Incertitude Revisited

 |  September 1, 2011

In the dream I heard an order: You will come to the city- describe it. So I asked, How shall I know what is meaningful from what is not?

Later I found myself in a field, winnowing wheat from chaff. Under a grey sky and lilac clouds, the work was hard, but simple. Time didn’t exist, rather it had turned to stone. I kept working in silence until she appeared. Stooping over the field, she took pity on a weed and I, to please her, added it to the harvest. Then she did the same for a stone. After, she begged mercy for a mouse. When she had gone, I was confused. The straw seemed more beautiful and the grain, unyielding. Doubt overwhelmed me. I stopped my work. Since then wheat and chaff have mixed. Under the grey sky the horizon is a smudge, and no voice answers. ~Cristina Perri Rossi, The Ship of Fools



I can’t believe it’s been so long since my last post! It has been a really busy month, with no camps or classes scheduled for my son before he heads to preschool next week. And my daughter, now 18 months, is a typical squirmy, always running, climbing 18 month old who seems to be inches away from disaster at all times! I have found moments here in there to get into my studio and have finished several journals and paintings and have others in the works. And of course, so many things swirling in my head, waiting to be heard. So when I have a child-free moment I have to choose- take photos, blog, or paint. And this past month I had been so starved for studio time, that I always chose to paint.

For the above journal I used a print of a painting that I made several years ago. I dipped it in wax and used the wax as the adhesive to the underneath layers already on my panel. The rest of the panel I painted with acrylics amd experimented with alcohol inks that Sue Stover gave me while we were at EncaustiCamp in July. Sue had told me that you can use alcohol inks on encaustic! So I have been experimenting with that too, but with this piece I just wanted to try it with acrylics. I did a lot of layering with the inks and wiping away, which created really interesting effects and texures. My friend, Binky Bergsman, explained to me that if you put alcohol ink down on acrylics, let it dry and then add alcohol on top, you can then wipe it off which “erases” a painted portion of your work. I had been doing that without understanding why.

The original “Incertitude” painting recently left my studio and now lives in Oklahoma. But this journal, Incertitude Revisited is currently for sale over at

There are other reasons why I have revisited incertitude, metaphorically speaking- I have been feeling torn between two styles of painting recently, which creates a feeling of uncertainty for me. For many years now I have created moody mixed media works, using photos of my trees and birds as the central imagery. But lately I have been drawn to brighter colors, more folk-ish style of painting with my bowls. They are both so very different, yet both are me. Part of me thinks that I need to pick one and stick to it. But the other part….well, you know, if something wants to be heard, it needs to be heard.

I have lots of things to post to illustrate my split-personality conundrum, but I still need to photograph them all. Just not enough time to do it all!

Oh, and by the way, the excerpt at the top was the original inspiration of the painting of the crow that I did several years ago. I have always loved that passage. I read it in its original spanish and it’s especially beautiful read in its original tongue.


  1. by Liz Hampton-Derivan Studio on September 1, 2011  11:44 am Reply

    Let the voices be heard. Seems several of my artist friends (& myself included) are looking in different directions right now. Beautiful journal! Nice you are finding bits of studio time.

  2. by Judy Wise on September 1, 2011  1:10 pm Reply

    The split personality. I have it too; torn between my storytelling urges and my stripped down, minimal abstracts. It is crazy making. Only in my journal do I let all the voices in. We are really complex creatures, aren't we? (sending so much love ...)

  3. by Sharon on September 1, 2011  6:21 pm Reply

    I now live by the rule: Let what wants to come, come. I think what you are saying here is felt by many artists. One must define one's direction. Anything less is not professional. When did we all buy into this thinking? And why? I may restrict what I choose to show, but I will no longer restrict what I may create. Who knows where the thing you need to experience the most will come from? Who knows what leads where?

    This is a really beautiful piece.

  4. by Susana Tavares on September 1, 2011  6:22 pm Reply

    I totally agree, don´t worry let voices come in...sometimes I have those questions in my mind too...but i think let it flow is the best :)

  5. by rivergardenstudio on September 1, 2011  8:38 pm Reply

    Oh Bridgette, this is a wonderful post. I love it all. The quote is perfect for your painting, I might have to steel it and put it on tumblr. And the orange and red-brown so delicious. And I will try the alcohol experimenting.
    Yey, it is almost the weekend. Mostly I love that you are torn. This is a constant battle with me too. Except right now I love mountains, of any color, or any size. Have a happy weekend lovely artist.

  6. by Vanesa on September 2, 2011  7:40 am Reply

    Interesting post, thanks.

  7. by bridgette on September 4, 2011  11:50 am Reply

    Sharon, Liz, Judy, Susana- Thank you all for your insight and advice you left on my recent post. You are so right Sharon- there should be no restrictions on what we create. I don't know why we buy into that line of thinking! It's good to know that I'm not alone.

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