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Dear Diary: Kimberly Trowbridge

Seattle painter Kimberly Trowbridge is among the hardest working artists I know. Whenever I need a bit of inspiration, I think of her soldiering on in her studio, relentless and passionately working on her vision.  To hear Trowbridge speak on anything related to art is to listen to a living Steinbeck narrative. She is a whirlwind, a force, a hard truth.  Like her paintings, she cuts straight to the core without wasting time, effort, or material.

It is with great pleasure that Trowbridge has provided a bit of a behind-the-scenes glimpse of her life upon return from a residency in Spain. What follows is her narrative:

“This is my first full day back in Seattle, after spending six weeks painting in Spain.

Because of jetlag, I am awake well before the sunrise and the darkness and solitude are palpable and mysterious. At the first sign of light I walk outside and watch a series of pink clouds slowly make their way over the Cascade Mountains in the distance. I think about how I can carry-over the new self I have found into this new chapter of life here at home.

I make myself coffee and read a few passages from Jean Luis Borges’ collection “Everything and Nothing” and then begin unpacking my small painted panels and setting them out on the mantel for viewing:



I walk out to the studio which is filled with stacks of wood from the deinstallation of my exhibition “Story Tell Her”which came down while I was away. I begin organizing and clearing space for my new work, and arranging my supplies so that I can easily slip back into working:



I unroll my paintings on linen, re-stretch the 4 smaller pieces on their frames, and pin the larger 3 on the wall:


I am filled with ideas for new paintings, a collaging-together of memories of the Montserrat Mountains and the incredible people I have met. I decide to stretch a new large canvas in preparation for some of these visions:


A gentle afternoon light flickers from the window of the studio, and I go outside to observe the changes that have happened in my absence. Autumn is here. I can smell it in the air and the new palette is rich and tertiary and filled with decay. I spend a great deal of time observing the color relationships of the plants outside my studio:




I am overwhelmed and excited by these colors and cannot wait to start responding. I keep my promise to myself that on my very first day back I will go outside and paint, in order to build a bridge for my spirit to cross over. I choose the yellowing Kerria japonica against the indigo facade for my subject matter:



Coming back into the studio, I pull a rune, asking for guidance on this period of transition. I draw the Partnership rune, Gebo, X. It speaks of the importance of keeping my unique vision as I enter back into my relationship at home, and offers an important reminder about the relationship with the Higher Self, and recognizing the divine in all things. It signifies the gift of freedom from which flow all other gifts.


I spend a long time watching a spider approach and eat a ladybug woven in its web:


My partner returns home from a day of teaching. He collects tomatoes from the garden for our dinner:


We spend our evening at The Beveridge, in West Seattle, sampling seasonal pumpkin beers out of lovely little glasses. My favorite is the Elysian Plumkin, unfiltered, with the taste and aroma of plums and spice and all the colors that seeped inside of me after a day of looking…


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