Friendship

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.

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Anthropomorphic Worms and the Art of Quiet Conversation

klingon

“Every new friend is a new adventure.. the start of more memories.” Patrick Lindsay

 

My husband and I volunteer to teach art to a group of inner city kids in downtown Phoenix.

Since we have been doing this for a couple of years now,

we see a lot of familiar faces..

but we always leave the classroom door wide open

for anyone new who wants to join us.

 

Last night, I was sitting at a table, drawing

when a group of rambunctious boys

came shouting and stumbling into the room.

I did not raise my voice..

I did not say, “Be quiet!”

I did not tell them to “Settle down!”

I did not stand up..

and I did not stop drawing.

Almost immediately, the boys came over to where I was sitting..

and I smiled at them.

“It’s easier to draw when it is quiet.” I said softly.

Then the boys took one look at the bizarre anthropomorphic worm creature I was working on

and immediately sat down at the table with me.

They were so intrigued by the weird imaginary creature I had created..

They asked questions, made comments

and the conversation grew and grew.

We talked and laughed…

pretty soon, we were all happily drawing together.

One boy suggested I add a pair of wings to my monstrosity, which I did.

Unfortunately, I do not have a picture to show you

because I gave it away.

Such is the power of art.