Sweet Sixteen

encaustic mixed media painting by Bridgette Guerzon Mills

Today is the opening of the Sweet Sixteen show at Lark & Key to celebrate their 16 years of running their gallery. For the show I was asked if I could send work that was celebratory, light, and colorful. I remember being on the phone with them and chuckling and saying, “well, my work is not usually described that way….but I have a painting that I made recently and want to do more in that direction-brighter colors, looser brushwork and a vintage clip art transfer.” That painting was the one on the top right with the bird flying down.

What I had fun with in that painting was being loose with the brush on the bottom part. I can be pretty controlled at times, especially when a lot of my encaustic mixed media work is either grid-like or pieced together like a quilt. I had actually started that painting in one of my workshops where I was showing them how to use masking tape to tape off a shape to get a clean edge shape with encaustic. I showed them that with the pink circle. But that was all I did on that panel during that workshop. I took it home to my studio and did the rest at some point.

Next I did the rabbit. That was inspired by seeing a rabbit in our yard. I often will paint things that I see during my daily doings. It’s kind of like a diary. I was still keeping with the loose brushwork, but compared to the bird, you can tell it’s not as loose. Then came the butterfly, the bird in the house, and then the bee. And with each, they became more literal. So I diverged from my original intent, but I still love the direction I went in. It’s all about the journey. These paintings make me happy.

I love being part of this celebratory show. In a time where we’ve been seeing small business closing shop, we need to celebrate those that are able to stay open and celebrate that they give back to their local communities and to the people that depend on them, like the artists and makers. It’s definitely not easy. It takes a lot of flexibility, hard work, resilience, and a true love for what you are doing. I think that as artists we can get a little myopic about the whole process. Well, I know I do at times because the creative life can be a tough path. Without the artist, there is no art, right? Finding the right partnership is the key where the respect and trust is reciprocal. Thank you to the galleries and thank you to the collectors!

You can see these works and others on Lark & Key’s website. (I’m thrilled that three of my pieces found a new home already!)

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