Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Flowered Path

Flowered Path
Melville, Nova Scotia
Oil on canvas, 8x10

Call me at 860-442-0246 or email me
if you are interested in buying this painting

Throughout Canada, Heather and I saw wildflowers like nowhere I've ever seen them.

Lupines massed in ditches along the roadsides. They piled up driveways and, near Margaree Forks, swirled in purple waves in a couple of huge fields.

We saw acres covered with daisies, so white it looked like snow.

Clover bloomed everywhere, white clover and pink clover and extra-giant, extra-pink clover. We saw dandelions and buttercups, and clouds of light-blue wild iris.

It made me think again about the will to survive, and to thrive, and how that will runs in the DNA of everything on the planet. It's all too easy for me to forget about it, and to mire myself in what I can't do, and why I can't do it. But there are those wildflowers, blooming away, bright and pretty, hoping to attract the eye of some bee or some bird - and aren't we all programmed to do that, somewhere deep in our core?

On Nova Scotia, near Five Islands, we saw something that looked like wild delphinium, blue as the sky, and spiky but soft, growing at the side of the road. We saw a guy weed-whacking and stopped to ask what it was.

"I call it 'weeds,'" he said.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Arnold's Barns

Arnold's Barns
Melville, Nova Scotia
By Carrie Jacobson
Oil on canvas, 16x20
Call me at 860-442-0246 or email me at
if you are interested in buying this painting
Arnold's Barns
By Heather MacLeod
Watercolor on Arches paper, 12x16

Canada is an enormous country, way larger than the U.S. You could drop two or three New Englands in most of the provinces and still have room for a few Delawares or Rhode Islands. 

And there are not so many people in most of those provinces. 

Yet here, in Atlantic Canada, there are plenty of roads, and plenty of roadwork. The little towns look neat and well-kept, if not prosperous. There are empty storefronts, but generally these are in the minority. Houses are painted, there’s no trash in the roadways. Here and there, you see a yard with junk in it, but that’s pretty rare. 

Canadians, judging from what we’ve seen on this trip, are fanatical about keeping their lawns mowed - and their lawns are huge. You almost never see an unkempt or overgrown lawn. 

Gardens are spare here. I’ve seen very few elaborate plantings. On the other hand, the wild lupines and phlox that grow in the fields and ditches are just spectacular. And the growing season seems condensed. We’ve seen tulips, lilacs and poppies all growing together. At home, these would be blooming separately over two or three months. 

We lived in Canada for a winter when I was 14. Dad was on sabbatical, and was a ski fanatic - we all were - and so we came up here and rented a house for a winter on the grounds of Le Chantecler, a ski area in Ste. Adele, an hour or so north of Montreal. 

Mom and Dad skied all day while Rand and I went to school, and Laurie went, I think, to daycare. I grew to love Canada, and still do. Today, though, talking to Heather, I realized that I really don’t know much about Canada. Where is the wealth? What are the industries? What does land cost? How are the taxes? What is the political scene? It has been a marvelous couple of weeks here, and we have met wonderful people (more on them, soon) - but clearly, I need to educate myself. 

Monday, June 28, 2010

Roof Lines of Le Gaspesie

Roof Lines of Le Gaspesie
Oil on canvas, 16x20

One of the things that made the Gaspe different from the rest of the parts of Canada that we saw was that the bottom edges of the roofs of many of the buildings curved upwards, like the old flip hairdos of the 1960s and '70s (think Laura Petri).

I can't imagine what purpose this roofline serves, other than to be pretty and graceful. It would seem to me that snow and rain would gather in that curve, and freeze or seep or rust.

No matter. The houses are lovely with their lilting roofs. They sit often at individual angles on their lots, facing the sea, or facing the fields, or facing whatever pleased their builders. Surely there is zoning, but it's not the rigid set of laws we know as zoning.

I painted this on a very windy day in St. Ulric, just beside a frite shop. The shop and the parking area where I stood are owned by the people who own the hotel just across the way. I asked permission, and the wife gave it immediately, but then called her husband, who had to think a little before he said yes.

I held tight to the easel and tight to the canvas as I painted. Heather had some trouble with her watercolors and her paper, and ended up not liking her painting. But I like this one, the big building and the small one, both with the curved roofs.

