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Newsletter Summer 2009 Number One

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Newsletter Summer 2009 Number One

What follows here is the text from my first summer 2009 newsletter. The image is the free art card that came with the newsletter. If you would like to be on my mailing list (I send the newsletter out about once a month) or receive the free art card pictured here, send me a message at

NEWSLETTER Summer 2009 No. 1

Greetings from the mountains of western Maine!

I have the deep joy of living in one of the most beautiful places on earth. For me, the art-making process is a way of capturing the beauty here and sharing it with you. You can’t go for a walk with me in the early morning, hearing the bird songs and collecting the treasures that you find. But I can make art about the treasures that I find, and let you share in the delight.

This summer marks the beginning of a new body of work that I am calling “Swift River Treasures,” combining my passion for art with my love of being an amateur naturalist. I started it in May with the bloodroot flowering in our backyard.

Bloodroot has a special place in my heart because it is the first wildflower I see every spring. It is not only beautiful, but a potent medicinal herb in the right hands. Bloodroot is well named. When I accidentally knocked the bud off of one of the plants with my clumsy boot, I was aghast at the gory results. The sap is brilliant red-orange. If you are into war paint, this is your plant.

My bloodroot offerings to you are a round miniature oil painting of a single flower, a botanical illustration style watercolor of the whole plant, and some mixed media works.
You can see them by going to my page on the Fine Art America website. The link is

And for June, what else but tiger swallowtail butterflies? They hang out around the lilacs all month long. They are our largest butterflies here, with striking black and yellow tiger stripes. (For my story about catching a tiger, see the entry “Captive Tiger” in my Fine Art America blog.) I am still making art about the swallowtails, and just starting an ambitious watercolor composition of one on the lilacs. I will post entries in my blog from time to time about how it is going.

I have attached a file of a tiger swallowtail art card here for you to print. Art cards (or ACEO’s) are a collectible form of miniature art the same size as a baseball trading card. Print this one on good stiff photo paper, cut it out, and start your own collection, if you wish. I give you permission to print or reproduce this image as you choose.

For more information on “Swift River Treasures,” my artmaking process, or recent work, see my Fine Art America site. Either follow the link above, or search for me on as Betsy Gray Bell under the “Artists” button in the top menu bar. (The drop-down box under it has a search feature.)

Fine Art America offers a print-on-demand service, matting, framing, and shipping. They have just recently introduced a line of greeting cards, too, so now you can buy paintings as individual 5” by 7” cards or packs of cards. Some artists wouldn’t stoop to such lowly forms of reproduction, but personally I really enjoy seeing my work in print! For me it’s all about sharing the art, so the more people I can share it with, the happier I am.

This month’s Collector’s Tip is from Bruce and Adrienne Little, owners of Frost Farm Gallery in Norway, Maine. Caution: just because your artwork is framed with conservation glass, that does not give you the liberty to hang it in direct sunlight. The sun’s ultraviolet rays will cause irreversible damage to your artwork. Also harmful are the ultraviolet rays emitted by traditional and new fluorescent lightbulbs.

In each newsletter I will be summarizing for you what I have doing in my studio, and including some images and links to my art and blog sites, as well as stories, tips for art collectors, and miscellaneous information about art and nature. At the desk in my studio is where my life all comes together, where I touch eternity most deeply. Thanks for joining me in the journey. I hope that you enjoy looking at the art as much as I have enjoyed making it! I would love to hear from you, too, so please do reply with comments.
Remember, Souls who follow their hearts thrive. (Proverbs 13:19 in The Message, Peterson)