Stop and smell the sunflowers: Solo exhibit raises $32K to feed Livingston County’s hungry

4 mins read

It’s been a newsworthy yet tough couple of weeks in Livingston County. We could all use a break, don’t you think? So, let’s all breathe for a couple minutes by imagining ourselves in the center of a field full of beautiful sunflowers, giving ourselves a little time for reflection, as well as a recharge from all the negative ions we’ve existed under recently.

For those of us unable to get to such a place on our own, I offer up a photo of my newly acquired piece of beautiful calm for your pleasure. It’s No. 100 of 100 pieces of “LAYERS,” a plein air solo exhibit that raised more than $32,000 for the Earl Farm Foundation to help put healthy protein on the tables of Livingston County families in need.

My piece of “LAYERS”: it’s No. 100 of 100.

Creating en plain air is a fancy French way of saying that the artist is painting “in open air,” with the subject always in full, plain view. Painting en plain air has produced some of the world’s most breathtaking works of art, and it was popular with the Expressionists, including Van Gogh, Monet, Cezanne, and Pissarro.

You can now add Pominville to that list.

Howell artist Susan Pominville (who can count The Livingston Post’s logos among her masterpieces) outdid herself with “LAYERS.” We’ve written about Pominville’s unique painting style before; you can click here to read those posts.

Pominville came up with the idea to create a 4-foot by 8-foot painting made of up smaller canvasses of varying sizes to raise money for a cause near and dear to her heart. When finished, the smaller pieces of the work were sold individually, and in total $32,000 was raised.

The idea itself is a lovely one: Out of one many? Or many make one? Or many smaller donations create a larger impact? I am not sure which way to consider it, but I find the connection of each individual piece to the larger one spiritual and positive and inspiring and uplifting, things I really, really need to feel these days.

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“LAYERS” was created at the farm of John Mills in Howell Township, and its unveiling was celebrated in the farm’s breathtaking 45-acre sunflower field with a sold-out community fundraiser on July 31. The event was a collaboration between Brent Earl, the farm’s owner and president of The Earl Farm Foundation, and Pominville, who founded ART Feeding Families to use her talents to help reduce local childhood hunger.

If you weren’t able to attend the fundraiser or purchase a piece of the original work, you’re in luck. Prints of the complete painting are available for sale — click here to purchase yours.

And if you’d like to make a tax-deductible donation to help the nonprofit Earl Farm Foundation help families in need, click here.

We leave you with the official time-lapse video of Pominville creating “LAYERS,” as well as a peek at the celebration that followed.

NOTE: This story was updated to correct the ownership of the sunflower field. It is owned by John Mills.

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Journalist Maria Stuart worked at The Livingston County Press/Livingston County Daily Press & Argus as a reporter, editor and managing editor from 1990-2009. These days, she runs The Livingston Post.


  1. The sunflower field is actually owned and farmed by John Mills. But we loved being the background for the Earl’s great event!

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