Rise Above

The last time I posted, I mentioned a painting that was undergoing The Kitchen Test and that I thought it was done. Well, it did not actually pass The Kitchen Test. Again. So I brought it back to the work table. Again. My husband had noticed that it was gone from the kitchen wall and said, “I thought it was done”. I shook my head, no, no, it’s not quite there. Then he shook his head, muttering something that I couldn’t quite catch. Luckily I had two hours of studio time this past Wednesday and I was finally able to declare it finished. I am so completely confident that it is done that it didn’t even need to undergo The Kitchen Test.

Rise Above
16×20 inches

My second bowl painting.

Actually, I have a couple of bowl paintings from a few years ago when I was working on my Expecting series. The bowl to me then was about the woman/mother as vessel. And it still means that to me. I think that all ideas feed into another, whether it adds to the meaning or morphs into another.

This painting has some pretty personal meaning for me that I won’t get into here. But what I will get into is what is influencing me right now.

– that Raymond Carver poem
– layers and layers and layers of encaustic paint
– urban grunge, graffiti, rust, copper patina, metal, concrete

In Seattle a lot of my work had a soft blue, mossy, gray palette. Sort of like the watery, mossy environment around me then. Natural decay caused by sun and moisture. Here, my palette has changed for sure. I have a lot more rust and yellow in my work. A lot of the buildings in my Chicago environment are a rusty brick color or a yellow-ochre brick. Graffiti, stapled up billboards, rusted metal, patina of underneath metal of the L tracks. I can feel all that entering my work.

I can’t help it. I’m a sponge.

The funny thing is when we first moved to Chicago I was really worried about my art- I had been so inspired by Seattle-the tall firs there, the mountains, the water. And I wondered how on earth I was going to find inspiration in such an urban environment my new home was in! I was really distraught about it. But there is inspiration everywhere, I have learned. And the urban world has a beauty of its own.

“The artist’s world is limitless. It can be found anywhere, far from where he lives or a few feet away. It is always on his doorstep.” ~Paul Strand


  1. I love your encaustic paintings, this one too! Beautiful, I kept staring at it..at the balance of it, the colors, the texture, it’s beauty. It’s done for sure. Great job. Btw, I don’t do the kitchen test much anymore. That seemed to bug me too much, capture all my thought and time. Now I cover it with a sheet wait a week or two, or longer and then remove the sheet. I prefer the sheet test now 🙂 Connie

  2. Thank you all so much!
    As I wrote to Kelly in a reply,I was really worried! But I think my angst and anxiety had to do more with being in a state of “culture shock” of going from my quiet, green, cottage garden corner in Seattle to the very urban Chicago streets! 🙂

  3. Your work is beautiful–whether trees and birds in serene muted colors, or these exciting, urban-inspired pieces — it’s always such a pleasure to come here.

  4. Oh it’s beautiful! And I love the bowl as a symbol. I am glad (and jealous!)you were able to find a 2 hour stretch to work! I have to say that I am going through a little encaustic withdrawal myself.

  5. I can definitely relate to being a sponge. We recently moved and it had a profound change on my artwork as well!

    Your painting is gorgeous… the personal symbolism really shines through, and I’m very smitten with the layers & layers & layers 🙂

  6. Re-reading the poem again, I loved it all over. I want the next day to come too, as I work/see/love/breathe best refreshed from the nights rest.

    “But it’s my bowl, you see,
    and I love it.”

    Your painting is a beautiful visual of your bowl.

  7. I absolutely love, love, love this painting. I can relate to moments of anxiety and self doubt. Its only natural from time to time.

  8. I love this. Blacks, reds, golds appeal to me so much. I live in the forest like you used to but I still am captured by those colors. I love the journal, Bridgette! I am going to give it to my daughter who is expecting her first baby in May. I know she will love it and hopefully will fill it up with wonderful things.

  9. I think our environments do have subtle influences on our works- and what do husbands know? (the non-artist)- that is one of my mottoes 🙂

  10. I love your encaustics! The colors speak to me soo. It makes me want to run out and start encaustics!!! Your work is sooo enspiring to me. Yes, I believe we are very, very inspired by our surroundings. My favorite place to create is in my back yard surrounded by my plants and with my kitties looking out the window at me. Keep creating beauty!

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