when the universe speaks

 |  August 26, 2012

When the Universe Speaks
encaustic mixed media
8×8 inches

Are works of art ever dedicated to a person, like a writer dedicates a book? It makes sense- a writer spends so much time, dedication, tears, effort in creating their tome of words. But why not an artist? Maybe people do. Who knows. I was just thinking that if I were to dedicate this particular painting to anyone, it would be to my husband.

He’s always talking about the universe. And multiverses. And branes. Yes, branes, not brains. Well, actually, he does talk about brains in vats quite a bit too, thanks to Descartes. And I nod, discuss, and sort of get it. But honestly, most of that stuff goes way over my head. It’s fascinating for sure, but there’s only a finite amount that my brain can process until it shuts down and I just start repeating the last parts of his sentences so it sounds like I’m following him.

Last Tuesday when I was working in the studio, I had woken up really early in the morning and gotten a chance to read a bit in Madeleine L’Engle’s book Walking on Water: Reflections on Faith and Art. I started a chapter where she starts talking about time in the terms of Chronos (chronological time) and Kairos (real time, or God’s time, as she calls it) and about Creation and the beginnings of Time.

She writes that our radio telescopes are picking up on the echoes of the sound of the primal explosion that formed our galaxies and solar systems.

“As the echoes of the beginning linger, so, too, all that we say moves outward in gradually diminishing but never-ending sound waves. One of the more delightful mysteries of sound came when the astronauts on one of our early spaceships heard a program of nostalgic music over their sound system, and radioed NASA to thank whoever it was who had sent them the program. From NASA came the rather baffled reply that they had sent the astronauts no such program and knew nothing about it.” p94

Well, it turned out that the music they had heard had been broadcast in the 1930’s and was just getting picked up by the astronauts!

She goes on to say “There is much that we cannot understand, but our lack of comprehension neither negates nor eliminates it”. I may not understand the Mystery, but I can be in awe of it and humbled by what I don’t know, which is, um, quite a bit.

“Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known.” -Carl Sagan

{I saw this quote at the Museum of Science and Industry here in Chicago. If you’ve never been to this museum, put it on your to-do list, especially if you have kids. It is amazing. We went there this week and had so much fun and learned a lot.}


  1. by Seth on August 26, 2012  6:29 pm Reply

    This is a gorgeous painting Bridgette. The colors are so earthy and deep and the texture so compelling to me. And I found the ideas in your post quite fascinating. Thanks for giving me some things to truly contemplate!

    • by bridgette on August 26, 2012  11:46 pm Reply

      Thanks so much Seth. Reading that bit in her chapter that morning, then sharing it with matt over breakfast and hearing what he had to say about it definitely got me contemplating things while I was in the studio that morning!

  2. by Jann Gougeon on August 27, 2012  8:52 pm Reply

    What a fascinating piece of info about that music. The surfaces on your paintings are luscious and I love the vessel . . such a wonderful symbol.

    • by bridgette on August 29, 2012  1:08 am Reply

      Thanks Jan. I am definitely loving the bowl lately!

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