A Day In The Life

A Day in the Life of Stella Maria Baer

by Amy Azzarito

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset
Stella Maria Baer is an artist who, for the last few years, has become known for her paintings of animals (or people) riding on top of other animals. (Perhaps the inspiration came from the years that she spent working as a wrangler on her family’s ranch in Wyoming?)  She grew up in Santa Fe, New Mexico but these days she lives in New Haven, Connecticut with her husband, Seth, dog, Fox, and hedgehog, Hegel. (Cute overload. Hedgehog photos here, here and here.) –Amy

About Stella: “I’ve been painting for 8 years. For many years it was a private, nearly secret practice. From 2009 to 2012 I worked for artist Titus Kaphar as a studio and research assistant. For the past two years I’ve been working as much as possible on my own work. My favorite thing about being a painter is the way my work defies my own expectations. Paintings never turn out exactly how I think they will, which puts me in a place of discovery in my studio.”

Processed with VSCOcam with hb1 preset
Image above: “Every morning Fox and I get up around six and go for a walk.”

Processed with VSCOcam with n1 preset
Image above: “After feeding Fox breakfast, I spend a little time journaling about things I want to make, my current color gravitations, and anything else on my mind. (Crescent moon cup by Small Spells)

See the rest of Stella’s day after the jump!

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset
Image above: “I’ve been starting off the work day at my watercolor desk, usually with a painting of a planet or moon. This is my most recent painting of Eris the plutoid, a trans-Neptunian dwarf planet.”

4. watercolor greys
Image above: “I’ve also been working on a series of abstract color studies, mostly in grey.” 

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset
Image above: “On the other end of my studio are the works in oil. They’re slower moving, and sometimes take months, whereas the watercolors I complete in one or two sittings. Moving back and forth between the two mediums gives balance to my studio practice.”

Processed with VSCOcam with hb2 preset
Image above: “Ever since I went on a trip to Antelope Canyon in April I’ve been haunted by the colors of the rocks in that place.”

7. me and the snailrider
Image above: “I’ve been working on this painting of a man on a snail since January. The idea first came to me over a year ago.  I’m hoping to finish it this week. (Top by Hackwith Design)”

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset
Image above: “I try to spend a little time every day looking at things that inspire me. Clockwise from top left: Painting People by Charlotte Mullins. Interaction of Color by Josef Albers (cover collage by me). Language of the Robe: American Indian Trade Blankets by Robert W. Kapoun. Painting by Elizabeth Peyton. The wool rug was woven by my father in the 70s.”

9. mammoth moon
Image above: “In the late afternoon I often return to my watercolor desk. Recently I’ve been experimenting with larger paper, like this 39″ x 26″ painting of the moon.”

Processed with VSCOcam with n1 preset
Image above: “When my husband Seth comes home from work he sings to Fox.”

Suggested For You


  • i’m a big fan of her instagram feed (there was a series of horseback riding images with Ariele Alasko that i followed with the sort of fervor usually reserved for car chases; kardashian weddings). really dug this peek!

  • I love this tour! Stella’s pieces are beautiful and her home and studio are soulful. Very inspiring to a fellow painter.

  • I want to live that kind of life. Immersed in beauty and creativity.

    I have had to give up my photography and artwork to care for my partner, who has end stage lung disease. All my time is spent fund-raising for his upcoming double lung transplant.

    These photos from Stella’s life made me even more eager to get back to a life of serenity and joyfulness. The sheer delight that comes from laying out your paints for the day or planning a photo excursion….I have lost that.

    This article made me realize just how far I have migrated from the life I want to live. I need to find the path back.

  • Yay Stella! Your work is so wonderful and unique. You have great ideas. The man on a snail is so whimsical and yet hits at something true.

  • Incredibly refreshing and inspiring. This is the kind of content that keeps me coming back to Design*Sponge. As the blog landscape evolves I grow increasingly weary of the barrage of sponsored posts, polished fashion shoots, and crafting tutorials for party decorations prevalent in many blogs. I am hungry to read about things that are REAL. The purity and joy of Ms. Baer’s creativity leaves me feeling recharged and inspired for my own art (and I’m glad to know that I’m not the only one who keeps special rocks and feathers on my studio table!) Many thanks to Ms. Baer for sharing her day and to Design*Sponge for continuing to post content about artist experiences and the creative process.

  • What a beautiful home! Her painting are stunning. I have to ask though…what kind of dog is that? So cute!