On November 22, 2023

A special place: For Vermont artist Carrie Pill it’s in the mountains

By Sarah Calvin

Picture yourself at the top of a small hill, your snowshoes strapped tightly to your winter boots. The frosty air kisses your cheeks as you breathe in the crispness of the winter day. You take a step, beginning to go down the trail, but the snow is loose and your feet slide, one after the other, as if you’re skating on snow. Your lips curl into a carefree smile as you feel an exhilarating rush of joy.

That snowshoe adventure, sliding down a snowy trail, is the story of how Rutland artist Carrie Pill discovered her love of skiing. An avid adventurer, Pill has always loved spending her days outside exploring Vermont, gathering artistic inspiration from its natural beauty.

“I’m very lucky I grew up in a family of artists,” Pill said. “When I was a little kid, my mom did craft shows…so we would come to Vermont a lot for that. I always remember Vermont as being a special place.”

Vermont was special enough to draw her back, this time to the now-defunct Green Mountain College in Poultney, where she studied studio art. In her free time, she and her friends would drive up to Killington and Pico Mountains, where Pill tried snowboarding for the first time.

“I had no idea what I was doing,” Pill said with a laugh. “I just tried to pick up as much as I could really fast. [I] got hurt a bunch, and got lost on the trails, but I had the best time. I just think the winters here are magic.”

That magical quality is imbued within Pill’s paintings, the majority of which feature the beautiful landscapes of New England. 

Pill often paints her scenes from photographs she’s taken, but she prefers to paint plein air, or outdoors, with the subject directly in front of her. The challenge of capturing a scene before the light shifts means she has to work faster, creating a more abstract work. She especially enjoys the way plein air painting allows her to interact with the public, who often stop to converse and admire her work as she paints.

Plein air painting also gives Pill the flexibility to combine her profession with her passion. She’s currently on a journey to paint (and ski) every ski area in Vermont, capturing the beauty of skiing and winter throughout the state. Her favorite place to paint, however, will always be Pico Mountain.

“I’m very partial to the views from Pico Mountain,” Pill said. “They’re just stunning. I spent a lot of my first days skiing at Pico so I have a strong connection there. There’s just this natural character, there’s this nostalgia.”

When Pill isn’t skiing at a resort, she loves to go backcountry skiing and blaze her own trail. She often brings her border collies, Luna and Bear, along with her. Pill readily admits she’s addicted to skiing, citing the rush of joy she gets every time she flies down a mountain. The joy she feels permeates her paintings, inspiring those who see them to create their own adventure.

For more information about the artist and/or her works, visit:CarriePill.com.

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