Listening to a Deeper Way

“Walking, I am listening to a deeper way. Suddenly all my ancestors are behind me. Be still, they say. Watch and listen. You are the result of the love of thousands.” – Linda Hogan, Chickasaw poet, writer and environmentalist

Listening to a Deeper Way

Bridgette Guerzon Mills | Listening to a Deeper Way, encaustic mixed media, 24×36 inches

I started this painting several months ago. I was determined to create a large abstract painting to hang in my bedroom on a big blank wall. 24×36 inches is a large size for me, especially in encaustic and so it takes me a long while. I’d work on it here and there, but for a long time I stalled on it. And it sat in my studio with a reproachful look whenever I glanced that way.

This week I finally got back into the studio I pulled it out and onto my table and committed myself to push it along. And when I was finishing up another painting, I decided that I would add one of my photo transfers to it and then I knew I’d finish it. I came back the next morning and it was done.

I love abstract work and my paintings are actually abstract compositions which I then add a natural element to- usually transfers of photos that I’ve taken on various hikes or wanderings around. I have been told by abstract artists whose work I really respect, that I could just leave out those elements and have a solid abstract painting…BUT, I just can’t do it. It’s not my voice. I know that I am a being that is very connected to the earth and I just have to keep that connection going in my paintings and my work. Maybe one day I will get there, but maybe I won’t. Maybe that’s not my path. As my artist statement says:

I am drawn to the inherent beauty and spirit of the natural world, and my artwork is a personal dialogue that reaches into the stillness of that spirit. Through both imagery and medium, I create organic pieces that speak to the cycles of life, growth and decay, memory and the passage of time.

My mixed media paintings incorporate moments captured by my photographs with the richness of paint, creating a bridge between two worlds – the real and the reconstructed. I lay down layers of paint and pieces of photo transfers, papers or fibers to create depth in both form and meaning. The canvas becomes a multilayered surface that speaks to both the visual and tactile senses. This integration of diverse layers creates an intimate connection that invites exploration.

My artwork aims to reveal the beautiful melancholy and the fragile imperfection of the life around and within.

I wrote the above several years ago, but it’s still true. I’m still on that path. It’s important in all that we do, but especially if you are an artist, to listen to that voice within and follow it.

So I still don’t have a big abstract painting for that blank wall in my bedroom. Ah well.

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