Welcome to the latest Tap-In, where our latest featured artist is sure to rouse your inner muse. I lose myself in the luscious layers of wax, color, texture, imagery, creativity and pure magic of Bridgette Guerzon Mills‘s encaustic mixed-media artwork! Meet the artist and beautiful person behind this captivating work… What makes you feel most fully engaged with life?
I feel most fully engaged with life when I am in the process of creating. When I am painting and am in that state when things are flowing and I am open and present to that moment right there and what is before me — that is when I feel like all is right in the world. No matter what is going on in my life or if life is stressful, in that moment, life feels wonderful. Creating fuels me. I feel that way also when I am creating with my children, whether it is with art materials, or with flour and eggs, or with dirt and seeds. It feeds me to share that creative force with them as well.
What is your favorite mode of self-expression? If you have more than one, do you find that they intermingle and intertwine as you create? If so, tell us about this.
To put it simply, I pretty much like to make things and that means I am always creating in many different ways. I like to make images which is why I paint. Because I have young children and am not able to get into the studio as much as I would like, I turn to taking photos on my phone and then altering them with Instagram or other apps. I am able to express myself through these images even when I can’t get my hands on paint. These photos often end up in my mixed media paintings or provide inspiration for color and composition. I also love words and languages. Growing up in a multilingual home, words were so interesting to me. Words were fluid, never constant. Words continue to influence my work and writing about my paintings on my blog are part of my creative process. I love clay. When I buy art, it’s usually ceramics. My love of clay is probably why I was so drawn to painting with encaustic in the first place. Encaustic has such a tactile quality to it and the surface allows one to carve into, make marks, etc. much like the surface of clay. I have also always had a love for textiles, embroidery, weaving, etc. I’m not saying I can do all that, but I am so drawn to cloth and thread and they have always shown up in my work — either embedded in my paintings or as a symbol and metaphor in my paintings. Our work is a sum of who we are and what we are drawn to, so it only makes sense that all of these facets of self-expression show up in my mixed media work.
Do you have any advice on how to find your authentic creative voice and stay true to it?
Find out what interests you and what your passions are and follow those threads into your work. Don’t follow someone else’s interests or passions, because it just won’t ring true. The only real way to find your authentic creative voice is to create, create, and then create some more and make a lot of mistakes. It is in the mistakes that we find our footing, which will lead you to your own personal style and voice.
When you create, are you messy?
Yes! It often looks like an explosion on the table and all surrounding surface areas. However, I cannot create in a mess and I have to clean it up before I start a new painting or project.
Do you have any life mottos?
I always fall back on the motto from the school I went to from 3rd grade to 12th grade: Inveniam viam aut faciam “I will find a way or make one.”
What is happiness?
I have learned and will always have to learn this lesson many times over: happiness is a choice.
A hike in the Redwood Forest or an adventure through the streets of Paris? Which one and why?
Both. I love being in nature and I prefer it. Nature restores me to myself and where I draw a lot of my inspiration for my artwork. However, I also love the energy of cities, the architecture, the history, and the diversity of cultures and people. So, I guess in a perfect world I’d live in nature, but get to go into the city as often as I needed to feel that buzzing of life that happens on the streets.
Please share a recipe:
I have been making this banana bread recipe since high school and people always ask me for the recipe once they have tried it. The key is to wait until your bananas are very ripe, not rotting of course, but very, very ripe. When the banana peel is more brown than yellow is perfect.
Banana Bread with Chocolate Chips
- ½ c vegetable oil
- 1 c sugar
- 2 eggs
- 3 ripe bananas
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 c flour
- a handful of chocolate chips
- In a large bowl, mix bananas and eggs until light.
- Sift together: flour, sugar, salt and baking soda. Add to the banana mixture.
- Add oil and vanilla extract. Mix until just combined and throw in the chocolate chips. Pour into a 9×5 inch oiled loaf pan.
- Bake at 350 F for 1 hour.
Bridgette Guerzon Mills is a mixed media artist whose work primarily focuses on paintings, but at times delves into book art. Her work incorporates a variety of materials including photography, oil paint, acrylic paint and encaustic (wax-based pigments). Bridgette’s artwork, artist books, and journals have been published in magazines and books and her work has been collected in the United States and internationally. She has exhibited nationally and abroad. Bridgette currently resides outside of Baltimore in Maryland with her husband, two children, and dog.
Let’s connect on Facebook!: