Creativity

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.

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.

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.

 

 

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.

 

 

Painting Under a Deadline and the Art of Being Oblivious

r m painting

 

Recently, my husband and I took part

in a group art session where we had about an hour

to create a painting.

When time was up,

Richard created a beautiful painting of an octopus

and I had painted a small leaf in the corner of my otherwise blank canvas.

Usually, I do not participate in this kind of event..

I am a slow painter.

Oblivious to the passing of time,

and unconcerned by the expectation to finish my work..

I picked up my paintbrush

put my head down

and disappeared.

 

The Desire to Create and the Art of Embracing Your Gift

The Bridge by Michele Bledsoe

The Bridge by Michele Bledsoe

 

The desire to create is a gift from God.

 

The ceaseless passion to paint and draw

has been with me since childhood..

and by embracing this gift

it has defined my path in life

and led me to my purpose.

 

By nature,

the gift is selfless.

It has nothing to do with

the empty pursuit

of fame and fortune..

it is so much more than that.

 

Through art,

I met my husband

made friends..

and forged relationships.

Through art,

I became a volunteer drawing teacher

for a group of inner city kids..

and began working with young adults within the autism spectrum.

 

As an artist

I’ve found that’s it’s not all about me..

I am just a paintbrush in God’s hand.