One Year Ago….At The Helm

It was a year ago this month that I created the pyrography piece At The Helm. It was done on a birch cradled panel that I made myself. It is notable for being the first piece of serious personal work I had done in woodburning. All woodburnings before this were commissioned. After getting dozens of commissions, mostly from work, I finally thought to myself “hey, I’m pretty good at this; I should try this at home.’ It’s embarrassing to think how long it took me to realize that, but at least I got there eventually. This is a piece of art that I am quite proud off. I think it is one of my best pieces, in any medium.

My father ended up buying it, and it now lives on his boat in Alaska. My father is a huge boating enthusiast; he has written several books on boating, including The Cruising Life. And you have to be serious about boating to live on one in Alaska. So I am very glad it ended up with him.

At The Helm, pyrography by Jay Trefethen

September Art Recap

September was a busy month for me. I completed four pieces of art, two oil paintings and two wood burnings. I’m still focusing on relatively small pieces, as they can be done in a reasonable amount of time. I’m really missing the larger pieces though, so I’m going to have to go back to those sometime soon.

One big change this month was my abandoning my Yahoo web site, and starting a whole new web site here on The Yahoo Small Business site was just too glitchy, constantly crashing and locking me out of the dashboard. I was getting really tired of talking to tech support who knew almost nothing about web hosting. So far the wordpress site is working well, though it is frustrating to have to start over from scratch again. Right now I have my old Yahoo domain,, redirected to this site. The term of my domain subscription ends in December, so I’ll have untill then to decide if I want to transfer the domain to this site (costs money,) continue to forward the traffic here (slightly less money) or just cancel my domain name and use the free domain from We’ll see how it goes, and how broke I am in December.

Chapman’s Country Store in Fairlee, Vermont, has started carrying my pyrography art. They accepted four of my small basswood pieces. The owner of the store also gave some good advice about making art for sale. She pointed out that functional art sells a lot better than wall art. She explained it quite bluntly. People feel they need an excuse to buy art, they can’t just buy a work of art because it’s beautiful and makes them happy. They have to feel that it serves some practical purpose, ’cause happiness isn’t a valid purpose, apparently. So if the art served a purpose, they can rationalize buying it. Even if the piece’s function is minimal, it still works. She suggested cutting boards, candle holders, gourd vases, junk like that. I’ll give it a try, and we’ll see what happens. I would prefer it if people would buy my wall art, but I need a local outlet for my work, soooo….

As for online sales, I’ve posted both new oil paintings up for eBay auction. You can check them out at The first is a really pretty butterfly painting, and the second is a cute nude study. I had a lot of fun with both.

In the bummer department, the Newport Library Arts Center rejected my submissions for their Gallery of Gifts show. This is the second time in a row they rejected my pyrography art. I’ve never had a problem getting into their shows with my paintings. It’s only my pyrography that they stick their nose up at, which is really frustrating. I’ve heard online about pyrography artists having a hard time getting into juries shows, despite the quality of their work, but this is the first time I’ve experienced this sort of mindless bias against pyrography firsthand. Now I have to decide if I’m going to continue showing my paintings there, or tell them to f**k off. They deserve the later, but I do need a place to show my larger paintings still. I also need to find a place to show my larger pyrography work too, which is why I was entering it into the Library Arts Center in the first place.

Anyway, it looks like October will be more small, fun paintings for eBay, some (sigh) functional art for Chapman’s store, and more searching for places to display my more serious work. Stay posted….

pyrography on basswood by Jay Trefethen
Winged Beauty, pyrography on basswood, © 2019 Jay Trefethen
pyrography on basswood round by Jay Trefethen
Ghost Koi, pyrography on basswood, © 2019 Jay Trefethen
oil painting by Jay Trefethen
Delicate Fire, oil on canvas, © 2019 Jay Trefethen
oil painting by Jay Trefethen
Midnight Dreaming, oil on canvas, © 2019 Jay Trefethen

PS: Yes, I know I’ve been really bad about taking good photos of my work. I’ve been using my phone way too much lately. I will have to start taking real photos of my work again.

Delicate Fire, oil on canvas by Jay Trefethen

This is my new oil painting. A simple study of butterflies. Pretty straight forward. Except butterflies, as it turns out, are really hard to paint. One of those tricky critters that looks fairly simple, until you try it.

I had been thinking of doing a study of butterflies for awhile now. A few days ago, when I was working outside, a gorgeous Monarch Butterfly flew up to me and landed on a bush right next to me, just like she was posing for me. So I took that as a sign that I should finally do that butterfly painting I had been thinking of.

I like the way it came out, and I learned a lot from doing it. So I will definitely be doing more butterflies sometime in the future. In the meantime, this painting is up for sale on eBay, where I sell artwork as nightairstudios. If you are interested, please take a look. I’ll be doing around 10 oil paintings between now and Christmas specifically for eBay. As usual there will be a wide range of random subjects. I really just paint whatever strikes my fancy at the moment. I do imagine there will be more than a couple scantly clad ladies in the mix.

painting of Monarch Butterflies by Jay Trefethen
oil on canvas, 9″ X 12,” © 2019 Jay Trefethen

About Jay Trefethen

I am a self taught artist living in Bradford, Vermont. I build furniture at the world famous Pompanoosuc Mills and create pyrography art for a livelihood. My pyrography, also known as woodburning art, can be seen locally around the Upper Valley area of New Hampshire and Vermont. I aslo create orginal oil on canvas paintings, which I mostly sell online, on eBay as nightairstudios. I also occasionally show my oils at area art shows.

‘First Time’by Jay Trefethen Update

Just a quick note to mention that First Time has arrived safely at her forever home, and the buyer is very happy with the piece. He sent me an e-mail this morning telling me how happy he is with the piece. Happy collectors are always a good thing! So I just wanted to share that good news to negate the venting I did on my last post.

New New Blog

Last Try at an Art Blog

Be yourself; Everyone else is already taken.

— Oscar Wilde.

So this is my newest attempt at an art blog/website. I’m starting to get a little freaked out at how hard this is turning out. It’s really gotten crazy how many tries this is taking. My last blog was a WordPress blog hosted on Yahoo Small Business. I picked them just because I had purchased my domain name from them years ago. Big mistake! I liked the WordPress interface, but the site itself was super glitchy. It kept crashing. And the worst thing about a WordPress site crash, is that it effects everything including the administrator’s control panel. Which means when the site crashed, I wouldn’t be able to get at the controls to fix it. I would have to contact Yahoo customer service, and have them do it. I ended up calling them at least five times in a two month period. What a headache. This was especially a problem since they weren’t exactly WordPress experts themselves. Yahoo Small Business really has no business offering WordPress sites since they can’t seem to staff people who know how to deal with WordPress issues. So know I’m starting a new WordPress blog, this time on I figure all these guys do is WordPress, so they should know what they are doing. And hopefully their hosted sites will be a bit more stable and crash less often. I have to say, if this doesn’t work I’m done with having my own website. I’ll just upload stuff to instagram and be done with it. I’m an artist, not a web designer. I don’t have time for this. I hate to vent on you guys, but I really am a bit freaked out about how much work this has been. And now I have to start all over yet again.

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