The Other Shoe (painting) Drops (falls into my lap)

susanhertelIf you’ve followed this blog at all, then you know that my very favorite painter in the whole world is Susan Hertel, and that I now own and live in the house she built in the late 1980’s in Cerrillos, New Mexico, just south of Santa Fe. If you haven’t read about the divine way this all happened, you can by reading Miracles Really DO Happen — at least they do to me … That’s Susan to the left, in a self portrait. Susan loved horses and painted them, life-sized, a lot.

In the linked post above you will read about how I was not only led to this property by some amazing grace, but wound up with one of Susan’s paintings hanging on my dining room wall.

Susan was widely known and collected, and her works are very expensive so I could never afford one. Having one in my home is a miracle in and of itself. The painting that came to me was one half of a two-painting combo (called a ‘dip-tych’). Its counterpart has been hanging in New York City.

I guess the two were like twins separated at birth though because, through further miraculous events, I was recently asked if I would like to home the other half of the dip-tych. Now THAT’S a no-brainer. Wow, wow, wow, wow! So now I have both here at what was Susan’s home in the first place. Who knows, she may have painted them both in what is now MY studio. And we are pretty sure she’s orchestrating all of this from above.

Here’s what the paintings look like side by side (though awkwardly photographed, so you must use your imagination).


DSCN2715Perhaps the strangest thing of all is that the huge body of the black horse in the painting on the left is a dead ringer for that of my hefty mare, Bella, and I’m pretty positive my horse Copper slipped out while I wasn’t looking years ago and posed for the horse on the right!

Susan, may you rest in peace and happiness in the knowledge that these two paintings are in the home you built with so much love and caring, and that they are treasured beyond description.


You can read a little more about the history of all this here:

Penelope Smith Comes To Dinner!

7 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    […] The Other Shoe Drops Possibly related posts: (automatically generated)The Other Shoe (painting) Drops (falls into my lap)Penelope Smith Comes to Dinner!“What’s a Blog???”it’s not a hiding place, just another perspective […]

  2. 2

    melodie hollander said,

    Your “Other Shoe Drops’ story is amazing. Count me as another Susan Hertel lover and collector. One of my favorite paintings in my collection was painted by Susan. It’s a 50″ x 70” canvass of a mare and her nursing foal. Pure heaven. I’d send you a photo now, but it’s not possible to attach it with this email. If you’re interested, give me your email address and I’ll send you a photo.

  3. 3

    Mardi said,

    When I was a child growing up in Glendora / Covina California, and Sue and Carl Hertel were my mother’s best friends. I inherited a small painting that Sue created in the ’60s. It her dog and pups, nursing. She wrote a lovely sentiment – poem on the back. I treasure this painting. Carl was also a painter, and our family has some of his works, also. I am blessed. Thanks for letting me share. If you ever have the opportunity to speak to claire, let her know that Mardi ( ruthie sisson’s daughter) sends her love! Altho claire is younger than I, we did spend time together, with her brother Morgan, during the time the sue was giving birth to twins. that was a long time ago!

    • 4

      Hi Mardi! Thanks so much for your post, and I have forwarded it on to Clare. Clare, her husband, and 7-yr.-old daughter, Paloma, live in the mountains just east of Santa Fe but still own 80 acres behind me. We see them a lot, and she is one of my dearest friends since moving here. I never had the good fortune to meet Sue, but if Clare is anything like her, she was definitely one of the finest people ever. Clare sure is. And I know she will loving reading your message. Thanks again, Leta

  4. 5

    What a treat to read your story.
    I met Susan in the 80’s when I purchased an enormous painting of hers at the Elaine Horwitch Gallery, Santa Fe. It has been a deeply treasured and inspirational painting ever since. No other artist has touched my soul with paint or words – her poetry – like she has.
    After she passed I can remember many, many times driving around looking for her house and the fence she painted. I needed to say goodbye on the ground she loved.
    You ARE blessed and I am so happy you feel that way.

    • 6

      Thank you, Julie, for your wonderful remembrance of Susan. Alas, the property is now for sale, as it was the time in my life where I needed to move closer to town with fewer responsibilities. But it is truly a beautiful and blessed place–and her ashes are there–and I trust the right person will come along soon to be its next steward. Thank you for posting! Let

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