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  • Recently, I met Cindy Neuschwander, a charismatic and open woman. We were introduced over e-mail and were supposed to meet in person this past Saturday. In less than a month, I learned about her life, her soul mate Jay, and her fight with cancer. On November 27th, my last e-mail to Cindy wasn't returned. I later learned that she had lost her fight with cancer.

    The news took my breath away and I was overwhelmed by the familiar sadness of losing someone to cancer, and the great sense that I had lost someone who I could now never meet.

    I was touched by Cindy, very briefly, and mourn what our friendship could have been.

    This is my entire relationship with Cindy, word for word:

    Emily Smith to me, Cindy, Jay Oct 24

    Hi Terence,
    Cindy and Jay are in!     I've included them on this email and given them the gist of the project.  So take it away! 


    Terence Sullivan to Emily, Cindy, Jay Oct 24

    Hi Cindy and Jay!

    I am so excited that you are interested in the project. Briefly, I am working on a painting of Theresa Pollak, which will be revealed at the Pollak awards in December. The reveal will be a preview of a full show that will take place at the 2013 Pollak awards. 

    The full series, in a nutshell, is selected leaders and shapers of the RVA arts and cultural community. I was thrilled when Emily said she would reach out to the two of you to see if you were interested. You are among good company!

    I would like the process to be as easy and amiable as possible for the two of you. If you feel most comfortable providing photos then I am happy to work with that. Otherwise, I will set up a time to get a photograph of the two of you. It would be very brief. 

    Please let me know how you would like to move forward. 



    Cindy Neuschwander to me Oct 24

    How exciting.  Can we start by me just sending you some photos?
    You can peruse and see what you think.  Would be easier on us currently.  Promise it will be a variety!
    Honored to be participating!!
    Cindy and Jay

    Sent from my iPhone

    Terence Sullivan to Cindy Oct 24

    By all means! The higher the resolution or scan the better. Much easier for me not to have to make up information. 

    Emily speaks the world of you two, I am happy you will be part of the group. I'm looking forward to your variety of photos!



    Cindy Neuschwander to me Oct 26

    Pictures and a little back story.

    Jay and I met in our late 40's, got married when we were both 50.  We have always felt like soul mates and very much in love,
    so these pictures really kind of reflect that.  I had cancer 3 and half years go.  It came back last August and I am still fighting it.

    If these pictures are a far cry from anything you can use, please tell me, no feelings hurt,  I can keep working.

    thanks so much Terence.


    Terence Sullivan to Cindy Oct 26


    Thank you so much, and thank you for communicating this. My mother had cancer and was an incredible fighter and one of my heroes. I'm sorry to hear that you are still fighting that fight, but having a soul mate that you described is a rare gift. Thank you again for expressing this to me. It's valuable when painting you two.

    I'm really loving img 1944. I wish it was higher resolution. I also love that you are looking away from camera. I tend to paint portraits with people looking off. The tightness of the shot is perfect. If you have more photos of the two of you like this I would be thrilled to see them. I like how relaxed and almost still this photo feels. 

    I've attached some of my paintings so you can see the feel and composition. The "I LOVE YOU MORE" painting has the feel the two of you have.



    Cindy Neuschwander to me OCT 26

    First off, I love your paintings.  I don't have numbers on the images I sent you, so you have to describe the 1944 you mentioned.
    I will pursue more in that direction.


    Okay, got number 1944, yeah, really poor resolution sorry, iPhone at a birthday party.

    Terence Sullivan to Cindy Oct 26


    Thank you! If you aren't able to find any I can work with the one you sent. I know your energies are focused on many things right now and I want this to be easy and enjoyable. I am honored to paint you two. Emily has disclosed a huge of love and respect for you two. I'm proud to be able to have you as subjects.



    Sent from my iPhone

    Cindy Neuschwander to me Nov 2

    Two more goofy ones!

    Terence Sullivan to Cindy Nov 6

    Perfect! I'm doing one of these :)

    You two are Adorable.

    Sent from my iPhone

    Cindy Neuschwander to me Nov 6

    Oh great!!!!  I knew we could find something you wanted to do!!!

    Sent from my iPhone

    Cindy Neuschwander to me Nov 6

    Tell me how to get to your website again??

    Sent from my iPad

    Terence Sullivan to Cindy Nov 6

    The one of the two of you looking at each other is perfect and so honest. I'm so happy to paint this.
    My site is just one body of work, my new one will be up in the spring with more work including this series.
    Hey did Jason from big secret do yours? I love your work by the way.

    Cindy Neuschwander to me Nov 6

    Scout did the website and Jason did all the back end.  I adore all of them. Glad you like my work.
    I have a show in the spring at Reynolds.
    I like your work a lot too, we are so honored to be selected as one of a group you are painting.
    What kind of cancer did your mom have, if you don't mind my asking.

    Sent from my iPad

    Cindy Neuschwander to me Nov 6

    PS. Jay says which one, since we are looking at each other in both?

    Sent from my iPad

    Terence Sullivan to Cindy Nov 7

    Tell Jay I'm doing the one attached. I love it and its perfect for the kind of paintings I do in my personal work. It is really tender and real. I e-mailed Emily to let her know how happy I am with this photo.

    I will definitely be at your show at Reynolds. Are you participating in Monster Draw at 1708?

    My mom had bile duct cancer, and up until about a year ago she was the only case of a female in the US to have been treated for it. Theres a pretty incredible story that goes along with that if you ever want to grab a coffee.:)

    How are you feeling? Are you being treated in RVA or somewhere else, if you don't mind my asking? 

    very best,


    Cindy Neuschwander to me Nov 7

    Can you omit the age spots on my hand in that photo?  : )

    I have an ovarian cancer recurrence, it's pretty much taken over my liver.  I have had it the last year and a half and have not been able to get it back in remission.  Back on the evil chemo.
    I go to Henrico Doctors, my oncologist just moved there from Massey Cancer.   I also have gone to M.D. Anderson Cancer clinic in Houston for a second
    Love to hear your moms story.....

    YES, I am doing Monster Drawing, ( if I am up to it)  love it, always do it with Mary Scurlock and Diego Sanchez for moral support!

    I'm excited about this Terence!

    all best,

    Terence Sullivan to Cindy Nov 22

    No age spots in the painting. Although I think it's beautiful, but if it makes you happy. Many people have had little requests like that!!

    How are you feeling this thanksgiving? I'm sure with the chemo your appetite is  spotty. My very best this holiday and hope you are feeling well!

    Talk soon ;)

    Sent from my iPhone

    Cindy Neuschwander to me Nov 22

    We are a vain batch of old folks aren't we?
    You do whatever you like.  I'm losing my hair now, so glad we found a photo to use!
    Yup, didn't eat much today , but it was a great gathering of family.  Hope you had the same .
    All best

    Sent from my iPad

    Terence Sullivan to Cindy NOV 27

    Well, you're a pretty woman so you can pull off bald. My mother wore it well:) hope you had an appetite for leftovers..or ice pops. Hey , I've attached the first painting in progress of Theresa Pollak as a little preview...

    Sent from my iPhone

    Emily Smith to me Dec 5 (13 days ago)

    Hey Terence,

    In case this news hasn't made it to you, Cindy Neuschwander passed away yesterday.  I am really grateful that you two were able to connect when you did. 


    Terence Sullivan to Cindy, Today:

    I'm sorry I never met you, Cindy. I'm sorry I never touched your hand.


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