The Springhouse

 |  January 10, 2014

Over our striving, our rooms, our houses; the beautiful ritual of the rain falling against the window, the voice of the wind, makes us remember a journey older than thought, deeper than death, a triumph, the secret ascension of love. The tasting of those things in our days and nights is the partaking of the sacrament of existence. ~Cecil Collins

springhouse copy
The Springhouse
encaustic, print, copper on wood
30×24 inches

I completed this painting around mid December just in time to give it as a gift to my sister and brother-in-law for their Christmas present. The Springhouse is an actual stone building on their property. A springhouse is a small building that was used for refrigeration. It is usually a one-room building constructed over the source of a spring. The water of the spring maintains a constant cool temperature inside the spring house throughout the year. I also learned that some people called them Milk Houses because they would put milk out there to keep cool.

I first saw this building last spring and took a photo of it. At that moment I knew I wanted to make a painting of it and I knew I wanted to incorporate some sort of metal as part of the painting. It was like a flash of a vision in my head all those months ago. But then life happened and it wasn’t until almost December that I was able to actualize this vision from months ago. As I worked on it, I had to make adjustments to my original vision, but that’s part of the process. It felt good to finally realize what I saw in my head that spring day.

Coming back east I am comforted by the sights of these old stone buildings I see as I drive around, getting my bearings on this region. I remember them from my childhood. I may not have thought much of them at the time, but now it’s like they jog some sort of hidden memory. Their silent presence just feel familiar. And old buildings, yes, I wonder at the stories within the walls. The lives that went in and out of the doorways. Stone carry memory and presence. Ageless and ancient at the same time. I wanted to preserve this building at the moment that I encountered it in my artwork in a way that would speak to these qualities.

To give an idea of scale, here I am holding up the painting and talking about it.

the remains of a stone building in McLean, VA

How will we know it’s us without our past? -John Steinbeck, Grapes of Wrath


  1. by windrock studio on January 10, 2014  6:50 pm Reply

    I really appreciate your love of the old buildings and the stone and love the way you honor it all in your beautiful art. Such a nice addition, that copper!

    • by bridgette on January 12, 2014  9:18 pm Reply

      Thanks so much. When we demo'd the top of the garage to build the studio, there was bunch of copper left over......which i of course saved and will be using in my artwork until it runs out!

  2. by trish quilty on January 10, 2014  7:20 pm Reply

    I love this piece. Very special, especially for your sister & your borther-in-law.

  3. by Leah Hughes on January 11, 2014  8:40 am Reply

    Amazing! I only wish I could sink in more detail. I'm a beginner with encaustic & I hope to someday be able to produce such beauty.

    • by bridgette on January 12, 2014  9:20 pm Reply

      Thanks so much Leah. It's all a journey and encaustic has so many possibilities.

  4. by Judy Shreve on January 11, 2014  10:38 am Reply

    Such an amazing piece - you have certainly captured its agelessness and what a great way to re-connect with your surroundings and history. I'm sure your sister and brother-in-law are thrilled to have it.

    • by bridgette on January 12, 2014  9:21 pm Reply

      Thanks Judy. I find that doing art about my surroundings is how I connect with it. It's such an important process for me.

  5. by mary mccloskey on January 11, 2014  2:19 pm Reply

    As usual, your blog post is so thoughtful--I just love the way you weave the quotations and the artwork together. I am so impressed with the quotation you began with by Cecil Collins. Can you tell me the source? I Googled him and found he was a British painter, but I'd love to find more of his writing.

    • by bridgette on January 12, 2014  10:09 pm Reply

      Thank you Mary. I ran across this Cecil Collins quote so many years ago......I don't even remember when or where I came across it. I just love this quote so much that I decided to order a book about him and his work, so I'll let you know what I find out!

  6. by Seth on January 13, 2014  11:38 pm Reply

    A unique piece for you but one that also captures your essence as a painter. Thank you for the image of you holding the painting. It is all the more a stunner when seeing its imposing size (although I have met you and know how tall you really are - LOL)

    • by bridgette on January 14, 2014  5:37 pm Reply

      ha! That is very true Seth! I actually thought that the painting probably looks bigger than it is just because people don't know how small I am. :) Thanks for your kind words about this painting. I really appreciate it as we've been connected since I was working tiny and you've seen my progression. Thanks always, Seth.

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