The Art of Sandra Busby...
Painter of Playful Light in Glass and Still Life


Tuesday, 17 December 2013

'A Story Untold...'

'Here before me, sits a well travelled old bear, with such a fascinating story to tell... and yet he is almost entirely lost for words...

"I really am lost, you see?" He mumbled... 

"Oh, you poor, dear fellow..." I pondered as I nibbled the handle of my paintbrush.... "How am I to tell your story if so much of it is left untold?"

The bear sank forward and gazed at the photograph he kept so closely to him... but as I sat with him for many quiet hours, his story unfolded before me...'

 22" x 24" Oil on Canvas Panel

This is an epic blog post, but please read to the bottom if you have the time, because there is a way you can all help...

...Meet Bristol - At least this is the name he has been given for now :0)

I am limited as to how much information I can share about Bristol....
But I can tell you that the poor furry fellow was left in the departure lounge of Bristol Airport back in 2012 and since then, there has been an ongoing, worldwide search for his family.

Left with him was just one vital clue in the form of a postcard, dated 1918, with a photograph of two children on the front, one of them clutching the bear.

On the back of the postcard is written... 

'With dearest love and kisses to our darling Daddie from your loving little daughter 
and Sonnie. Dora and Glyn.' 

 'All dressed up in his frame'

My part of the story...

My Mum is the Queen of newspaper cuttings! Oh yes - If there is something of any interest in the paper, she will make a point of cutting it out and then leaving it strategically placed where I am most likely to see it the next time she pops in for a cuppa!
I don't read the newspaper you see - too busy in my own little bubble pretending that everything and everyone is all lovely... Yes, ignorance is bliss, if not always the best way to be...

Anyway, it so happens that one of her famous newspaper clippings was all about an abandoned bear...
and of course you all know that I would be always be interested in anything involving a bear... 
The poor thing has only one eye and part of one ear is hanging off - but he is 100 years old, so all in all I think he is in pretty good shape :0)

I kept the cutting for several weeks and couldn't help but wish I could meet him - I mean, he would make the PERFECT model for the final bear in my first series of eight... 
But it never occurred to me to actually ask until some weeks later.
He had been on my mind for so long and eventually I thought I would dare ask the question...
So I emailed Jacqui Mills at the airport, who has been on the case from day one and asked her if I might be able to borrow him for a while. Several emails later, Jacqui very kindly trusted me with Bristol and he embarked on yet another epic journey via courier, all the way from Bristol to me!

I was so sad to see him go when I had completed his painting. I couldn't help but bond with the little chap :0)

About the painting:

Again, I am limited as to what I can tell you about the reason I painted certain things (not actually found with the bear) such as the coins etc...
But - the petticoat hanging over the battered old suitcase is similar to that of the one the child in the photo was wearing... maybe this was Dora's luggage...?

And the sticky label on the suitcase has the first part of her name scrawled on it, in the same handwriting as is written on the back of the post card, inky finger prints, scribbles and all! But part of the name has been torn away. This is to depict without words, just how close they are to finding the real owners and yet also how far...

Of course it is very important that certain information remains undisclosed. This will help determine that anyone claiming the bear is Bristol's real owner :0)

How YOU can help:

So, the search goes on for Bristol's real family and I would love it if you would all help in his search by SHARING this story with as many people as you can, on your blogs, Google Plus, Twitter, Pinterest and Facebook pages and asking your friends and followers to do the same... because you never know who might be the one to be able to lead poor, lost Bristol Bear, home to his family :0)

If anyone has any information that might help lead Bristol to his owners, please email Jacqui Mills at:

I am taking a festive bloggy break now, until the new year and I wanted to leave you with a link to a slide-show of my entire first series of bears which you can see here:

But before I go, I would like to thank each and everyone of my loyal followers for your continuing support and encouragement and for all of the wonderful comments I receive from around the world! You are truly precious!

I wish you all a magical Christmas and I hope 2014 bring good things to you all!

See you again soon :0)


  1. Sandra, what an amazing story! I can't believe you were able to get your hands on the bear to model for you! It is such a wonderful story and painting! I sure hope Bristol finds his home! Did you see the facebook post last week? A lady found a bear (turned out to be a well loved lion) on the train and posted that she had found it. It went viral and the little girl that owned the lion was reunited with her bear/lion:))) Heartwarming!!!

  2. A beautiful last bear and a lovely, though sad, story.

    Merry Christmas to you too.

  3. C'est une magnifique peinture et une très belle histoire.
    Joyeux Noël, chère Sandra :)

  4. Hi Sandra, I like your last bear, is really beautiful, and his story seems to fit very well in this atmosphere of Christmas.
    I wish you a merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!! Hugs.

