Archive for Susan Hertel

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FollowTheLeaderThank you so much for following this blog about animals and animal communication! I wanted to let you know, however, that I have moved the entire blog to my main website and that is where new posts appear. I hope you will hop on over there to catch up and sign up to follow me at that location. And if you have a blog too, please put that in the comments there so I can check it out. Thanks so much! LetaSignature

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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!

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Miracles Really DO Happen — at least they do to me . . .

This was Susan. Always on the back of a horse or with her children when she wasn't painting.

This book cover captures Susan's style and spirit. She was always on the back of a horse or with her children and other animals when she wasn't painting.

Once upon a time, in the middle of the 20th century, a beautiful nature spirit was born, in the form of a human woman. This woman was named Susan Hertel and she spoke to all of nature and painted it as well, and became quite famous for her art. Robert Redford, who was a collector of her work, in his tribute to her upon her death put her in the “irreplaceable” category and said she was a source of joy that was unforgettable. I never met Susan, and don’t have a picture of her, but this self-portrait captures her essence and her art beautifully. Susan has been my ideal for many years, and I think it’s more than the fact that her paintings go deep into my heart. I think it’s also karmic. Here’s the story.

In 1987 I saw a very small print of one of Susan’s paintings at a friend’s house. A very simple image: two horses in a snowstorm with their rumps turned to the viewer. I was spell-bound and inquired as to the artist. As things turned out, Susan lived and painted near Santa Fe, New Mexico, where my brother had just moved, and was represented by a very famous gallery there. I made my first trip to visit him just weeks after seeing her painting, so of course visited the gallery and stood in awe in front of her actual paintings, which were huge, life-size canvases, mainly of horses and animals. I read her bio and learned that she lived and painted in the hills of Cerrillos, N.M., 25 miles south of Santa Fe. I had always wanted to paint, my entire life, but for some reason suppressed the desire. Seeing her paintings inspired me to perhaps, some day, begin painting in the way I envisioned, which just so happened to be similar to what I saw on her canvases. Needless to say, every time I visited my brother during the next few years, I went to the gallery and viewed Susan’s latest works. How I wished I could have one on my wall! And how I felt I would never be able to. They were VERY expensive!!! But then, in the early ‘90’s, her work seemed to disappear.

Fast forward to the Fall of 2008. I had decided to move from Texas to Santa Fe and had looked at properties there for over a year. I owned horses and lots of animals and lived on a 200-acre ranch in Texas, so I needed property outside of town appropriate for my lifestyle. Although I had made an offer on one place, it was really too small, and nothing else was turning up, or was out of my price range.

Long story short: One day in October my brother, Robin, called me to say he had run into Kevin, a realtor and friend, someone I also knew and who had visited my ranch and knew I was moving, and Kevin said he had the perfect place for me and that it was not on the market yet. Robin went to see it two days later and called me from his cell phone on the way home, very excited. He gave me a description of the property (a pueblo-style adobe home plus an artist’s studio and barn, on 40 acres, and the price was right), and then added as an afterthought: “Oh, and it was built by an artist who painted horses, maybe you’ve heard of her, Susan Hertel.” I was driving when he called and almost went off the road.

And the rest, as they say, is history.

I hopped out to New Mexico to see the place just a few days later. Susan’s daughter, Clare Hertel, owned the property, 120 acres, and was subdividing the improvements on 40 acres to sell and keeping the rest. She and her husband had a 4-year-old child who was starting pre-school, and they simply had to move closer to town. Clare was in torment about having to sell the property and had shown it to no one else, and she and I spent a few hours together, alone, on site, me in tears a good deal of the time simply because that’s the way anything having to do with Susan has always affected me. From Clare I learned why Susan’s paintings had disappeared from the gallery in the early 90’s: she died around that time of breast cancer complications in what is now my bedroom. In fact, in her mother’s last few days Clare brought her favorite horse, Santo, into the bedroom so Susan could tell him goodbye.

Although Susan was 14-15 years older than I, she has always felt like a sister in spirit to me, and still does. And Clare and I have become the best and dearest of friends, and our families visit frequently. And . . . the icing on the cake? Clare and her husband had no room to hang one of Susan’s large paintings in their new home so chose to loan it to me, where it now graces my dining room!

My dining room Susan Hertel painting -- part of a diptych, the other half of which is coming soon!

My dining room Susan Hertel painting -- part of a diptych, the other half of which is coming soon!

My dream has come true. Not only do I have one of Susan’s paintings in my home, but I live in the enchanted space she built and share in the love of her family. And yes, I paint now and have for several years, so painting in Susan’s studio is the unbelievable culmination of something I would never have dreamed could happen.

Now do you believe in miracles?


To read about what happened next . . . :

The Other Shoe Drops

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Penelope Smith Comes to Dinner!

Penlope (l) and Leta (r) in front of one of Susan Hertel's paintings

Penelope (l) and Leta (r) in front of one of Susan Hertel's paintings

Yesterday was a great day. In many respects. Not the least of which was the fact that Penelope Smith, the preeminent forerunner of animal communication in our country, came to dinner! At my house! In Cerrillos, New Mexico!

There is a story here. But first you should know that Penelope is one of my teachers; I studied with her many years ago to learn how to become an instructor of animal communication. I learned then that she is unique in all the world and an incredible leader and figurehead in this profession. Ever since that time I have maintained a listing in her directory of animal communicators around the world and am a regular subscriber to her quarterly journal.

Second . . . and this is the most amazing part: Penelope stayed here, at what is now my home, and walked this land, 18 years ago. Here’s the first part of the story, in brief.

In the early 90’s Penelope taught a class in animal communication in Santa Fe, New Mexico, which was attended by a renowned artist named Susan Hertel.  Susan invited Penelope to stay with her at her newly-built pueblo home in Cerrillos, just south of Santa Fe. They became great friends and spiritually bonded.

Counterpoint: In 1987, just before my first trip to Santa Fe, NM, I saw a small print of horses in a snowstorm on the bedroom wall of a friend. I was spellbound and asked who the artist was . . . . Susan Hertel of course. So when I got to Santa Fe I sought out the gallery that represented Susan and went and gazed in awe at her work. I did that every time I visited Santa Fe in the following decade. Susan painted horses, on a life-size scale, as her most primary subject, and, being nothing if not a horse devotee and lover, these paintings left me speechless. Besides which, I had always wanted to paint and wished I could be like, and could paint like, Susan. And I always felt like I knew her.

How I ended up buying Susan’s property is the next part of the story, but the lovely thing right now is how Penelope ended up here last night, for dinner, and for a re-walk of Susan’s sacred land. It was fabulous. We all loved it. And I feel the land and myself are all the more blessed because of it.

Glory be to those powers that be that somehow bring together all the magical synchronicities of life! (Also called “coincidences” — NOT!   Read: “CO-incidences” —- don’t you think that word really means things that are supposed to happen together, not that happen by accident? I sure do!

Ciao Bella . . . to a beautiful day!


For the NEXT part of the story — the amazing way I ended up here:

Miracles Really DO Happen — at least they do to me . . .

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