A Passionate Learner

By Lori Goll

When the word went out to find volunteers to write Featured Artist articles, I quickly offered to write about our former Loudoun Sketch Club President and my friend, Cindy Bridgman.   I enjoyed interviewing Cindy and learning a little more about her interesting life.  

“Looking East” by Cindy Bridgman

Cindy grew up in northeastern Ohio and was the daughter of two history teachers.  Her father also was the Mayor of her hometown of Monroe Falls, Ohio.  As the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, Cindy also majored in history and political science at Otterbein University.  She believes that history comes to life through its culture, including art and music.  She played several instruments, including the piano, the flute and the bassoon!  Her grandmother was a self-taught painter, and her mother dabbled in painting as well.  (Interestingly enough, I came upon a painting in Cindy’s house which I mistakenly thought was her own…her grandmother’s style is so similar to her own).

Cindy met her husband, Mike, at Otterbein, and the two moved to Virginia in 1989 with their young son Jeff.  She worked in DC in the Office of Government Affairs for Dial Corp.  During this time she got her Masters in Applied History from George Mason University.  Her interests were in archival methods and historic preservation and her dream was to work for the National Trust, which she did at Oatlands for 10 years. She started in the gift shop and ended as Deputy Director. All those positions (including hanging art for the art shows!), were a labor of love for a mission she believed in.

“Wildly Romantic” (Chinon, France) by Cindy Bridgman

It was during this time that she began to attend First Friday events in Leesburg where she met and started taking painting lessons from Judith Thompson and benefited greatly from drawing with Dana Thompson.  She hasn’t stopped her study of art since!   Anyone who has read her “Letters from the President” in previous newsletters will know that she delights in studying with and learning from artists who inspire her.   She calls herself a perpetual student.  She’s taken many, many workshops both locally and abroad, including with Steven Walker in multiple locations including Ireland, Peter Fiore in Milford, Trisha Adams in Montorno, and Don Getz in Peninsula, Ohio (in fact, Don Getz was her neighbor in Ohio and she watched him paint as a child). Cindy is a writer as well, and constantly journals, especially during travel, with thoughts, images, and prose.  As she states, “When I can combine my love of travel with an artistic endeavor, I have reached the ultimate expression of creativity”.”

“Like a Fairy Tale” (Ireland) by Cinby Bridgman

Some of her favorite artists, for their works and inspiration, are Antonia Walker, Maggie Siner, Steven Walker, Edward Hopper, Claude Monet and Andrew Wyeth. Her trip to Maine and seeing Olson House where Wyeth painted was an incredible experience.  Cindy has purchased many works by both well-known and regional artists and surrounds herself with them in her lovely home.  Cindy said, “My art collection makes me happy every day and reminds me of all of the artists (many reading this!) who are gracing my home”.”

“Hopper’s Light” (Midcoast, Maine) by Cindy Bridgman

For her own work, Cindy works in oil and gravitates toward landscapes, particularly those with architectural elements.   She has only been painting for about a decade, and more seriously since retirement a few years ago. She has developed a style of loose, painterly strokes similar to the Impressionists (often using a palette knife), sometimes combined with the moody and emotive color palettes of the Tonalists.  In fact, she says that some of her favorite pieces are those painted during times of low energy or mood, when she theorizes that raw emotion takes over.  Interestingly, that’s when the “magic can happen.”  I completely concur with this possibility, believing that an artist’s best paintings, the ones that really touch people, convey a genuine emotion of the artist.  The artist leaves a little of themselves in these paintings, which is palpable to those who are “in tune.”

“Taking Flight” (Killarney, Ireland) by Cindy Bridgman

Cindy held her first solo show this year at the Leesburg Vintner and succeeded in her goal of storytelling through her paintings. It was a beautiful show, and so many people praised (and several purchased!) her work.  I’m looking forward to hearing more about Cindy’s exciting travels, reading her stories, viewing her paintings, painting with her, drinking wine with her, and just being with this lovely, generous soul.  

“It is so rewarding to see, learn, create, and grow.” – Cindy Bridgman

Cindy in Paris at her favorite Cafe Palette

To see Cindy’s work, visit @cindy_bridgman_creates