Pigments of Imagination

Meredith Ellen Bernhardt
The Artbridge in Shelburne, MA
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I am so happy to be now living in beautiful New England and to be part of this amazing community art center, The Artbridge.

It was suggested that I write something about myself and about my art, particularly that it is not computer generated (although I did clean them up in Photoshop for printing after I discovered that the originals did not print well when enlarged).

When I first began to paint, it was a way for me to have an adventure when I was laid up for a long time and couldn't walk. Then it evolved into a meditation and a way to step out of a painful situation. I would discover that I had been in an altered state for ten hours, often more, while I was painting. The time seemed to pass in an instant.

Due to my complete lack of knowledge and experience, I was going for precision with watercolors and a brush that, although small, was too big for what I was trying to do! So, most of these designs went through a very messy period. Then a friend brought me some acrylics and teeny weeny brushes and I was so excited to be able to make all the lines and smallest parts as clean and balanced as possible. (Well, I used to be a dancer - I guess that "dancer's mentality" still hangs around!)

I've learned a lot since then, but I still basically work the same way - just start somewhere in pencil and see where it takes me. The designs evolve on their own and the colors seem to choose themselves. I find it interesting that, although I am usually drawn towards muted and relaxing colors, the ones that insisted on being used were strong, courageous, with an adventurous spirit - everything that I was going to need in spades for some time to come.

During the "messy period" I was really tempted to throw away everything I had worked on for so long. But I just couldn't give up on them. I'm so glad that I didn't. The designs with the most and worst "Myst-takes" turned out to be the most interesting. They became a metaphor for David my life. Although they were certainly not "beautiful" at the long moment, I figured they could turn out to be "interesting."

Although I am still disabled, I can stand and walk for short periods. Now that I no longer dance, painting is what I do. I am so grateful to have this art form to accompany me on my life's journey, wherever it takes me. There are so many combinations of colors and shapes to explore. I know I will never tire of it.

These designs are the representation of a journey of discovery where what seems "wrong" turns out to be right, and you know that something wonderful is just around the corner!

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