When I finished, I bought an order of frites (french fries) for lunch, partly as a small payment for the generosity of the owners... and partly because I was hungry. And the frites were delicious!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Path by the River

Path by the River
Near Kensington, Prince Edward Island
Oil on canvas, 16x20, $350
Please contact me if you want to buy this painting

It was afternoon, and we'd been looking for a spot to paint for a while. I have learned to become somewhat arbitrary about this. There is always a hill to go over, or a curve to go around. There is always another thing to see that might be better than what you're seeing. So, while I look for something wonderful, and I am always tempted to look for something perfect, I've learned to be content with something that's good enough, and safe enough.

We were in that sort of spot, looking for the good-enough, when we found this bright and shadowy trail down to a little stream with a boat in it. It was astonishingly beautiful. It was perfect.

Heather painted on the bridge going over the stream (she didn't like the painting she made, so it's not on the blog today) while I painted at the tip of the path.

In a while, a man from across the street came over with his young daughter, who wanted to see what we were doing. The daughter pointed out the lighthouse that her dad had built in their yard. It was maybe 20 feet tall, and looked a lot like a lighthouse in the final stages of building.

The dad told me that, when he was young, he could easily row a boat in this stream, but now, because of the runoff from the potato fields - one ton a year per acre, I think he said - it was impossible. He blamed Cavendish Agri Services, an industry that seems to own the nearby town of Kensington.

After a while, they left, and in a while, a truck stopped and a man in his 60s and a girl in her 20s got out. I figured they were father and daughter, probably, though you never know. The man was sturdy and strong, the girl willowy, with a mass of wavy red hair that made me think of how mine was before I started to get gray.

They loved this painting, and talked about the area. I asked about Cavendish, and the man, a retired carpenter, shrugged. The company employs pretty much everyone around there, he said, and so he felt it balanced out.

Then he told me about his lighthouse. It's on a piece of land he owns about a mile up the road (his house was very close to where we were standing), and he has a cabin on this land, and has built this lighthouse. Did we want to see it? He would go and open the gate if we did.

So when we finished painting, we went to see the lighthouse.

It was an absolutely extraordinary building, three stories high, with a deck at the top and a deck at the bottom. It's beautifully shingled, and set on just the right place on the land. It's a masterpiece of building - and is furnished inside - and has running water and a bathroom. We could not get in, but we peeked in the windows.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Packing Paintings

Transporting wet paintings is always a trick. On past trips, I have built piles of paintings, usually sort of angling them on each other, so that the touching and friction are minimal. I have made sure to park the car in the hot sun whenever possible to speed the drying process.

This time, with two of us in the van, there’s just not as much room for this messy stacking process.

So I’ve devised a method of storage that seems to work pretty well.

Before I left, I bought two bags of pipe insulation. These consist of three or four lengths of black foam rubber tubes that are slit lengthwise. I cut these into disks about an inch thick. When a painting is finished, I put four disks on it, one along each edge. Then I take another painting of the same size (or just a blank, wrapped canvas) and put four disks on it, making sure that the disks are in different positions on each canvas.

Then I put the canvases face to face, tie them together with string and stand them upright in a box. I have been able to fill one box with paintings fixed together like this.

For the most part, it works pretty well. It’s not perfect, but in this cool weather, with somewhat limited space, the paintings are as safe and secure as they could be.

Friday, June 25, 2010


Near Brackley Beach, Prince Edward Island
By Carrie Jacobson

Road to Nowhere
By Heather MacLeod
Watercolor on Arches paper

On Prince Edward Island, Heather and I found a long paved road to absolutely nowhere, and about halfway down it, we stopped to paint. I was at the back of the van, and she was sitting in the open side doorway of the van, and we painted the same scene.

You can see that it’s the same scene, but because of how we paint - and who we are, and what we bring to painting - it’s different.

This has started us thinking about some things that might be fun.

Perhaps, we could set up on a busy street somewhere, side by side, easels pointed in the same direction, and paint entirely different scenes - different from each other, and different from what was in front of us.

When people came by and asked if they could peek, we’d say sure. When they asked what we were painting, we’d say, “Well, this,” and gesture generally in front of us. When they asked why we had different scenes (an elephant and Hawaii, perhaps) we’d say, “We don’t,” or “I guess everyone sees things differently.”

