To Paint — To Dream

Susan Bucovetsky
Artist in her studio

Susan Bucovetsky was diagnosed with Parkinson’s over 12 years ago. Susan has been painting for numerous years in Montreal, Quebec. After running a successful business in Europe for several years, while living in Canada, she chose to retire so that she could more fully devote herself to her passion. She became an accomplished quilter and embroiderer before studying painting and falling in love with the medium.

It began with what was thought to be a thyroid problem. In denial and apprehensive, Susan Bucovetsky and her husband Harvey continued to run busy lives as entrepreneurs in Montreal, and relaxing whenever they could, at their home in sunny Florida.

Susan had problems with her thyroid and had surgery to remove large polyps. She felt really well post-surgery, though not her usual energetic self, and suspected that something else was still wrong.

Little did they know that the next diagnosis would be Parkinson’s disease.

“It felt like the world was coming to an end,” says Susan, after three doctors agreed on her diagnosis.

Then began the mountains of reading, asking questions, visits to specialists, internal dialogues, tears and sleepless nights. Tremors can be the most embarrassing of all the symptoms early on. The effect of medication was immediate and most welcome, as the tremors became constant.

The oil painting winter scene by Susan Bucovetsky captures her husband and granddaughter strolling after a snowfall in the Laurentians, a region in Quebec. This painting was reproduced on a greeting card and sent to Parkinson Canada donors, as a very special thank you for their ongoing support that enables Parkinson Canada to support people with Parkinson’s to live life to the fullest. Susan continues to be passionate about painting as it provides her with an escape and enables her to express herself.

Attending support groups was motivational, and led to regular exercise, physiotherapy and most enjoyable of all, dance and speech therapy at the Cummings Centre in Montreal. Sessions included “Broadway” style dancing and singing.

Susan attended support group sessions led by Hélène Deutsch, herself diagnosed with Parkinson’s and a registered nurse by trade. Hélène understood Parkinson’s disease from both lenses and provided insight and encouragement through her volunteerism with Parkinson Canada.

Susan was always creative; doing needlepoint, quilting and one day, a friend recommended painting classes. She started working with watercolours then graduated to oils, and once the tremors got in the way, switched from brush to pallet knife painting.

Recently, Susan and her husband Harvey launched their website, to showcase her talent www.susanbucovetskyart.com.

Her body of work spans several years, beginning with watercolors, then landscapes depicting the serene Laurentians as well as various scenes from her many trips, using oil on canvas; to her more recent works that have transitioned to contemporary/abstract and textured. Susan’s art is featured in newly decorated homes in Montreal, as well as on greeting cards for Parkinson Canada.

“Starting to paint was a godsend—when I paint, time stands still and nothing bothers me—the painting just happens,” says Susan.

Harvey, her husband, shared that Susan is an excellent cook and still loves to cook. The tremors and mobility issues often get in the way. He helps the best he can and they have a full-time caregiver to make everyday life more comfortable.

 “Most difficult is seeing Susan unable to function, falling into depression, and getting frustrated with movement disorders. Simple things like chopping an onion, sitting in a chair, dressing or getting out of a car are no longer automatic; research into a cure is very important and the only solution,” he adds.

There is no cure.

Their son Jeff decided to get involved in fundraising to support research and formed Team Bucovetsky for the annual SuperWalk campaign organized by Parkinson Canada. 2019 was their second year as a team in Montreal.

“Mom’s diagnosis was a shock for everyone—as a family, we all find it very difficult,” Jeff says.

One of Susan’s contacts in Montreal is Danielle Blain, Managing Director of Parkinson Canada’s Quebec office. “Danielle’s desire to help is great—and I consider her a friend,” says Susan. Danielle gave her a supply of holiday greeting cards that featured Susan’s painting on the cover, as a small token of appreciation for sharing her creativity, her story and her beautiful paintings with Parkinson Canada.

For more information on:

Susan Bucovetsky, Artist www.susanbucovetskyart.com

Hélène Deutsch, M.Sc My World Came Crashing Down

Support Group near you www.parkinson.ca/programs-near-you

Parkinson Canada Information and Referral Service 1 800 565 3000

We are here to help – No Matter What.

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