September 22nd, 2017
By Veronica Vale, Fine Art Consultant
It’s a sparkling summer morning when I turn off of Guardsman Pass and into Bridgette Meinhold’s drive. The sun filters through green aspen trees as Meinhold’s dog, Cooper barks his hello. Stepping out of the car, a wave of chilly air reminds me of just how high in the Wasatch mountains we are. It feels like a different season up here — a phenomenon encaustic artist Bridgette Meinhold is more than familiar with. She waves warmly from the porch of her cozy A-frame cabin, dressed in flannel and holding a hot coffee.
Bridgette Meinhold welcomes me into her studio, a recycled shipping container turned half encaustic workshop, half frame woodshop. Freshly finished encaustic paintings surround us, some lying across her table, some propped up against the walls. The natural, atmospheric scenes in her paintings reflect the landscape we just stepped out of, and I find myself staring at them as if they’re windows. She holds up a large creamy blue piece and I feel the sense of soft atmosphere wash over me.
“I want people to experience Nature in a different way through my work.”
“I want people to experience Nature in a different way through my work,” she says. Living up in the Wasatch mountains where it snows all but two months of the year, Bridgette Meinhold experiences nature differently, perhaps more intimately, than most. The scenes she paints are her experience, and she strives to share that experience of this world with others. “Yes, I’m painting trees,” she says, “but really I’m painting air.”
“Yes I’m painting trees, but really I’m painting air.”
Her latest work aims to get closer to the heart of what these landscapes look and feel like — they’re more subdued, quieter than the paintings currently hanging at Gallery MAR. Meinhold explains that she wants her latest work to feel like “walking into the fog,” with all the “uncertainty of the future. [There’s] more sense of adventure when you go even if you don’t know what’s going to happen. You just have to keep going.” Her upcoming November show “Forging Ahead” seems all the more aptly named.
With natural inspiration all around her, Meinhold brings a sketchbook wherever she goes. Her adventures in skiing, biking, and hiking present her with endless scenes to capture — which she does masterfully in watercolor and ink. Every encaustic work that she paints begins with a watercolor study, which are often taken from watercolor sketches she paints on location.
“I have found that I can use my skills to help save land, and I plan to keep doing it.”
Her passion for nature and the environment is apparent. Before she was an artist, Meinhold was a sustainable consultant and wrote and edited for a blog on sustainable living for eight years. She then reveals that she wrote and published a book on sustainable housing solutions called Urgent Architecture, mentioning this accomplishment with the air and gusto of someone mentioning that they just got their oil changed. Her book seems all the more relevant in light of the hurricanes plaguing our coast and the wildfires burning in the west. When asked how this passion for the environment informs her work, she replies:
“I care about the environment a great deal and it is always an influence and an inspiration for me. There is nothing complicated about my interest and devotion to the natural world. It heals me and I do what I can to help it. Specifically, in the last year, I have done a lot of work to help protect open space, namely Bonanza Flat, and I have found that through art I can help raise awareness and funds for specific causes. Basically, I have found that I can use my skills to help save land, and I plan to keep doing it. We all need a cause to rally behind and open space and protecting the environment is mine.”
To experience Bridgette Meinhold‘s encaustic paintings for yourself, and to meet the artist in person, join us for her upcoming show with sculpture artist Bryon Draper, “Forging Ahead,” on November 24th at Gallery MAR.