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Thunder Cove

Thunder Cove
Near Brackley, Prince Edward Island
By Carrie Jacobson

Dunes and Cliff
Watercolor on Arches paper, 12x18
By Heather MacLeod

Whenever Heather and I have encountered people on this trip, we've asked them to tell us a beautiful spot to paint. So when two people at the desk of The Pines, in Summerside, Prince Edward Island, told us the same place, on separate days, we figured we should find it.

It’s called Thunder Cove, and we are pretty sure that this is the place they described.

It’s a fairly long stretch of beautiful white sand that runs into steep red cliffs, with houses atop them. The sea is vast there, and the day we visited, it was a white blue that blurred at the horizon so it was hard to tell where the ocean ended and the sky began.

I talked with three sisters, ranging in age from 30s to 40s, I’d say, who were there with their mother, who told me she was 78. One of the sisters said she’d always wanted to visit Connecticut, a desire I found odd and fascinating. I grew up in Connecticut and we live there now, and while it’s a fine place, it’s not the sort of place I’d ever imagine anyone wanting to visit.

They were sitting together on the beach, laughing and talking and enjoying each other, and I found myself suddenly, truly, missing my mother.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Potato Fields

Potato Fields
Summerside, Prince Edward Island, Canada
Oil on canvas, 11x14
Call me at 860-442-0246 or email me
if you are interested in buying this painting

Tilled Red Soil
By Heather MacLeod
Watercolor on paper, 12x16

To get from New Brunswick to Prince Edward Island, you drive across the Confederation Bridge. It is 8 miles long - the longest bridge in the world that crosses water that freezes solid.

It is a beautiful bridge, as those terrifying edifices go. It is tall and high, and it curves in the middle.

I drove, keeping close to the center line and determinedly not looking down.

As soon as we were safely on land, we were mesmerized. The island is gorgeous. Its soil is rich and red, and apparently rockless - there are no stone walls. Deeply furrowed fields alternate with fields of deepest emerald green. Rows of single evergreens, or of tall poplars (poplars?), line the fields, often standing gap-toothed at the horizon line.

We had driven all day, and as afternoon spun toward dusk, we wanted to paint. It hardly mattered where we pulled over - each curve in the road brought new splendor.

We could not have more different painting styles, Heather and me - but that's fine.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Miscou Mini

Miscou Mini
Miscou Island, New Brunswick, Canada
Oil on canvas, 2x2, $30 with tiny easel for display

On this trip, I've made a series of tiny paintings that I like very much. I started making them just to get the values of the scene down quickly, but I soon found myself charmed by the pieces. They will stand on mini easels I have. They are fun, and really, they are pretty.

Choosing the shape of the canvas is often a challenge for me. I've been tricked many times, for instance, into thinking that a long arm of a beach should go on a long arm of canvas, one that's three times as long as it is high, perhaps. But then, you end up with a skinny stick of sand, a skinny piece of water and a skinny bit of sky - nothing like what really makes the scene.

So the little canvases help me choose the bigger ones. They help me find the problems with the composition, too. And they help me capture the light, quickly.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

On Miscou Island

On Miscou Island
New Brunswick
Oil on canvas, 10x20

Call me at 860-442-0246 or email me
if you are interested in buying this painting

Miscou Island Church
By Heather MacLeod
Watercolor on paper, 12x16

Miscou Island is a skinny arm that sticks out of New Brunswick into the Atlantic. It is like the end of the earth. The sky is huge. The sea is huge. The wind blows the grass in waves, and there is no noise but for the world itself, blowing and spinning and turning, and crashing in on the beach.

I painted this abandoned barn, tucked into a curve of a dune. Behind me, Heather painted this church, which one man built alone about 100 years ago, walking to the site every day from his home, miles away.

I hoped, this trip, that I'd find lots of sky, and water, and the thin, round light that comes at the edge of the sea on the best of days - and on this day, in this place, I did. It was a real toss-up, whether to paint the barn or the church, and I am glad we have paintings of both.

