rooted in the bones of the earth

Rooted in the Bones of the Earth
encaustic on handmade paper canvas
8×10 inches

In a recent post I mentioned that I have been torn between two of my different voices. One being the moody and melancholic landscapes that deal with memory and the passage of time. And the other, my more colorful personal narrative that I have been delving into in the past three years since I moved to Chicago. Well, it’s pretty obvious where this one fits in!

When I was in Oregon for EncaustiCamp I made sure to get myself some of Michelle Belto’s handmade paper canvas that she had made and then stretched and mounted. Michelle makes beautiful surface designs with her handmade paper and then builds atop her paper canvases with encaustic. Well, I love paper and I love wax and the thought of combining the two as a surface to paint on was alluring.

At first, I was astonished by how much wax the paper absorbed as I prepared the surface with my initial layers and fuses in between. But it mades sense. Paper is absorbant. Duh. And then I continued painting. I did intend to attempt to keep the layers fairly translucent to show the original surface design of the paper underneath the wax. But the painting that was emerging wanted me to do otherwise. And I always listen to what the painting wants.

The thing that I liked about her paper canvas was how light it was. With all the layers of wax that are applied to a painting, encaustic paintings can become heavy. This piece, while small, still felt very light because the substrate was paper. I imagine that if I had painted on a much larger version of the paper canvas, that it would still feel much ligther.


Have I mentioned yet that I will be teaching a workshop in Wisconsin next month with fellow Chicago artist Jenny Learner? I am really looking forward to teaming up with Jenny to offer an encaustic intensive weekend workshop. She will teach the first day and then I will teach the second. I will post about it in more depth soon, but here is a link to Whispering Woodlands, just outside of Madison. Our workshop is set for October 8th and 9th. Join us for a weekend of encaustic painting in a beautiful setting!

The opening for the Come Together exhibit was fantastic and I am truly honored to have the books that Seth, Jen and I collaborated on in the show. I was so busy talking to people and actually really enjoying the reception that my husband was in charge of taking pictures. I created a flickr set of the photos that he took.

Group photo of the artists in the show
From left to right: Michael Young, Ignacio Montano, John Bannon, Alicia Forestall Boehm, me, Mary Ellen Croteau, Celia Greiner, and Amie Sell whose dress matches her installation behind us!

Artists in the photo or who weren’t able to attend: Katarzyna Bietak, Seth Apter, and Jen Worden.

One of the artists in the show that I met at the opening is Mary Ellen Croteau. Her work amazes me and inspires me and the first time I stepped into the exhibit space and saw her installation, my jaw dropped. Her work confronts you and makes you think about yourself in the context of the work. Read her artist statement and look at the work. Just be sure to check her website out.


  1. What a dramatic and powerful painting Bri. Another one that I hope to see in person one day. And handmade paper canvas. Now you have me intrigued!

  2. A lovely painting, Bridgette. You always do such lovely work. Wish I could go to the workshop. 🙁
    I usually don’t have a pre-conceived idea when I paint. I usually let the painting take me where it wants to go.
    Handmade canvas paper? Would love to try that.

  3. I love your moody and melancholly landscapes…. though I wouldn’t have used those words. now I see it! And I think some of my work may have these emotions as well.
    and that is what I am drawn to!
    I actually have this piece on my Tumblr blog to inspire me and others.
    have a wonderful day.

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