art

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.

 

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

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.