|  August 31, 2008

myself, 6×8 inches,
encaustic and mixed media

I started this mixed media panel last Friday. It will be completely done once I bind it as the cover of a journal. After the long hiatus from my studio I started with what is comfortable to me- my mixed media journal covers. After all, I made journal covers for about 4 years before I began painting on canvases for paintings to hang on walls. I have a new series brewing for paintings, but for now, for the sheer joy of being back in the studio, for filling up my very empty inventory at, for the love of bringing odd materials together, for using up random “stuff” that fill up my newly organized bins, I am working on mixed media panels to be bound into journal covers.

I have a drawer that is now marked with the label “words”. I have words that I have printed out; print torn from dictionaries, old books, magazines; poems that I have written. When I can’t find what I need in my drawer, or if I need inspiration for words to add to my mixed media panels, I turn to Affirmation books. yep, that’s right. I found an affirmation book on “Women who do too much” at a rummage sale many years ago and I flip through it every so often to jumpstart my brain for some words. I have always felt funny about having that book on the shelves of my studio because I don’t feel like I am a woman who does too much. I mean, my house is not as clean as it should be, we get takeout often even though I enjoy cooking, I am very possessive of my time, etc. etc.

But this one page jumped out at me because of issues I have been dealing with- balancing my need for a creative outlet and my desire to push forward with my artwork with my life as mother and wife and my desire to be present 100% for my family. Maybe it’s not a big deal to other people, but I have been thinking about this a lot, it seems like for months. I had been feeling like I don’t have time or energy to create art. I felt unmotivated, tired, overwhelmed. I had big questions arise in my head: If I don’t do art, WHO AM I???? It is such a part of me, my identity. And I was feeling a little lost.

Last week I received an email from an artist in Australia who found my work through flickr and she also has a very young son. She wrote about how she too finds the time to create here and there when she can. She wrote to me to thank me for the inspiration through my work and that I am able to keep doing it. Her email meant so much to me, but it also accentuated my funk and I didn’t feel very inspirational to anyone, least of all me! But her email did help get me into action into working out a work schedule and getting back to it.

So this entry in the affirmations book was on Acceptance and Humility.

“But if you go and ask the sea itself, what does it say? grumble, grumble, swish, swish. It is too busy being the sea to say anything about itself. ~Ursula K. LeGuin

No one who ever sat beside the sea and experieced her eternal power and gentleness can have any question that the sea knows that she is just what she is, with no pretense….and she does not even have to stop and think about it.

When we have to stop and think who we are, we are not being who we are. When we are trying to be someone we believe we should be, we are not being who we are. When we are trying to be what someone else has told us we should be, we are not being ourselves. To be myself, I have to be.”

This piece encompasses all these thoughts for me because of all that it took to get me back in the studio and also how I felt while I was working on Friday. Sometimes a piece is meaningful to me, not because of the actual imagery, but because of the process and experiences behind the scenes.

Mother, wife, artist- that is all of me. There is no struggle. I am just going to keep doing what I can when I can. All of these roles are me, plus there are many more too. I am blessed to have art as my outlet, I am grateful for my family, and I am fortunate to have a choice.

I am sitting in my studio right now finishing this post in my attic studio and I can hear little footsteps running up and down the hallway below and the little voice I love so much, chattering away excitedly. It just brings a smile to my face. When I want to pull my hair out or feel totally drained from chasing after a very very active toddler, I need to remember my blessings. And cherish the time I have in my studio. ha!

wow, I think this is the longest blogpost ever for me! I must have a lot on my mind. I have lots of art to share now in the next couple of days. I won’t be so wordy. I promise.


  1. by azirca on August 31, 2008  6:42 pm Reply

    Despite your lack of inspiration of late, it sounds to me like you have everything in perspective.
    I think no matter what commitments we have, all artists go through a period of self-doubt, feel unmotivated and lack that all important inspiration that we need to kick us into gear. Be patient and not too hard on yourself and in time I'm sure that things will fall into place.
    If this beautiful piece is anything to go by, I think that you are definitely on the right track.

  2. by smith kaich jones on August 31, 2008  7:32 pm Reply

    No, no, no. You must NOT promise to be less wordy. Stay wordy. I love it!

    And, oh man, how much I love your stuff. Your whole life is IN your stuff. Those little footsteps are right there - or there, maybe, or maybe over in this corner, but they're THERE. Never doubt it.

    :) Debi

  3. by manymuses on August 31, 2008  7:43 pm Reply

    Thank you for saying the things that I feel but do not reveal.

    Your life is not unlike my own- finding that delicate balance between artist creator and mother creator is the keenest trick of them all.

    Keep going. I enjoy your work.

  4. by Binky on September 1, 2008  2:23 am Reply

    Hey Bridgette,

    You can only do what you can do. You are a himan after all. You are going to be blown away by how soon it is that Noah is grown and gone.

    "This too will pass" is what I remind myself when I am down and feeling like I don't have enough time or motivation.

    I hope you are loving the big city.

  5. by Binky on September 1, 2008  2:25 am Reply

    Sorry. You aren't a himan you are a "human". Geeze, I should preview.

  6. by Lorie M. on September 1, 2008  10:05 am Reply

    I think you said something we all feel, who have children at home, it is a balance, and a blessing. I'm past the toddler stage, but things stay just a busy with teens and pre-teens. Focus, prayer and a sense of humor helps. Your work is so wonderful. thanks for sharing it!

  7. by Michelle on September 1, 2008  11:20 am Reply

    Everything is perfect.

  8. by Jo Horswill on September 1, 2008  4:57 pm Reply

    Bridgette, Love your piece "myself"...there is so much strength in that lone tree, standing firmly on the ground! It's well balanced too!!! Say's allot.
    You are doing what many of us do...I have spent the last 25 years balancing my art practice with motherhood...feeling similar feelings as you...
    Don't be too hard on yourself...feeling tired and overwhelmed is a natural part of being a mum...your art practice will fit in around all this...:)

  9. by mary ann on September 1, 2008  9:24 pm Reply


    finding the time to do what we need to do so that we can be WHO WE ARE. it's a struggle that never ends, but maybe gets easier. i like to think so anyway.
    love the quote about the sea. and everything else over here...

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