrible time, These works, who are works from the heart created in love. I often give away small artworks, or a handmade dragonfly,  to people I know have suffered loss.  I love the way that art can reach out to others. I have also started running small workshops, We create simple items using wire and beads. ( Dragonflies, hearts, angels etc ) Sometimes I work with bereaved parents and create something in memory of their child.

What do you hope to achieve through your music and your art?

I have never really had particular aims, I Just love having the time to be creative now. I am always experimenting and wanting to learn how to be a better artist. It has been a surprise that gradually my art has now developed into a small business and I now have many shops in Gloucestershire selling my cards and posters. I have a range of around 15 different art cards  all produced from my original artworks. I want to continue to find more outlets for my work. In all the retail outlets I am finding I get a good number of sales and re-orders.  I think of my art  over the past 5 years as expressing my “Journey through Grief “. I would love someday, to put on a solo exhibition of all my original works. 6 What ambitions do you have? I want to continue learning how to be a better artist,  I would like to think I can inspire others to create in some way. I have a full set of oil paints given as a gift to me. I hope to progress to learn how to use these. I would like to continue working with small groups to teach my wire and bead work ( Dragonflies, Angels, Hearts, Butterflies, Stars )   words cannot.

I am currently enjoying learning acrylic painting and often take my paints and create a spontaneous artwork during a Sunday morning Church service. I am enjoying  the freedom of creating quicker artworks, often I will  often give these away. I hope to continue to do this and become better at it as my art skills improve! As a mixed media artist i do not want to limit myself and always love experimenting with new things and to improve my computer skills. I would like to learn to be a better photographer and to learn how to use photoshop! I would like to explore expanding the number of shops retailing my art, but do not want the business side to take me away from creating the art. At the moment I do everything myself, Getting my work photographed, visits to my printer, Packing and packaging my cards and posters, delivering to all the shops, invoices etc. If there was a greater demand for my work I would need to help with everything else!

What are your future goals and desires?

My main role is to look after my family and my husband ( Who is disabled ) I will continue to be his carer and to create art when time allows. I am really quite happy with things as they are right now, thankfully I can pursue and enjoy my art without the pressures of having to earn a lot of money through it. If I can help the family finances a bit more then this is a bonus. If I can reach out and help others through my art then this is a joy to me.  I am hopeful that speech therapy will help me re-gain my voice and that I might be able to record one last album! including the many songs composed during the past five years, expressing my grief and loss and love.

Is there anything else you’d like to add? 

I hope that this interview might inspire others to try something new. it is never too late to take up a creative hobby, whether art or music. I taught myself guitar in my late 20’s, I had singing lessons in my late 40’s and have taken up art in my 50’s! There is always time to learn and there are therapeutic benefits. You never need to compare your work with others, there is always something you can do and enjoy. If you wish to view my artwork or listen to my music I will add a few links where you can find me.

If you wish to view my artwork or listen to my music I will add a few links where you can find me.

suetrickeyart.com (Sue’s art website)

https://www.artgiftedbygod.co.uk/( Search in list of artists : Sue Trickey

suetrickeyart.redbubble.com( Sue’s art on a range of different products )

www.reverbnation.com/ suetrickey(music )

About journojohnson

I qualified as a journalist in 2002 and after a period working as a freelance for Gloucester Media writing advertorials, interviews, articles and press releases I have gone on to write for lots of magazines and newspapers, both local and national. I write regularly for the Writers and Readers magazine but have also written for CPO's Inspire, the New Writer, Classic Ford, and Take a Break's My Favourite Recipes among many others. I published my first full-length historical novel. Waireka in 2018 and my romantic novella, Alpha Male in 2016. Both can be found on Amazon. Please follow the links on my book page.
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4 Responses to Creativity through Loss

  1. Mel Menzies - torbaysdevonwriters says:

    Beautiful artwork. And great ideas for people to relax during this pandemic.

  2. SC Skillman says:

    This is so inspiring. What beautiful artwork. I too have taken up painting, during the lockdown. I borrowed a friend’s acrylic paints and brushes, bought an art pad and am really enjoying it and hopefully improving my technique too!

  3. Thank you for your kind comments, Sheila. Sue is a friend of mine.

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