All is Mystery

 |  January 13, 2013

We wake, if ever at all, to mystery. -Annie Dillard

All is Mystery
encaustic mixed media
20×16 inches

I corresponded with Ann Carter a bit more after my last post where I shared the documentary of her, her work and her daughters and she wrote to me and said something that has stayed with me these past few days. “It’s funny the way one thing leads us to another—a path that’s not always clear at all but still there if we keep our eyes and hearts open.”

I’ve been thinking along those lines for the past few months and I believe some of that trail of thought has been appearing in my recent work. Or at least in some of the stages. It is, at least, in the forefront of my mind while I’m working.

One of the properties of encaustic that attracts people to it is the ability to create transparent layers with the wax. When I used to just paint with acrylics, my process was very similar in that I was interested in the building up of layers- to create texture, as well as for the metaphor. I continue to do so with encaustic, but the difference is the transparency that is inherent in the wax. I used to paint pretty opaquely. I did not thin my colors down all that much with medium. But in the past year or so, I’ve changed things up. Really exploring and exploiting that quality of transparency in wax.

I have also been thinking a lot about what is hidden and what is revealed. And I have been delving into that in my work recently. The painting above is a finished piece where I spent a lot of time ruminating on obscuring and revealing.

Work in progress #art #workinprogress #studio

I took a picture of the painting in its early stage. A pretty early stage. Below is a detail shot of sort of the same area of the finished painting.


All is Mystery is part of my bowls series, speaking of- I need to come up with a better title for….


  1. by Sue Marrazzo on January 14, 2013  12:29 am Reply

    I LOVE this POST and your work is inspiring...I am also an encaustic painter. It's great to see the process...THX!

    • by bridgette on January 14, 2013  11:27 am Reply

      thanks sue, glad you enjoyed it

  2. by Melissa Hall on January 14, 2013  10:29 am Reply

    Perfect title! It's so hard to photograph encaustic works and capture the depth. I can definitely tell "All is Mystery" has wonderfully beckoning layers. I hope to see this one in person someday.

    • by bridgette on January 14, 2013  11:28 am Reply

      Thanks Melissa- it is so hard for me to photograph my encaustic paintings in general, and this piece in particular was so difficult! Any tips? :)

    • by Melissa Hall on January 18, 2013  9:38 am Reply

      It looks to me like you did a wonderful job. The light is even and there are no hotspots or shiny places. That's about all we can ask for in life! Leah MacDonald told me in a workshop that she got the best results from scanning pieces but it would be impossible to do that with anything larger than around letter size - plus I'm lazy and don't want to clean off my scanner that often. I just try to use natural light outside on a cloudy day or from a window with something white on the darker side to bounce back and even out the light. I also use a tripod and try to shoot in the middle of the piece straight down.

  3. by just jen on January 14, 2013  11:39 am Reply

    Hey Bri? Seriously? Capital "A" Art Hero. and don't laugh this time, 'kay?
    what you are moving through, discovering, seriously gives me art envy. in the very best of ways. it reminds me of jeanne myers work ... different in style, but similar in attitude. I need to get my head outta my butt and just do it. (Oh nike where would we be without you?! :P)

    and for what it's worth, I love Bowl Series ... kind of a jab at the sports world. ;)

    • by bridgette on January 17, 2013  10:06 pm Reply

      Ok, I'm not laughing this time Jen. :) Thank you so much for sharing your observation of what I have been doing lately. I've known you for so long via this internet thing and always appreciate and respect your feedback.

  4. by Meri on January 14, 2013  12:43 pm Reply

    Beautiful! The piece and the mental process.

  5. by windrock studio on January 14, 2013  4:41 pm Reply

    Very beautiful piece and thoughful words, too! Annie Dillard quotes keep appearing lately, that's a good thing!

  6. by Carole on January 16, 2013  1:25 am Reply

    There's nothing like a good mystery, Bridgette! :)

  7. by Margaret Cooter on January 19, 2013  6:26 am Reply

    What is hidden ... but not lost ... a topic for contemplation. My work concerns loss of memory, so the hidden things in your work have a lot of resonance for me.

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