Jodi Hills

So this is who I am – a writer that paints, a painter that writes…


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BIG HOUSE, LITTLE HOUSE, BACK HOUSE, BARN.

The farmsteads in Maine and throughout New England evolved over time as barns and other structures, including farmhouses, were built. Throughout the 1800’s, a unique layout of connected farm buildings developed, based on functional needs including shelter from the winter weather. They were referred to as Big House, LIttle House, Back House, Barn. This connection created greater comfort for the family as the farm grew.

The first time I visited, I fell in love with Maine. The color palette drew me in. A greyish blue sky, that held both the promise of sun, and rain. The guarantee of warmth and growth. The houses and barns, never thick with fancy, but filled with a gentle strength. Such beauty in the simplicity. I wanted that simplicity. That strength. Those connections.

To connect — I suppose that’s everything. Barn. To know the work, the hard, back breaking, “foot in each furrow” labor of living. Back house. To be forever welcomed through back doors, no matter how stained and weathered from the day. Little house. To rest in the comfort and familiarity of the ordinary. Big house. To celebrate the grandeur of the extraordinary!

Big House, LIttle House, Back House, Barn — a world away, I wander through each on a daily basis, giving thanks, knowing that I am home.


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Come in, you and your heart sit down.

For many it is a tradition to drive around neighborhoods to look at all the houses lit up for Christmas. That’s fun, I suppose, but for me, I looked at it a little differently. I was never so much in search of the light, but the warmth.

Since giving up our home when I was a little girl, I began the search. I would walk by. Bicycle by. Look at the homes. Wondering what they were doing inside. How did it feel? What was it like to be gathered in? Wrapped inside the warmth. Not the heat, nor the light. For it wasn’t about that. It could be a summer’s day, and I would search for the warmth.

What was that warmth? If I had to give it a definition I would say the feeling of belonging. The feeling that if you went there, they would not just have to take you in, but delight in it. They would sigh with hearts, that you made it here – home. They would not care how you got there, just that you were there, here, in the warmth of this place.

And so I painted. Houses. A yellow house. A green house. White houses. Doors. Entries. Windows. Shutters. I painted it all. Willing it to life. And I did, you see. I found it in the search. The destination was my heart. (I guess Glinda from the Wizard of Oz was right — “You had the power all along, my dear”)

I still paint the houses, even though I have found my way home. I’m no longer searching, but presenting. Maybe you need to find it too. So I paint them. Again. With a palette that will draw you in. Open arms. No judgements. No restraints. I want everyone to feel that. Not just Christmas in December. Or July. But every day!

Welcome home.