Imagine being the First Immigrant to Set Eyes on this Beautiful Landscape!


Artist invites people to feel the welcome America offers immigrants in her oil painting, Chesapeake Flyway.

Experience the natural beauty of the Chesapeake Bay watershed and all the healing it offers. Artist Dorothy Fagan invites us to step into her painting to remember and witness ~ a time BEFORE Europeans migrated to America.

At a moment in time when so many Americans have lost touch with what unites us, an Impressionist painting invites us to reconnect. In a travelling exhibition, viewers are invited to experience a watershed moment. And to share their inspiration and ideas for action in a video exhibition, that will travel throughout the Chesapeake Bay watershed 2019 – 2020.

Chesapeake Flyway by Dorothy Fagan copyright 2018
Chesapeake Flyway, oil on canvas, 36″ x 60″

As she painted beautiful sunset clouds, and reflections of marsh grass sparkling on the water, Dorothy prayed for peace. Terrorized by an attack at knife point, the artist fought off PTSD and depression with her paint brush and prayers. As an integral part of her recovery, she ventured out to paint en plein air on protected land in Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania, and New York.

 “Painting became a spiritual act of prayer for me. Painting plein air gave me far more than the Impressionist ideals. Beyond them, I grounded my fears by touching the earth. Praying for peace, the Creator showed me full-spectrum colors. Balancing them in my painting, balanced the fear in my heart back to love.”

From the highest elevations in our landscape, the source of rivers and streams begins in a trickle. And so the Creator’s inspirations do as well. The urge to paint Chesapeake Flyway began as a small, scribbled pastel sketch. And then another. Unaware of the purpose of the Creator’s urges, Dorothy followed faithfully, recording brush strokes of how she felt moment-to-moment in the process.

CreativSOUP is what she calls it. Stirring the pot of creativity is much like using what you have on hand, to create sustenance for dinner. Dorothy’s symptoms of PTSD and depression disappeared. In time her awareness of the Creator’s messages swelled. Still Chesapeake Flyway remained unfinished. Discovering how few people know what a watershed is, she exclaims, “was a watershed moment for me! All at once the divine purpose for Chesapeake Flyway ~ crashed like a tidal wave at my feet.”

Inspiration for a Watershed Work of Art

Everything flows downhill from the highest elevation to the body of water that collects it. Our Chesapeake Bay watershed spans more than 64,000 square miles, encompassing parts of six states—Delaware, Maryland, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia, and the District of Columbia. More than 18 million people live in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. The land-to-water ratio of the Chesapeake Bay is 14:1—the largest of any coastal water body in the world.

Fagan began research for Chesapeake Flyway painting pastels in the mountains at state and national parks. Near her home at the mouth of the Piankatank River, the artist experienced a cathartic moment, while arguing with the Creator’s suggestion of where to paint. Digging her bare feet into the sands of Bethel Beach Sanctuary in Mathews County, Virginia, she took ownership of her love of this landscape. She jokes, “I catch myself standing on that thin stretch of land between water and sky, and laugh at the Creator’s play on my vulnerable position in the marsh!”

Stories and histories of the land and people accumulated, while she continued painting on properties protected by the Mathews Land Conservancy and Williamsburg Land Conservancy along the East River, Ware River, Nansemond, James, York, and Rappahannock. Infused with emotion, Dorothy’s deepening perceptions seeped into a full-spectrum palette

There was one day, Dorothy confides, “I drove over the Coleman Bridge at 7:00 on a brilliant winter morning. I felt as though I was suspended in a rainbow! The sun had just broken through clouds. Rain drops filled the air with mist, each a prism refracting light into bits of color exactly like Chesapeake Flyway.”

The Chesapeake Bay watershed interviewed folks in Virginia.

What is a watershed?

You are Invited to Experience a Watershed Moment

Imagine stepping into this atmospheric Impressionist oil painting. Imagine being among the first to behold this beautiful place in the New World. Feel the beauty. Allow your heart to melt into the soft colors. Allow your shoulders to sigh in relief. Your journey has been long and hard. It’s left an indelible mark on you. Let your fears dissolve in pools of mist between sky and water. Allow peace to wash over you. It’s okay to weep at the Creator’s grace in guiding you here. And it’s safe to speak your amazement in a prayer of thanks ~ for the simple privilege of just being here.

Share Your Watershed Moment

Describe your experience. How do you feel?

Share Your Inspiration

What inspired you? What will you do?

You are Invited to Paint en Plein Air

To pray for peace in this physical way, transforms mind, body, spirit, and hearts. Whether you are an artist or not, painting plein air offers you the opportunity to connect with the Creator within in a very tangible way. It is humbling to sit in a beautiful landscape and ask the Creator to show you which colors to put where!

Posted in: Art