Thank you for reading.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Old Farm

Old Farm
Oil on canvas, 10x30

On the road from Bathurst, New Brunswick, to Miscou Island , Heather and I drove by this grouping of farm buildings. It was a sight to take your breath away, and we were lucky enough to find a convenient driveway to pull into, so that we could set up to paint.

Someone lives in one of the houses - you can barely see it in my painting, way in the back - and I think that one or two of the other buildings might still be in use, but mostly, the farm is abandoned, and being beaten and whipped by the weather and the wind. In another 10 years, some of the little buildings will have fallen down. In another 20 years, most of them will have crumbled.

Time and again today, we saw this same thing - once-proud farms slowly eroding. No one is standing by, checkbook in hand, to buy these pieces of land and develop them, though the land is rich and the views spectacular. They are just farms, on a wind-swept narrows, reminders of a life that's just too hard to continue.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Douglastown Beach

Douglastown Beach
Oil on canvas, 16x20

Call me at 860-442-0246 or email me
if you are interested in buying this painting

As night fell last night, the wind came up. The hotel had a long porch, with dozens of chairs on it, and as I fell asleep, I could hear the wind pushing the chairs along the porch. This morning, it looked like an ogre had visited, and angrily tossed the chairs everywhere.

The gale continued, the wind so strong it was hard to open the van's doors. There would be no painting today. So we drove. We drove around the curve of the Gaspe. We drove to Perce and saw the giant pierced rock there, that Peter has termed the Nubble Light of Canada - ubiquitous, and in its own way, hilarious. Here's a picture:

Click on the photo and you can see the pierced part - the little tunnel through the rock. It really is a wonder of the world sort of thing, in a way. In another way, it is a big rock, no more accurately emblematic of the Gaspe as Nubble Light is of New England.

But it is on all the guidebooks, on the sides of 18-wheelers, on calendars and placemats throughout the region. An entire town has grown up around it, with hotels and restaurants, trinkets and souvenirs and, yesterday, June tourists in January garments.

And so we went on, and saw even more beautiful and amazing things. We saw red sand beaches, and villages nestled beneath muscled ochre cliffs. We saw a floating yurt. We watched seagulls flying backwards in the screaming wind, dining on snails. The gulls would fly high and drop shells, dip down to pick them up, and then fly high again to drop the shells until they broke. The wind was so strong, the gulls didn't even have to flap their wings.

In a town called McLeod, we stopped to take a picture of Heather MacLeod beneath the sign that nearly bore her name (other family members spell it without the "a.") Fern, a nice man who lives in the house beside the sign, came to make sure we were all right, and then offered to hold a branch out of the way so we could get a better picture. Fern's pontoon boat had broken loose from its moorings and been damaged in the gale.

Somewhere between Perce and McLeod, we saw a white barn with a blue roof and a blue truck parked inside. It was a beautiful image and is going to be a painting one of these days.

We have seen marina after marina here with all boats up on cradles, out of the water. I wonder if the reason for that is that the amazingly high and low tides?

Also, all over the place, we have seen ladders left on top of metal roofs.

Here is one more photo, inexplicable and amusing, from the day:

I was sad to leave Le Gaspesie, with its empty spaces and its haphazard arrangements. I loved the people there, and the breadth and depth of the place, and I loved the sense that though there was history, to nearly all the people we met, Le Gaspesie felt like a beginning. 

Tide Pools, Ste. Flavie

Tide Pools, Ste. Flavie
Oil on canvas, 16x20,

Call me at 860-442-0246 or email me
if you are interested in buying this painting

Here in the Gaspe Peninsula - Le Gaspesie, as it's called - the sun rises at one end of the St. Lawrence and sets at the other. And the dawns and dusks (4 a.m. and about 9:30 p.m.) have been spectacular, red and rose-colored and gold and blue, fading into a pearly silver over the water.

We spent the first few days on the northern edge of the Gaspe, rambling around the little seacoast towns. Each has a church, it seems, and no matter how dinky the town, the church is enormous - and clean and shiny and expensive-looking.

The concept of seaside property being exorbitantly expensive has not seemed to hit the Gaspe. Time and again, we saw seaside farms, seaside municipal storage areas, seaside rest stops, seaside cow and horse corrals. And empty lots. Empty land, too, and empty, beautiful beaches.

