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Remembering Paula Ensign

Remembering Paula Ensign

We are saddened to learn of the loss of a wonderful artist, our friend Paula Ensign. Our deepest condolences go to her friends and family. Paula was a member of the CHF Art-Business Accelerator cohort of 2017-18. Raising three children as a single parent, she set up a studio the day her youngest went to college, saying in a 2017 interview: “Not a day goes by that I am not grateful to be living the artist’s life.”

Drawing for Paula was a meditation. By drawing and painting on location, Paula established visceral connections to specific places where she found peace and harmony. She became part of the scene, and shared that with her audience. They feel the sand between their toes, smell the pine in the air, hear the seagulls, and watch the sun dip below the horizon. In this hectic world, locations that replenish the soul were Paula’s treasures to share.

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Paula accomplished so much at CHF, and said: “The past two years have been a real turning point in my career.” We will miss working with her to build the business that would do justice to her incredible art.

This Way and That by Paula Ensign
This Way and That, Paula Ensign

Some of her CHF colleagues shared their memories:

“Let’s raise a glass to Paula in honor of her creative life! I am grateful to have known her, even for a very short time, because she had the courage to listen to and follow the voice that asked her to be an artist. Cheers to Paula, with respect to our colleague who was part of a community of artists, and in sympathy to her family for her loss. “—Aaron Laux

“Though shocked and saddened by Paula’s passing, one only has to look at her lighthearted and cheerful paintings to feel joy once again.”—Donna Lee Nyzio

“I emailed her just a few weeks ago, and she said she was still making art…Which is incredible…”—Willy Richardson

“Paula was a lovely, calming presence, and her art reflected that as well. She had tremendous perspective, except when it came to the powerful impact she and her work had on us all. She was much too gracious to acknowledge her own importance. Like Willy, I was in touch with her just a few weeks ago. She leaves behind gigantic, empty shoes.”—Elizabeth Hulings

“She carried the calm and strength that her paintings revealed coupled with the bright swath of a shining smile. I know that she will be missed, but it sure was a pleasure to have had the time that we had.”—Bethany Taylor

“Here is what she wrote to me when I asked her the question of how she would define growth: ‘Through artistic expression, hearts and souls grow and expand, and life becomes more meaningful both for the artist and those who appreciate art.’ Her paintings were sublime…”—Belgin Yucelen

“I didn’t know Paula personally, but from her art I felt very connected to her. I felt lucky and blessed to have known her through CHF. Any of us brave enough to have applied and made it into the program had skill, stamina, and artistry! I adored her art, such a precise technician with the splash of color. Her art was a window into her personality—strength and delicacy at the same time. Blessed to have known her.”
—Nadia Fairlamb

Paula’s obituary is in the The Bainbridge Island Review. We are deeply honored by the donations we have received in her memory. We will do right by them.

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Penelope ThomasPenelope Thomas
Penelope Thomas is CHF's account manager and producer of The Thriving Artist™ podcast. She has worked with organizations including The Cunningham Dance Foundation, The Theatre Development Fund, Public Energy, Marla Kirban Voiceover, and The Construction Company. Penelope has a background (and sometimes a foreground) as a singer, dancer, and actor, and can be seen the HBO Women in Comedy Festival selected short, Pretty/Dead.

2 thoughts on “Remembering Paula Ensign”

  1. Avatar
    Marilyn Crowley

    I took several classes, in oils and inks, from Paula at Creative Arts Week at Camp Newfound in Maine. It was such a pleasure and brought personal and artistic growth for me. Because I was willing to let go of old concepts of myself and try what she wanted me to do, I stretched myself in many ways. Her teaching style was gentle, encouraging, nudging. I am reminded of the poem by Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr., The Chambered Nautilus: “Build thee more stately mansions, O my soul….” I am sure that is what Paula is doing.

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