Cat Portraits and the Art of Being Selfless

“Portrait of Munchkin Giggle-Sprinkles” by Michele Bledsoe

 

Recently, I put aside my work in progress..

and ignored a looming deadline

to pour myself into a special request –

A portrait of my sister’s beloved cat

who passed away last year.

This is what art is all about.

Not the galleries and the exhibits.

Not the personal attention

and public exposure…

it’s about the gift

and what you choose to do with it.

 

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Snowmen, Ice Cream Cones and the Art of Doing the Best You Can

Me and Anna under the rainbow..

 

My husband and I volunteer as art teachers

for a group of inner city kids in downtown Phoenix.

One evening, we were joined by a particularly shy little girl.

Sitting in front of a blank piece of paper,

she whispered that she couldn’t think of anything to draw.

I asked her if there was something she wanted me to draw.

“A snowman!” she said, touching the picture of Olaf on her t-shirt.

“Okay,” I said – rising to the challenge..

“I never drew him before, but I am going to do the best I can.”

The girl watched me intently.

A few minutes later, I showed the little girl my drawing.

Smiling, she looked down at her blank piece of paper

and announced with great conviction,

“I am going to draw an ice cream cone. I never drew one before

but I am going to do the best I can.”

She drew a wonderful ice cream cone, covered in sprinkles with a cherry on top..

and after that, she drew the picture you see above.

I thanked her

and then I got something in my eye.

Terrifying Visions and the Art of Trusting the Gift

“The Ghost and My Obsession” by Michele Bledsoe

Several years ago I was sitting at my desk

in my high-level corporate job

and I had a terrifying vision.

I imagined myself far in the future

sitting at the same desk..

doing exactly the same thing

and wondering to myself

what life would have been like

if I had decided to pursue my art instead.

Not long after that, I quit my job..

and let my path take me to where I was meant to be

instead of where I thought I should go.

In life, as in art

we must be fearless.

Trust the gift.

 

Marathon Painting and the Art of Sitting on the Sidelines

pen-and-pencil

 

Recently, my husband Richard participated

in a 48hour Create-A-Thon held inside a church.

As the name suggests,

artists were given 48 hours

to create a work of art

inspired by a specific theme.

Richard has done this before.

Actually, this is the third time.

Me?

I sat in a nearby chair, happily drawing pictures.

Occasionally, people would look over my shoulder

and ask why I was not participating in the event.

I am a slow painter.

I like to linger over my work.

Perhaps if there was a 480 hour marathon,

I’d reconsider.

 

Painting marathon: Day 2

Painting marathon: Day 2

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

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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.