Beauty

Painting and the Art of Conversation

“Like Clockwork” by Michele Bledsoe

 

When I paint

I don’t make preliminary sketches

I don’t plan anything out beforehand..

I just sit at my easel

and dream.

It is a spontaneous conversation..

an intimate, spiritual exchange

between myself and God.

 

 

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Sowing Seeds and the Art of Sharing Knowledge

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

 

First and foremost, I am a painter..

but I am other things as well.

 

I have learned a lot

throughout the course of my life..

cultivating valuable skills

that I have worked hard to accumulate.

Through trial and error

I have gained experience..

And with years of practice

I’ve learned to do things

that I used to think were

miles beyond my capabilities.

 

I suppose I could hold a series of costly workshops

on a number of  topics..

everything from social media marketing

to formatting and publishing ebooks.

 

Or maybe I could hoard my knowledge

and use these skills for myself alone.

 

Instead,

I went in a different direction..

choosing to focus more on

what good can I do through sharing my various gifts

rather than how much money I can make

selling them.

 

So now I spend my days

working with young adults within the autism spectrum..

teaching them

everything I’ve learned.

 

Maybe that’s not the path

to making myself a ton of money..

but by sowing these seeds

and watching my students grow

I am already rich beyond measure.

 

 

Small Moments and the Art of Tremendous Consequences

"Metamorphosis" by Michele Bledsoe

“Metamorphosis” by Michele Bledsoe

I remember making a book when I was little.

I vaguely recall the story had something to do with a family of animals living near a beach.

I made drawings of weird dog-like creatures on pieces of paper that I folded to look like pages.

When I showed it to my grandfather

He knelt down so we were face-to-face

And looking directly into my eyes

He said to me:

“Michele, you have a gift from God.”

 

Believe me, the drawing wasn’t THAT good…

Sure, I drew recognizable objects

But that’s a far cry from being like some child prodigy drawing like Michelangelo at the age of 4.

 

Did he see something I didn’t?

Was it a glimpse of the artist I would become..

or was it something else?

 

My husband I volunteer to teach art

To a group of inner city kids in downtown Phoenix.

A couple of days ago

Something beautiful happened.

 

Surrounded by kids,

talking and drawing together

at a crowded table..

I saw a small boy.

so small, and quiet

he practically disappeared.

His tiny head was bent down

intensely focused

on the drawing in front of him.

 

I glanced at what he was working on

and I felt time stop.

All the chaos in the room

faded into the background.

There was something different about this child.

Something rare and beautiful.

I saw it.

Felt it.

And in that

seemingly small and insignificant moment..

I understood that there was something tremendous

in consequence

that brought me here.

 

“That is a great brontosaurus, “I told him

“and what a terrific volcano!”

The boy looked up..

clearly surprised that I noticed him..

that I was talking to him.

“You draw really well,” I continued

“I can see your wonderful imagination

in your drawings.”

With a tiny smile, and light in his eyes

The boy whispered. “Thank you.”

I asked him his name..

“Jesus.” He replied.

I leaned in real close so we were face to face..

And looking directly into his eyes, I said,

“Jesus, you have a gift from God.”

Chemical Reactions and the Art of Connection

kingdom

Kingdom by Michele Bledsoe

 

When you connect with a piece of art

you know it.

It is a startling revelation..

visceral

and immediate.

Like a chemical reaction

between two powerful elements..

when it happens

you are changed forever.

Leaves, Ribbons and the Art of Repeating Myself

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Occasionally, my sisters tease me about my paintings.

“Another leaf, Michele?”

“Ribbons… again?”

Yes.

Often my paintings

take me back

over and over again

to leaves and branches..

to seed pods and swirling ribbons.

Another blackberry.

Another mask.

Maybe to the casual observer

I am repeating myself.

But as I caress these beloved objects

that appear beneath my paintbrush,

they form a mysterious language of symbols..

An intimate, spiritual conversation

that only the heart understands.

Inspiration and the Art of Missing a Deadline

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Detail from a work in progress, by Michele Bledsoe

 

I have a deadline coming up.. an art exhibit in November.

That means, I have about a month to finish the painting I am working on for the show.

Or not.

 

When I started this painting

it immediately exploded into something deeply complex

and intensely personal.

The last thing on my mind was the approaching deadline.

 

I suppose it would have been more practical to consider the time constraints

maybe make something smaller or less elaborate..

But art does not fit neatly into such parameters.

Art cannot be contained.

it will become what it needs to be.

 

When inspiration seizes you like some fiery angel

don’t interfere..

just let it take you.

Self-Portraits and the Face You Find There

exquisite corpse

“Exquisite Corpse” by Michele Bledsoe

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Regardless of who or what ends up on my canvas

everything is a self-portrait.

Everything.

Sometimes, it is not so obvious..

other times, it is.

Art goes much deeper than the surface of our skin..

and sometimes the face you find there

is not a face at all.