visual journal spread, II

 |  October 22, 2008


This was another entry that I started in Judy Wise’s class on Saturday. We did a cool automatic writing exercise across the two pages which we then covered up with gesso. She had us pick a word that had been on our mind, or a word to focus on. I chose “clarity” because currently in my life I am trying to hone in on my mission/vision of how my art and life intersect. She then had us write for 15 minutes on a memory from childhood that may fit with that word.

I wrote about a story that is now part of my family’s lore. We each tell the story to our kids now, so that they will know their aunt even though she is no longer with us. It was about the time when all the lights went out in our 180 year old house during a really bad storm. My three sisters and I were terrified by the storm and the idea of having to go through the old creaky house in the dark to get the candles that were down in the pantry. We were in my oldest sister’s room which was the converted attic. And the pantry was next to the kitchen, 3 floors down through hallways and several rooms. It seemed like an overwhelming feat.

But then my sister’s little voice piped up in the darkness “I can lead you. I know the way”.

My second sister was blind and her life was in darkness. But the hallways, bumps, corners and steps had all been memorized by her hands and feet and her other senses. We all lined up behind her- I was in the middle because I was so little and scared and refused to be on the end. We held hands and made our way down to the pantry and got the candles and flashlights. With the light the world became ours again. But without my sister’s other knowledge and intuition, we would have been lost and scared.

I wrote this incident much better in my journal, but that’s the gist. I don’t think I am done painting this page. But I might be.


  1. by Crafty Gal Linda on October 22, 2008  10:52 am Reply

    That story is beautiful. Thanks for sharing your wonderful art and journaling.

  2. by Judy Wise on October 22, 2008  12:46 pm Reply

    What a beautiful story and journal spread. Truth is more amazing than fiction. We all have these incredible stories tucked away than can enrich our art. xo

  3. by smith kaich jones on October 22, 2008  1:37 pm Reply

    That is really the coolest, best story I've read in a long time. The fact that it's true makes it all the more cool. I love it AND your journal entry.

    :) Debi

  4. by Jeane on October 22, 2008  2:16 pm Reply

    bridgette - such a wonderful story - I love the idea that your sister's everyday world that would normally be seen as a 'handicap' became the thing that overcame your handicap at the moment - and I'm loving this Judy Wise - this journal page is just yummy!

  5. by paulanm on October 22, 2008  5:24 pm Reply

    If you could have clarity in one thing, what would it be? And would it still be clear?????

    I think the word clarity is an interesting word to work with in terms of encaustic.

  6. by Meri Arnett-Kremian on October 22, 2008  5:51 pm Reply

    Isn't Judy just deliciously inspiring? She's so warm and supportive. Sitting here with a sore throat, looking at the encaustic collage I did in her class at Art Unraveled, I feel pure envy that you're having so much fun. . . as well as pure disappointment that I didn't get into her class at ArtFest 2009.

  7. by Jo on October 23, 2008  1:44 am Reply

    Bridgette, still finding my feet after my trip away...what a beautiful post to open up your blog too...Endearing story about your sisters...just love your journal pages too.

  8. by Laura on October 23, 2008  7:26 am Reply

    Hi there! New here (kind of..been lurking a bit) but wanted to comment on this.

    I loved the story, it was beautiful and I love that you tell it to the kids to remember their aunt (I'm sorry she is no longer with you).

    I think growing up around people with what others consider handicaps really does make you a different person. I grew up with a grandmother in a wheelchair, a cousin that's blind and a friend of the family that has spinabifida. It truly is amazing what they can accomplish and makes you see things differently when you look at the world from their perspective. If everybody could experience that I think there would be a lot more tolerance and kindness going around.

    Love the journal page too!

  9. by katie on October 23, 2008  9:16 am Reply

    what a moving and powerful story to pass on- i can picture the three of your, you in the middle, the three of you. it sounds like your time in wisconsin was wonderful! judy is such a great teacher and all-around-amazing person.

  10. by Shayla on October 23, 2008  12:57 pm Reply

    What a beautiful story, Bridgette. A good reminder that every person has their own set of strengths and abilities.

  11. by laura on October 23, 2008  3:17 pm Reply

    First time visiting you, led here by Judy Wise. This is a beautiful blog and your family story is enchanting. So glad I found you.

  12. by seth on October 23, 2008  10:06 pm Reply

    Perfect story for this perfect page.

  13. by Leah on October 24, 2008  1:11 pm Reply

    what a beautiful post, bridgette. i loved the story about your sister.

  14. by jenni on October 24, 2008  1:53 pm Reply

    What a lovely story. I appreciate the way you share such tender moments in your blog. It makes me feel your work more when I read the words as well.

  15. by rivergardenstudio on October 25, 2008  10:41 am Reply

    This is a beautiful story, I bet you had amazing times in your house with your sisters when you were growing up! I think you have the makings of a book! I also love the "Clarity" pages of your journal. Thank you for this lovely post... Roxanne

  16. by Robyn on November 11, 2008  12:00 am Reply

    What a touching story. I am loving your blog and your amazing art.

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