“Edges are where and how we define something,” Linda Ricklefs Baudry’s artist statement reads. “The familiar is what is known, the unknown is beyond, and it’s often how we embrace that edge that may help determine how we deal with change in life.”
Baudry, a Rochester-born artist now based in St. Paul, recently debuted The Edge of Familiar, a collection of nature-inspired pastels, at Lanesboro Arts – a homecoming of sorts for an artist whose grandparents owned farmland in that area.
“Those landscapes are really a part of me,” Baudry says. “I just reclaimed my art about six, eight years ago, and when I did, the first series was based on that rolling farmland.”
We caught up with the artist on her newer collection, the artistic process, and never – never – working from her head.
How did you land on plant imagery for this pastels exhibit?
I’ve always been interested in abstracted landscapes, there’s always so much emotion in that, as opposed to something that’s painted more photographic. You kind of look at it and it is what it is. But when it’s abstracted, it allows you to put your own self into the painting and respond to it in your own way. … I kind of hate to call it floral. They’re almost personalities, maybe. There is kind of a zeroing-in, like a microscope. These are the characters that populate those abstract landscapes.
Where did you start this two-and-a-half-year journey?
I don’t actually like to work from my head. I’ve found that if I work from my head, I don’t like the end result. And so … I clear everything out and I paint from my heart. And I never know what’s going to show up that day. Maybe a subdued, mysterious, mystical type of movement, or it may be something very brilliant and bright and sometimes even shocking. … There’s a quote that I love, it’s been attributed to E.M. Forester. It’s “How do I know what I think until I see what I say?” And that just really resonates with me because it’s this outpouring. It’s getting into the flow and seeing what is expressed. Then seeing what’s there.
At what point did you know you had a gallery exhibit in the works?
Actually, (Lanesboro Arts) told me that. They said, “This is what we want,” and I was like, “Okay! Okay.”
Did that change your process at all?
It probably encouraged me to focus a little more on flowers and leaves when I was out and about in nature. That’s where I get my inspiration, I spend a lot of time in nature and just really focus in – as the wind’s blowing, what’s happening to that blade of grass or flower petal? Or as the flower ripens, you know, what kind of movement, growth, is it going through? It was me saying, “This is going to be my vocabulary,” and putting those restrictions on it. A lot of artists thrive when they have a couple of parameters that they have to bump up against, and this was one of them. I was going to be much more specific to the floral stuff. Not to say that there weren’t a couple of pieces created along the way that weren’t that, but I was really focused in. Because now I had a deadline!
What do you hope people glean from this exhibit?
That they connect with nature more! That they don’t just hurry by. That they slow down and spend time looking at the details, and maybe recognizing that here is more of life that is growing and changing, just as we are. Things are not static, and they persist in spite of the odds. They celebrate. You can almost attribute emotions to the nature around us.