As we drove east, the coast became rougher and tougher, and mountains appeared, tumbling straight down to the

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Tidal Marsh, Douglastown

Tidal Marsh, Douglastown
By Carrie Jacobson

Tidal Marsh, Douglastown
By Heather MacLeod
Aquarelle (watercolor) on paper, 12x18

The first time Heather and I drove by this tidal marsh, I was enchanted. But it was too late in the day to start another painting, and so we went past it. I was out of sorts at having to leave this gorgeous site behind. 

But we stayed close enough that, the next day, we went back. And as the afternoon fell toward dusk, we found the marsh, and were enchanted again. We painted together, at either end of the van - and these are our pieces. 

It's a beautiful place here, the Gaspe. The sky is huge, the water clear, and the people friendly and kind. It feels like it would be a great home. 

Monday, June 14, 2010

Shore, Ste. Flavie

Shore, Ste. Flavie
Oil on canvas, 8x24

Call me at 860-442-0246 or email me
if you are interested in buying this painting

We passed through Ste. Flavie on our way to the hotel we'd reserved at the Quebec Information Center, and both of us said we wished we were staying there. And so the next night, we did.

We stayed at a place called the Centre d'Art de Marcel Gagnon, and it was a treat for all the senses.

Marcel, who is still living, is a prolific artist. The walls of the hotel, inside and out, are covered with his art - paintings, mosaics, odd characters. There's a gallery inside, and a shop, all filled with paintings and poems by Marcel, his two sons and one daughter-in-law.

Most amazing of all was "Le Grand Rassemblement," a collection of more than 80 sculptures, some on the sidewalk by the parking lot, and the rest in a rambling sort of line, coming out of the water onto the beach. The ones that are farthest out are under water at high tide. 

The statues are mostly people - about human size, but without arms or legs. They are made of cement and have interesting faces, sort of blank, sort of expressive. There are a couple non-humans, including a lamb whose face is buried in the grass, while he eats his fill.

The statues are really fun, a little eerie, a little odd, and entirely fascinating. When I made this painting, I was standing near some of the statues. I thought about painting them, but they would be truly inexplicable in a painting.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Morning on the Gaspe

Morning on the Gaspe
Oil on canvas, 16x20
Call me at 860-442-0246 or email me,, to buy this painting

The morning blew in clean and shiny here on the Gaspe, and Heather and I left the hotel early and soon found a beautiful site to paint.

In the distance, the St. Lawrence River seems more like an ocean, vast and indigo and full of tides and waves. On its near edge sit farms and fields and delightful houses. Many of them are small, doll-like small, just big enough for one, or two getting along nicely. Many have roofs that sort of flip up at the end, like gentle ski jumps. Many are painted bright, rich colors.

They sit on the bank of the St. Lawrence, tight and sturdy in the wind, and welcome the dawn and the dusk and all the weather in between. They call to me. This place calls to me.

When we finished our morning paintings, we bought lunch at a fromagerie, a cheese shop. The woman behind the counter let us taste everything, and then gave us some of the shop's wares, "un cadeau," she said, as we paid for the rest. In return, I gave her a tiny painting - and she was delighted. Turns out she had seen us painting that morning - and she is a painter, too!

This is the painting I gave her. It's 2 inches by 2 inches. 

Thursday, June 10, 2010


Oil on canvas, 10x20, $300

The first painting on a painting trip, in my limited experience, is filled with stress.
I mean, here I am, leaving everything about daily life behind, leaving my husband, leaving my home, leaving my obligations, so I can go somewhere far away and paint. Really, these paintings had better be good, right? Otherwise, I could have just stayed home and painted in the back yard.

On both of my previous painting trips, I've been surprised by how stiff and tight and nervous I was, making those first paintings. This time, I was prepared.

I was still stiff and tight and nervous - but I expected it. So I got through the first few strokes, the first big blocks of color, the first misjudgments and goofs, and I corrected, and loosened up and began to delight in what I was doing.

Heather and I were painting on the side of a dirt road where lupines grew in blocks so thick, the air was filled with scent. It was absolutely amazing.

We painted, we packed up, we left, and moments down the road, we saw a moose.

Now, we are in Canada, where the air is clear and filled with sun, and the sky runs down into the water. I can't wait to paint!

Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

On Our Way

Here's me on the porch of an adorable cabin for sale near the place where we're staying.
For the cabin and one acre, $20,000! 

We are still in Maine, but we're close to the border!

I got to Heather's house in Brownfield, Maine, at about noon, and we left around 2. We made it to Aroostock County, to the Katahdin Lodge in Moro Plantation, Maine, about 7:30. Most of the drive today was highway, but the final 15 miles or so wound through gorgeous mountains with views of Katahdin and other, farther ridges.

We saw a round-bellied road worker, a belted kingfisher, several rabbits (cleanly separated... see most recent posting), a deer so red it looked artificial, and farms and fields golden in the clear dusk.

Here are some photos from the day:

Here's Heather

Here are two of Heather's sculptures

Here's me, at Heather's house. See her flowers? 

Here's our van, loaded and ready! 

We hope this is not a sign of things to come. 

Tomorrow, Canada! 

Thanks for reading. 

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Morning Fog

Morning Fog
Oil on canvas, 16x20

By this time Wednesday, Heather and I will be on our way to the Gaspe Peninsula.

Well, we might be unloading and reloading the van, but the point is, the journey will have begun!

Expect a day or two with no paintings, but then, if the weather and the luck holds, you'll be seeing paintings from a place that I believe is going to be amazingly beautiful. It will surely be new, that much I know. And it looks like it will be cold!

Think well of us as we head north. And thank you, as always, for reading.

Monday, June 7, 2010

The Rabbit Separator

The Rabbit Separator
Oil on canvas, 16x20, $400

Before Heather and I leave for Canada (wednesday!!!), I had to deliver art to the Wallkill River School, in Montgomery, NY. I'm a represented artist there, and my work and the work of other represented artists hangs year round in a nice hallway gallery. The hallway show changes every month, and it seems like I am always behind the eight ball in terms of delivering my work.

So on Sunday, I delivered pieces for July, August and September, along with work for a new art-leasing program, and a piece to be entered into an auction.

And I had the chance to paint with my friends, and talk with Susan Miiller about a cool project she's launched (more on that in a moment).

I was painting this scene, standing in the field with my friends George Hayes and Shawn Dell Joyce, when I realized that I didn't know what the red machine was.

Now, usually, I don't bother so much with the names of things. I wasn't going to paint the thing in any detail anyways, but as I painted its planes and surfaces, I couldn't help but ask.

"It's a rabbit separator," Shawn said. "It gets the rabbits safely out of the way before the field is mowed."

Well, it sounded good to me. I mean, I was pretty sure she was kidding, but you know, I liked the idea.

So, this painting is "The Rabbit Separator." Why not? (The thing, by the way, is a hay baler. Or so I'm told).

OK, now to the big, cool project Susan Miiller has started, and invited me and all of you to participate in!

Susan has engineered two exhibits in Orange County, NY. Both are intended to benefit the Port Jervis/Deerpark Humane Society, in New York state, near where we used to live. It's a good shelter, and could really use our help.

Painters with the Art for Shelter Animals Project have heard about this already, but it all bears repeating. In ASAP, painters make portraits of animals in their local shelter or with their local rescue group, and then donate the art to the shelter or rescue group. The shelter or rescue group can do whatever it wants with the art: sell it, auction it, use it as an inducement for adoption, or use it to brighten their offices. 

The project is an excellent opportunity for artists of all kinds. Since the art is donated, you are freed from all restrictions and rules. It will never be juried, judged and criticized; it will be loved and appreciated - so you can experiment, try a new color, paint with your heart. 

So, go to the Port Jervis/Deerpark website -  - and find an animal who appeals to you. The animals to be painted are at the very bottom of the home page.

Make a portrait, then take a photo of it and email it to me ( for posting on the ASAP blog!

Then deliver it to the Wallkill River School (or mail it... address is below) and you're off.

The first exhibit takes place in the office of Jeff Parker, 156 Pike St., Port Jervis. Parker is a podiatrist and an artist and an animal lover. He has a very nice space to show and sell art. That exhibit goes from July 26-Sept. 10.

Then, the work will move to the Deerpark Museum, for a one-day show on Sept. 18. Anyone who is in the area is invited to come and demonstrate during the day.

After that, the work will go to the shelter, in the usual way.

