Bela Lugosi and the Art of Moving Toys

"Playmates" by Michele Bledsoe

“Playmates” by Michele Bledsoe

When I was little,

my grandparents had me completely convinced

that my toys were alive.

Sitting in my bedroom..

they would send me off to the kitchen

for a glass of water

or a peach.

When I returned,

I noticed that several of my toys

had somehow changed positions.

Sitting on the edge of my bed,

my Hungarian grandfather would point

to my bookshelf..

Sounding exactly like Bela Lugosi..

he would say, in a strangely dark and ominous tone

“Look, Michele.. the toys. They move.”

 

Visionary Painting the Glorious Mystery of a Stranger’s Heart

2016

A work in progress by Michele Bledsoe

 

I am often surprised

when people have a hard time identifying

what is going on in my paintings.

It happens a lot.

“What is that… a face?”

they would ask..

squinting at my work.

“Is that part of a tree…?

 

I didn’t understand

why not everyone could see what I was seeing..

But, then again..

I suppose it would be somewhat disorienting

to find yourself thrust

without warning

into the deepest places

of a stranger’s heart.

 

Such is the power of art.

Painted Presents and the Art of Christmas

dscf1152

It’s hard to paint with a cat in your lap.

Many years ago I painted a portrait of my sister

for her Christmas present.

I am a slow painter.

If I remember correctly…

I started that painting

many months before Christmas

giving myself time

to linger over my work.

“Portrait of Sherry” by Michele Bledsoe

This Christmas

my sister asked for another portrait.

Not of herself,

but one of her beloved cat, Munchkin

who passed away this year..

leaving me 6 days to finish the painting.

6 days.

As of today, it is 5.

Did I decline her request?

Did I make excuses?

Did I explain that I simply had too many other things to do before Christmas?

No.

I just grabbed a blank canvas and started painting.

Prussian Blue and the Art of Being Impulsive

“Frozen Zoo” by Michele Bledsoe

 

I have a very distinct palette…

a range of colors that I use

every time I paint.

Raw umber

Chromium Oxide Green

Cobalt Blue

Turner’s Yellow

Red Oxide

Raw Sienna..

to name a few.

I know these colors intimately;

How they react to each other..

all their moods

and subtleties..

I know them like I know

the landscape of my own heart.

 

But, when I started work on my painting Frozen Zoo

I did something outrageously impulsive

and decided to use a new color.

Not just a little taste of it..

not just dipping my toe in the water..

Instead, I stared at that strange tube of paint in front of me

and decided to cover a huge portion of my canvas with it.

 

That was my introduction to Prussian Blue.

A tremendous leap of artistic faith..

it was an epic struggle

to incorporate this alien color into my familiar palette.

It did weird things

when I mixed it with raw umber.

Is that a hint of green I see?

Yellow?

I never realized that blue could be so warm.

Flailing about and lost in unfamiliar territory

I refused to back down.

 

By the time the painting was completed

Prussian Blue was like an old friend..

battle tested and true,

it is a welcome addition

to my comfortable palette.

 

There is no place for cowardice in art.

 

 

True Grit in the Art Studio

richard-laugh1

This is an actual conversation

that took place

while my husband and I were painting.

Michele: “I will not modulate my highlights. No, I will not. I will not blend it into the color behind it. I will not swirl my brush in it. I will use a hard, white mark and leave it alone…

Richard: “That’s bold talk for a one-eyed fat man.”

Michele: “Fill your hand you son of a bitch!”

Painting and the Art of Relativity

small things

Leaf and Blackberry by Michele Bledsoe

 

Every time I sit in front of a blank canvas

I pour everything I’ve got into it.

Everything.

Doesn’t matter it’s 3″ x 5″..

I will release my universe

into something

that can fit into the palm

of my hand.

There is no other way..

It’s all or nothing.

Just as all the mystery and fullness of life

can squeeze itself into a single

moment..

Such is the power of art.

 

Art Deprivation and the Necessity of Painting

salvation-and-desire

“Salvation and Desire” by Michele Bledsoe

 

“If you bring forth what is within you, what you bring forth will save you. If you do not bring forth what is within you, what you do not bring forth will destroy you.”

Gospel of Thomas

 

I love to paint.

I need to paint..

but sometimes life intervenes

and pulls me from my easel.

I feel unbalanced.

Irritable.

Something is off.

I am suffering from art deprivation..

Like some kind of

horrible sleep deficiency..

there is an almost physical

longing to dream.

 

As artists, it is necessary to make time

to create..

our lives depend on it.