  5. What a wonderful and intriguing way to meet your eighth bear, Sandra. The painting of course is fabulous, and I hope Bristol will find his way to his owner. I wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

  6. Posted on twitter (@feetpaintwords) Good luck in finding your way home, Bristol xx

  7. Wonderful!! both the painting and the story! and what an incredibly cool and perfect way to wrap up the bear series!!! so beautiful and so heart rending. i will certainly spread the word. i so hope Bristol finds his family.

    and really, what's the point of keeping up with the news. i don't read papers, watch news shows or keep up with current events. there's nothing we can do except worry and every day there is something that trumps what one couldn't believe just the day before. i think it's smart to just stay happy and carry on!

    Happy Holidays my friend. i am so looking forward to your work next year!

  8. P.S. I so enjoyed looking at the whole series as one! Beautifully done!!!

  9. Sandra, this is such a wonderful story, and I think this is your very best bear ever!!! He conveys such a sense of loss and abandonment - temporary, I hope!
    I try not to follow world events too much. As Suzanne said, there is not a lot we can do BUT worry, and that's no help.
    I will post your superb bear painting, with his story on my blog, and hope he finds his way home soon!

    I wish you and your family {and SHerlock!} a very wonderful holiday, and a fantastic New Year!!!
    Kathryn XX

  10. This is SO COOL! A Christmas treasure hunt! I love it and I hope the bear is reunited with its owners. I will repost. The painting is the perfect end to the series. It is beautifully painted Sandra - the photograph is exquisite! Good lick and Merry Christmas!

  11. what an amazing story! Facebook managed to reunite a lost teddy (which was actually a lion) lost on a train journey recently so you never know. How sad that he came to be found with the photo and what a fascinating history. By the way, your mother and mine have a love of newspaper cuttings in common - my mum posts them to me these days - anything she feels it would benefit me to know about!! bless.
    I have to say I think this might well be my favourite of your bear series - I love the old fashioned suitcase and the petticoat - all of it. What a sad tale but how wonderful if his family could be found thanks to your painting!
    I'm planning a Christmas break too this year after my last post this Friday. Hope you have a wonderful Christmas and New Year. xx

  12. Brilliant, Sandra, both the post and the painting.

    My great grandson is due in April as well!! :0 first boy in 50+ years!!!

  13. Beautiful Story and Bear, Sandra, this would make a lovely book. Happy Christmas,Dear Friend, to you and Sherlock and all your family, love and hugs,Diana

  14. that's a very special story and painting to finish your series sandra ...hope bristol finds a home ...the 8 bears look excellent together .... wishing you and your family a very happy christmas sandra !

  15. As always I have emailed each of you your replies... Thank you so much once again for your lovely comments! And even more importantly from Bristol for the likes and shares!! Xxx

  16. Hi Sandra,
    What a wonderful story...and beautiful painting. I hope Bristol finds his family... :) xx

  17. Oh Sandra! What a beautiful story!! sad but hopefully a good ending!! The painting is absolutely amazing and yes, one of my favorites... I don't know how you create such an outstanding piece...!!!!

  18. I LOVE your series of 8 vintage bears, Sandra, but this one is my favorite! Not only does the story and the effort involved make it very special - it is so beautifully and thoughtfully composed and painted. Bravo! And I must say it was a sumptuous feast to see the slide show of the 8 - just wonderful! I can't wait to see what you will share with us in 2014! I hope your Christmas was merry and wish you a happy and painterly New Year!

  19. A fabulous painting and a wonderful story. I have my fingers crossed that Bristol is reunited with his family real soon. Happy New Year Sandra.

  20. la vie normale reprend doucement

  21. What a wonderful story, and what a beautiful painting of this remarkable teddy bear! I really hope he'll find his way back home again. It looks beautifully in the frame! I'm still looking into oil painting (I will definitely start this year, once I've mastered the confusing number of oils and other mediums required), but I'm just wondering about varnishing. I read that you have to wait between 6 and 12 months before varnishing an oil painting, which seems an incredibly long time. Do you use any special varnishes that allows you to use/frame your paintings earlier?

  22. i am sorry but i don't give my e-mail adress
    i only put comments on blogs

  23. Lovely story and painting. Hope you are enjoying your bloggy break.

  24. Hello Sandra,
    we're back. The holidays, the summer ... Enjoyed the new bear. Composition, color and always flawless finish!
    Best wishes and much success in 2014!

  25. oooh! Very nice work here Sandra!


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