|  June 27, 2010

encaustic and mixed media
14×11 inches

It’s hard to believe but this coming up month we will be approaching our 2nd anniversary of moving to Chicago. I lived in Chicago 10 years ago for school, but still the lifestyle change from Seattle to Chicago was abrupt, and a little rough for me. A friend of mine, who has lived in Chicago now for over 15 years, told me that it took her about two years to adjust to living in the city and then after that she knew that she would never want to leave. So, I’ve been watching the approach of this anniversary of mine intently to see how I feel.

….well the jury is still out. Ha!

Don’t get me wrong, Chicago is a fantastic city and if I were to live in a big city, this would be the one. But still, there is a part of me that is a coastal person, and maybe not a big city person.

But I have definitely adjusted. One of the first signs of the adjustment was actually the change in my palette. In Seattle I painted with a lot of cool blues, grays, and greens. A reflection of my watery and green environment. Living in Chicago, there is a lot of rust and earthy/urban colors that surround me. There are a lot of buildings built with a yellow/ochre brick. I notice those a lot. Buildings with red bricks, concrete grays, and rust and patina. And those colors have seeped into my paintings.

This painting is a perfect example of this transformation in more ways than one. I’ve been painting over older paintings, as I’ve mentioned before. Here is the original. I actually painted it a few months after we moved to Chicago, but the landscape is based on a Seattle photo I took of a park we visited often. The colors are that blue, gray with that misty, foggy feel. I was still holding onto what I knew and what I held close. And now I’ve not only rotated it a different orientation, but the yellow, ochre and rust have crept in. The plant in the center is a native prairie plant of Illinois which replaced the evergreens in the original painting.

So, what does this all mean? hmmmm, I guess time will tell.


  1. by Crystal on June 27, 2010  4:01 pm Reply

    I think at the very least it means that you are super talented and brave. The original was a beautiful work of art and yet you were brave enough to let go of it and let it be transformed and renewed. Outstanding!

  2. by Amber Gibbs on June 27, 2010  5:32 pm Reply

    I love the new use of yellow in your work, it's really wonderful to see that splash of warmth in there.

    PS - Portland is a great city ;)

  3. by merci33 on June 27, 2010  8:30 pm Reply

    I agree with both Crystal and Amber and would add that moving does 'change our orientation' and we do see through new eyes...if we have the courage to do so.

    I appreciate the way in which you're observing the city and shifting its palette to your work...rust and earthy use them in such a rich and fertile way.

  4. by Sharmon Davidson on June 27, 2010  8:43 pm Reply

    I like both pieces, but can definitely see in these the influence of environment on your work. It's interesting how that happens, without us really being aware of it. It seems you've made a shift, somehow, in the way you see things, not just in what you see. Change is good!

  5. by Curio on June 28, 2010  6:50 am Reply

    The contrast between the old piece and the new is pretty remarkable. I would be most attracted to the original (I love the blues) but I must say the Chicago painting seems filled with optimism and light...and that has to be a good direction to go in.

    Like you, I paint over older pieces. The last one I painted is in it's 3rd (& final) reincarnation.

  6. by Shayla on June 28, 2010  11:44 am Reply

    It feels good once that initial adjustment phase is over. Sounds like you may be a country girl at heart but that you're still able to be happy in the city. This is a peaceful and cheerful piece.

  7. by Kim Hambric on June 29, 2010  9:54 am Reply

    Are there many artists out there who do get to live and work where their soul is the most content? As an artist, do you get to influence your surroundings or do your surroundings influence you? Will you art be better, clearer, more meaningful to you (and possibly the viewer) if there is conflict in the work?

    I must say I do prefer a piece with warm color in it somewhere.

    You are a brave person to pick up and move and create where you've landed.

  8. by Kim Henkel on June 29, 2010  3:37 pm Reply

    I love all of your work. To say which I like better the old or the new is difficult. I dabble in bookmaking and drawing/painting some. Wherever you create I think your work is beautiful, and because of your work I know that one day I want to try encaustics...just not yet.

  9. by Seth on June 30, 2010  9:27 am Reply

    I have noticed the changes in your artwork over this two year period. Some subtle and some much more bold. But all still BGM! Brave of you to work over the original work - which was truly wonderful itself.

  10. by Dyche Designs on June 30, 2010  4:22 pm Reply

    Having moved to Virginia just a year and a half ago I can relate to adjusting to new places. When I lived in Connecticut I was just 15 mins from the ocean, I miss it.

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