Ellie and I became friends through our shared love for art. She found me online after seeing one of my paintings in the catalog of FoR Fine Art Gallery in Whitefish and Bigfork. She holds the distinction of being the first person to purchase a painting from my website.

Later, Ellie contacted me to do a commission for her. Surprisingly, even though she didn’t know my husband or myself, she invited us to come stay at her home in Big Sky. Planning a trip to my brother’s home in Grand Junction, we added a ‘Big Sky detour’ into our itinerary.

We spent 2 wonderful days in Ellie’s home. I was able to paint Lone Peak in Big Sky one morning en plein air. Ellie invited her art-loving friends to a luncheon and I offered to do a demo afterwards. I finished the plein air painting I had started that morning for the demo. That was such fun!

Back in my studio, I completed the commissioned painting of a Montanan landscape with common farm buildings and a couple of horses. The horses were portraits taken from photos of Ellie’s horses that she sent me. I mailed the painting to Ellie in November of 2022. She hung the large landscape (44″ wide x 24″ tall) over her bed where it was intended. That must have been quite a feat with the heavy frame and glass. I’m glad she had help.

This fall, Ellie came to our house for a visit. Although she has been in the Flathead Valley before, we reintroduced her to some of our favorite spots in Bigfork. We had a great 3 days together—talking, laughing, and we watched the movie “Loving Vincent” which Ellie had never seen.

Ellie surprised me and purchased yet another painting. This one would be donated to a fundraiser for P.E.O. International, a nonprofit dedicated to raising money for educational scholarships for women. What a worthwhile cause! Ellie picked “Mad Tea Party” (16″ wide x 12″ tall) for the fundraiser.

It is so gratifying to meet and nurture a connection with those who are similar in spirit, as Ellie is. It makes life so much richer and meaningful. This is one of the benefits of creating art that often surprises and delights me!