Interpreting a Visit to the Chesapeake Wetlands

Bridgette Guerzon Mills | Wetlands, oil on canvas, 10×8 inches, sold

A few months ago I accompanied my daughter’s Girl Scout Troop across the Chesapeake Bay Bridge to visit the Chesapeake Bay Environmental Center to work on their Bronze Award project to help in the restoration of the oyster reefs in the bay. While we were there I was mesmerized by the peacefulness of the wetlands and the marshy grasses. I knew that at some point I would attempt to paint scenes from that day. I finally dedicated some studio time to this endeavor in the past few weeks. I set myself to do this scene in different media in my attempt to figure out what direction I want to go in with my landscape paintings.

My first attempt was with oils, as seen above. I mainly painted with a palette knife and layered the paint on to create texture. I really do love the texture in this painting. Below is a detail.

detail of the oil painting, Wetlands, by Bridgette Guerzon Mills
detail of Wetlands, oil

I decided to then try the same scene in encaustic. This was pretty challenging. Maybe it was because of the small size? I’m not sure. I do like the texture of the sky and the smoothness of the water.

Three different paintings of a marshy location on the Chesapeake Bay.
Bridgette Guerzon Mills, Wetlands 2, encaustic, 10×8 inches

I knew I wanted to go much bigger, but I decided to do one more small painting. This time in gouache on paper. i found working on this last small painting very meditative. When I say meditative, I mean that it flowed, not much thinking or questioning.

Bridgette Guerzon Mills| Wetlands Restoration, gouache, available in my online shop

While different aspects of each version speak to me, I can’t help but be drawn to this one. The patchwork feel to it makes me happy and so does the pink. I have been including a touch of pink in my landscapes lately, to convey a tenderness. The earth is a living and breathing organism, does it have a heartbeat? Can we not see it as such, and learn to care for it as we care for those we love?

When I finished this one, I felt ready to tackle a bigger version. I decided to do it in acrylic as I recently have been thinking more and more about using materials that are less smelly. I will write about it on my next post- I just finished it yesterday. Whew! It put me through the wringer.

“Creativity is allowing oneself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep.” – Scott Adams


  1. As always, I love your art. I have such an affinity for how you see the natural world because it manifests some of my deepest feelings, particularly your birds in landscapes. These wetlands are wonderful, and I always love the encaustic. Thank you for being out there connecting.

    1. thank you so much for your words. They are helpful in reminding me that there are other people like me who have a particular emotional response to the natural world. That means a lot that there are others who understand.

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