artistic process

42 Dogs and the Art of Repetition

42 Dogs by Michele Bledsoe

 

There are books on my shelf that I have read dozens of times..

maybe hundreds.

I could say the same for certain movies.

Experiencing such a deep passion for something

will do that to you.

Maybe it’s just me.

 

The painting you see is called 42 dogs.

I wasn’t trying to be cryptic

or intentionally weird..

the title is actually quite literal.

While painting it, I listened to Pink Floyd’s “Dogs

42 times in a row.

 

 

 

 

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Golf Pencils and the Art of Restaurant Dining

I usually don’t like going out to eat.

But, much to my delight..

a waiter handed me a piece of paper

and a little golf pencil.

I’d rather draw

than order antipasti.

.

.

 

Negative Space and the Art of Being Yourself

 

The Church of Instinct, As Above So Below and From the Old House by Michele Bledsoe

Just as the negative space

around an object

will define its shape..

You can tell a lot about a person

by what they like.

These things reveal something about us..

 

But art is different.

 

More than just a human-shaped outline

formed by the things we respond to..

When you create art

it IS you.

 

 

Steve Gompf, Oreo Cookies and the Art of Constructive Criticism

Portrait of Steve Gompf by Michele Bledsoe

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In 2018, the world lost a great artist

and I lost my friend.

A true creative genius..

Steve Gompf was one of the most wildly imaginative

and passionate artists I have ever known..

and he taught me the true meaning

of constructive criticism.

 

When we shared a gallery years ago

my work had become very gray.

Soft tones and faded colors..

I was struggling with my palette

and I had lost my way.

It was Steve who brought me back.

 

Wonderfully eccentric,

playful and engaging..

Steve was also as blunt as a sledgehammer.

 

He marched up to my work

and held an Oreo cookie against a “dark” area

in one of my paintings..

“That’s not dark!” he exclaimed,

THIS is dark.”

I was floored.

He was absolutely right.

After this artistic epiphany

my work improved dramatically.

 

When Steve asked me to paint his portrait

I had no words..

but I was thrilled at the opportunity

to pour out my love and gratitude

in a way we would both understand.

Shared Studios and the Art of Talking to Yourself

“And Then You Blink” by Michele Bledsoe

My husband and I paint back to back in our home studio.

We listen to music, we talk to each other..

and we talk to ourselves.

“Why are you still using this brush?” I scold myself in disbelief.

“#$%*@! Yes, yes… oompa loompa!” Richard shouts enthusiastically.

It is a strange disjointed conversation..

punctuated by wordless grunts

sentence fragments

and a variety of hoots

howls and whistles.

 

We are still in the same room

but we are gone.

Lost in our own worlds

just as it should be.

 

Migraines and the Art of Pain

The Jail Tree by Michele Bledsoe

 

Excruciating headache

since 2:00 am

curled up

hand clamped over my eye

to keep it from

popping out of my skull

beneath the unyielding pressure.

It went on and on

for hours and hours

coming in terrible waves..

 

When relief came

I was bursting with gratitude..

how wonderful it is

when pain stops.

So I ran to my easel

and painted and painted

with such great joy..

 

The headache did not return..

banished like a demon

in the light of God’s gift.