As always, you can frame the pieces if you want, but you don't have to. It would be great if you would put a wire on the back for hanging.

Please mail your pieces to:

Susan Miiller
Wallkill River School
232 Ward St.
Montgomery, NY 12549

This is a wonderful opportunity. I hope you join in! 

Friday, June 4, 2010


Oil on canvas, 12x12, $350

I painted this yellow lab during the day on Monday, the final day of the Paradise City Art Festival. It is always a crapshoot, painting in public, but I like it.

I'm not a careful, deliberate painter. I mean, I think about my paintings, sometimes for quite a while before I start, and when I am painting, I consider each stroke - but for moments, not for hours or days. When I do get going, I paint quickly and with very little thought. For me, this is where a lot of the mystery resides: It is not my conscious self, choosing that color, deciding on that line. At the very best of times, it is something ethereal, a higher power, something simply outside myself. My physical self vanishes, I become a vessel. I paint, I look up, two hours are gone.

Doing this in public can be a little disconcerting. People stop me, talk, look - and that's part of it. I'm learning to get back into the zone in and around the interruptions. I did it pretty well with this painting, which is even more stern (and funny) in real life than in this image.

Heather and I leave in less than a week for Canada! We will be driving up the northern rim of the Gaspe Peninsula, then around its rim and south. Depending on weather and time, we'll head into New Brunswick, then maybe to Prince Edward Island, and maybe even Nova Scotia. Click here to get to a map of the area and see where we'll be driving and painting. I intend to post my paintings and our story, whenever possible!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Spring Field

Spring Field
Oil on canvas, 16x20
Call me at 860-442-0246 or email me
if you are interested in buying this painting
Last summer, I had a show for the month of August in Denmark, Maine, and was lucky enough to stay there for a couple weeks. Each day, I went out and painted, and replaced a dry painting in the show with a fresh plein-air piece. It was fun, it was a challenge - and nearly all of them sold.

So I decided to do the same thing at Paradise City. I made two plein-air paintings, and did one live demonstration, painting a yellow lab on Monday, in front of the booth.

None of these paintings sold, but I like all of them, and I like that I did all of them.

This whole thing is an experiment, and if I push myself hard enough, the experiment becomes a sustained journey of discovery - artistic discovery, philosophic discovery, self-discovery. I feel grateful to have all of this at a time when discovery could be nothing but a distant memory.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Paradise City!

My booth at the show

Well, I am back from my first big outdoor show, and I am feeling happy and successful! Paradise City was phenomenal for me. Five of my paintings sold! I met about a thousand people, learned about a million lessons and had a great, if exhausting, time.

It's hard to believe that I haven't posted since May 19, but it's the truth. I spent 10 very hectic days getting ready for the show, finishing paintings, framing, making decisions, and fixing up my booth. Peter and I spent more time decorating that 10 by 10 space than most people spend on their entire houses, I think.

But it paid off. I had a pleasant, welcoming booth, and it looked pretty good compared to the others at the show. Some of the displays were just astonishingly gorgeous. Some were nicer than any house I've lived in. Most were more elegant than mine, more professional, but I was able to make some adjustments that brought mine up to par - and as always, I am learning. Learning, learning, learning.

It was a joy to show my paintings in such surroundings. Everywhere I looked, work sparkled. The furniture, the sculpture, the jewelry... the glass, the fabrics, the clothing.... and did I mention the jewelry? It was amazing, nearly all of it.

Thousands and thousands of people came through. They were fun, and interested, and smart. They were gracious, and eager to engage. The thrill that I have when people connect with my art, I had that all three days, over and over. It really was miraculous.

And the organization of this show, wow. Everything was taken into consideration. People were waiting for me when I arrived, with information and directions. Help was available. Every day, the carpets were vacuumed, the trash picked up, the porta potties cleaned, the parking lots and walkways washed and watered. Every day, staffers came around to make sure we were OK, make sure we didn't need anything. If there was a problem, it was solved instantly.

But it was exhausting. I woke at 5, made a painting, arrived at 8, worked on the booth, opened at 10, closed at 6 and stood pretty much the entire time. Yesterday, I slept pretty much all day. Today, I feel like myself, but a little farther down the road.

Thanks for reading!