Throughout the fall, winter and spring of 2015-2016 I photographed the Connecticut River for the From the River, To the River public art project in Brattleboro. In my encaustic work I found myself incorporating patterns that I saw and photographed, as well as a sense of both ease and peril that I felt when I was on the river. I sensed the patterns of freeze and thaw of the river in myself, in my relationship to my work and to the world around me.
Last winter I spent days in the Brattleboro Historical Society* researching historical photographs of the Connecticut River, mesmerized by glass plate negatives of miniscule figures skating on the long-ago frozen river. Forgotten people. I wove these thoughts and threads into the work in the encaustic studio.
I’ve kept two poems by my friend, the poet Diana Whitney, pinned to the wall of my studio. Her words come close to expressing the feeling of calm force tinged with darkness that I sense from the river, and in my own marrow. I return to them again and again to find direction, and the comfort that I am not alone. One poem, Rivers, Diana had never finished. To her, it was a discarded item. To me, it was a valued compass.
This body of work is the natural evolution of conversations spoken and unspoken between Diana and me. Diana had no way of knowing how her words would anchor and lead me. I have no way of knowing how my imagery might lead her. We carry on with faith in the process of making, and with gratitude at the felicity of connection.
*The Brattleboro Historical Society has kindly allowed me to use bits of imagery from their historical photographs. 10% of proceeds from sale of these paintings will be contributed to the Brattleboro Historical Society.