artNotes from Hyde House: Befuddlement is a Bridge to Clarity


As an artist there is a part of me persistently looking ahead—ahead to my next painting or shrine or exhibition installation or to a leap to a new home in my next artful destination? This is why I painted my Bridge to Clarity.

On the left is a fertile green mountain sprinkled with scarlet blossoms.  Another mountain rises to the right. In between is an expanse of water that must be crossed to travel from left to right. How will I to do this? The answer seems obvious. Build a bridge to span the gap!

Maybe you have had this experience of being in a pleasing high place and wanting to journey on to the next. Maybe as recently as New Year’s Day you made a resolve to move ahead…to build a bridge and achieve a longed for destination. How are you coming along with building and crossing your bridge?


I have found that my bridge to my next place often takes me on up and down loops and twists and turns that spell “befuddlement”.  When I was actually poised to leap the pond and set up camp in Paris, fate moved from New York City to the wayback Ozark wilderness of northwest Arkansas and I ended up in Carthage. Alas, twelve years later I am still here building my bridge day by day—upping and downing and circling around—believing I will eventually get where I am going. As they say, “C’est la vie!”

My bridge of befuddlement sometimes leaves me confused, lacking clarity and questioning. Am I headed in the right direction? What is my next step? Am I making my best choices to carry me forward?

In my painting all the winged hearts are like love notes coming to me from the beyond. Flying before a sequin-spangled blue sky, in perfect timing they deliver messages of guiding clarity. Discerning their messages requires my pausing and getting very still. Clarity comes when, in this physical dimension, I get still enough to hear the birds singing all around me. Clarity is a super power.

Inspiring is the journey of French graphic artist Malika Favre who has lived in Paris, London and now Barcelona. Her dramatic [New Yorker] depiction of two figures walking over a bridge—Manhattan’s Brooklyn Bridge—reminds me of my own first passing over that bridge.

In a January 30, 2023, interview with Françoise Mouly, Favre tells us, “There is something fascinating about the architecture of the Brooklyn Bridge and its imposing gates; it almost feels like a portal into another world. I still vividly remember crossing it in a taxi, minutes after landing in New York for the first time. It was a magical moment.” I felt the same way as I first crossed that bridge.

Asked by Mouly if her moves to new home towns were turning points, the artist responds “Moves between cities and countries have always been turning points for me. Each time, I felt excitement and anticipation for the new life that was awaiting me. I have always loved…embracing change.” Me too! Change, like clarity, is a real super power.

Treat yourself to a weekend portal into another world. Explore the artCentral galleries of Hyde House at 1110 East Thirteenth Street in Carthage. The FOILED AGAIN! exhibition is showing through March 18, 2023, generously underwritten by THE PALMS Massage and Day Spa and CHERRY’s Custom Framing and Art Gallery. Gallery Hours are Fridays and Saturdays, 12:00-5:00 p.m.