January 19, 2010

Sun Bay Fireworks
8" x 8" oil on paper
$275 (was $425)
$ 137.50 goes to Partners in Health
Raising Relief $ by Lowering Painting Prices

My announcement that I am devoting 50% of my painting sales did not result in a flurry of phone calls from interested parties. I understand. These are tough economic times and a painting is often considered a luxury item. Better, perhaps, send whatever money you have to directly benefit Haitian relief groups. Still, wouldn’t it be great to support both the relief work and the Arts? Both are long term efforts.

My history with Haitian people goes back a long way. When I lived in Nassau, Bahamas for two years in the mid-80s, I shared the finished portion of a cottage on a large estate with Marcel, the Haitian gardener. His part of the cottage had no indoor plumbing; he cooked on a small grill with charcoal he made from palm fronds. He sent most of his salary, $80/month, home to his family. Ever since, I’ve had a tender spot in my heart for the people of this beleaguered island.

More recently, standing in line to vote in the presidential election in 2008, I met Lounna, treasurer of Sonje Ayiti, an organization that builds schools and provides micro-loans for small businesses in Haiti. I showed her my website and we wondered then how my paintings of Vieques could help her Caribbean neighbor.

I received a note from Lounna today:

Good morning Ellie,

We all are mourning for our brothers and sisters. Our president was in Port-au--Prince but she made it safe. Now we can assist them..

For the hurricane relief effort, although we are not equiped with airplanes, jets to fly relief goods, but we can still provide immediate relief. We have 3 drivers who are committed to work to take us around and several items can be purchased in the Dominican Republic, packaged, and hand delivered to the people at different camps. we have a team of more than 30 volunteers awaited to be dispatched.

You can donate on our website

Let me know how you can assist.


I have decided I want to increase the cash I am able to generate for Haiti by making my work more affordable to more people. The pricing of art work is such a complicated issue I won’t go into it right now. Suffice to say, I do not lower my prices every day. But the recession has many people who could otherwise afford to pay a decent price for art balking at the notion. And I want to raise money for Haiti at the same time that I cover my expenses.

So I’ve lowered my prices significantly on my Caribbean paintings, by 30-50% for at least through February 14. (You can see the new price list at
www.EllieHarold.com/prices.htm.) Half of all sale proceeds will go to Partners in Health for their medical relief effort in Haiti.

On other fronts, I just learned I will have a large show in 2011 at the Forte Conde de Mirasol in Isabel II, Vieques. I hope by then that Haiti is well on its way to recovery. But, then, like developing one’s art, one would be wise to stay focused on the longterm project.

January 15, 2010

"Vieques Hilltop"
9" x 12" oil on canvas
(If you buy this painting before February 14, 2010,
$312.50 will be donated to Partners in Health.)

Painting with Purpose – Haitian Relief

I’m sitting here in my minimal studio in Vieques, Puerto Rico. It's about 80 degrees. A gentle rain falls, tapping out a rhythm on the banana leaves. The damp weather typical of the June-November hurricane season seems to have extended for a couple of more months. The mosquitoes have been terrible. They are my biggest concern, if you don’t count which new restaurant to try later in the day and will it clear up sufficiently to paint outdoors.

The infrastructure where I live and paint 4 or 5 months of the year is fragile. A heavy rainstorm or an angry municipal worker has been known the disrupt the water supply for days or even weeks. Think flushing the toilet with bottled water from the colmada. At $5 per flush, everything (and everyone) gets pretty stinky in short order. When this happens we consider it a disaster.

A few hundred miles to the west, on another Caribbean island, I imagine the weather is not much different from here. Perhaps the roosters are crowing just as they are here. But the rest is so unimaginable, it seems too hard to even try. Living so close, however, it’s not quite so difficult. It could’ve been my beloved little island that cracked open. It could’ve been me or my family crushed beneath a concrete roof.

I get to do what I love most of the time. I’m grateful for that. I don’t get paid for much of what I do, however, so the cash flow is not always what I’d like it to be. Nonetheless I am committed to my employment as an artist for the Universe and keep on painting. I’ve been struggling with what I can do to help my neighbors in Haiti. I checked to see if I could offer services as a former nurse and discovered that without disaster experience I’d be more trouble than help. I’ve gathered up a few clothes and shoes to donate. I’m sending a check to match what I spent on dinner last evening. But what else?

It's occurred to me to put my paintings to work. I've decided I will donate 50% of all my painting sales (less framing, or shipping and handling charges) from now until Valentine’s Day. I’ve chosen Partners in Health, a medical aid organization that already has a structure in place in Haiti, as the destination for this gift. They have a good reputation for low administrative overhead, so the money goes to work with a high degree of effectiveness.

If you’d like to support the relief effort in this way, please visit my website http://www.ellieharold.com/ and make your choice. I can accept most major credit cards. I will provide you with a copy of the check I send to Partners in Health with proceeds from your purchase.