on the artrail

artrailsstudioone wall of my studio open for ARTrails last weekend (and the one coming)

There’s always a few moments or more just prior to opening the door of the studio on the first Saturday of this yearly art event when I must wonder why we put ourselves through it year after year.  The framing and cleaning and clearing of the garden and signs and so on while normal life rythmns (like feeding the chickens) must also somehow continue.  But then when the people start to come there’s this flow of mutual appreciation which is so satisfying.

We artists like to be left alone with quantities of time to create our art.  But we all desperately need for that art to be seen and appreciated and of course bought and taken home.  A painting never feels quite finished until someone else has looked deeply into it for the first time and discovered something of themselves there.  I never paint with the aim of telling a particular story, but more because I have an insatiable curiosity about what images will come through me next.  And it’s always a bit surprising to me how others react to the finished work.  When people ask questions about a painting I find myself offering ideas that came to me that very moment, born of the interaction.

And then there’s the art collectors for whom certain paintings are so precious, like new friends they are taking home to cherish for years.

A few years ago when I was painting a lot of country scenes, I had a demonstration painting on my table, nearly finished.  It was baskets of pumpkins in the sunlight.  This couple saw the painting and recognized their very own pumpkin baskets and immediately bought it.  They were the owners of a family farm that for years had hosted harvest events for children on their picturesque, Rockwellian property.  I had been there picking out a pumpkin with my son’s grade school class, fallen under the spell of the place, and taken the picture of the baskets.

Fast forward several years to yesterday and the couple returned.  They announced that they were retiring and moving to a new property in the mountains where they wanted to hang more of my paintings.  They had saved a special fund for this purpose and proceeded to pick out two more country scenes that spoke to their hearts.  I received an invitation to visit them at their new home.

There are so many more stories from this past weekend I could tell.  But I just hope that next year, when I’m feeling stressed about getting ready for open studios, I can just take a moment and remember these stories. . .

If you didn’t make it last weekend, I hope you have us in your plans to visit next weekend, both days, 10-5.  Our studios are in Sebastopol, California.  Address and map here at the ARTrails website.



  1. It is beautiful, Susan! I hope to be coming by either Sat. or Sunday… Your work is awesome, and I love the stories you have shared here. In a way, a painting is like a story, is a story. It comes out of the same well of crativity, connected by the same roots, the same forest! Thank you for sharing this.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s