Imagination

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.

 

Paintbrushes, Pencils and A Love That Lasts Forever

Still life with Creature by Michele Bledsoe

Still life with Creature by Michele Bledsoe

I love to draw.

When I was a child

all I wanted to do was stay up all night long

and draw pictures.

45 years later,

not much has changed..

except sometimes I am holding

a paintbrush instead of a pencil.

 

Objects, Animals and the Art of Taking Requests

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Sharing the experience of art with a group of inner city kids

is how my husband and I spend our Monday evenings.

We sit elbow to elbow with those beautiful young artists

talking and drawing together.

 

Often, the kids will make requests..

asking us to draw a particular

animal or object..

We are always happy to comply.

So we draw spaceships and unicorns

insects and dinosaurs

Tinkerbell and octopi.

It’s good practice for us as artists..

a test of speed and skill.

 

I am always deeply touched when

of all the wondrous things in their vast and limitless imaginations,

the kids choose to draw us..

sometimes, with an octopus.

 

drawing

 

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.”

Imaginary Boxes and the Art of Unwrapping Gifts

"Soliloquy" by Michele Bledsoe

“Soliloquy” by Michele Bledsoe

Imagine a box wrapped in many layers of colorful paper..

taped shut

tied up in ribbons

and topped with an elaborate bow.

There is something wonderful inside,

but you have to open the gift in order to get to it.

That wonderful thing hidden beneath all that wrapping paper

is the artist you were meant to be.

The way to open that gift is to keep drawing pictures.

Keep making art,

and never stop.

Remember

without you, the gift is nothing..

and a bicycle cannot ride itself.

Painting and the Art of Decompression Sickness

"Descent" by Michele Bledsoe

“Descent” by Michele Bledsoe

Lost myself again.

Just sank a little too deep
below the surface for a while..
and stayed there too long.

Art will do that to you.

Perhaps I have the painter-bends..
some kind of decompression sickness.
that artists get
when they come up for air.

All I want to do is go back.

Inglorious Arizona and the Art of Pushing Your Limits

"The Jail Tree" by Michele Bledsoe

“The Jail Tree” by Michele Bledsoe

My husband Richard and I were honored to be included among the artists selected to create work for INGLORIOUS ARIZONA. In this exciting project, stories about the grittier side of Arizona’s past were assigned to a selection of local artists. Once received, the artists would have about a month to create art inspired by their particular story.

One month may seem like a lot of time..

but not for me.

I am a slow, meticulous painter..

blissfully lingering over my work with tiny brushes.

So, when I submitted my work for consideration

I knew that if I were selected

I would pretty much have to paint non-stop for 30 days.

Did I hesitate?

No.

And during the magnificent painting frenzy that followed

I pushed the limits of my endurance

to the breaking point…

only to discover

that I did not break.

Such is life.

 

 

 

 

 

Night Painting and the Art of Insomnia

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I have had insomnia all my life.
There have been bad days.
Very bad.
But, I have been given
a wondrous gift..
a way to counteract the terrible effects
of chronic, never-ending
sleep deprivation.
When I can’t sleep
I paint.
Groggy and delirious
eyes half-closed..
I sit at my easel,
pick up my brush
and dream.

Pencils, Paper and the Power of Art

One of the kids took this picture... I need to keep my feet of the table when I draw.

One of the kids took this picture… I need to keep my feet off the table when I draw.

As a volunteer art teacher
I am back to spending Monday evenings
sharing the experience of art
with a group of inner-city kids.

My art class is probably not what you’d expect to see..
Nothing spectacular, really.

Basically, we just show up
grab a bunch of paper and pencils
fling the door open wide
sit down
and start drawing.

Slowly
the kids trickle in..
and one by one
they sit down and join us.

Soon, we are elbow to elbow
drawing together.
We talk, we laugh,
we share experiences..

No paints or pastels
No paintbrushes or easels
No scissors, glitter and glue
No elaborate materials or expensive supplies.
No preconceived projects
or instructions to follow..
yet somehow
a lesson unfolds.

So, what is this amazing thing
that draws all those kids into our room
And holds their attention…?

Such is the power of art.

michele quote

Painting Deadlines and the Art of Life

tree

Work in progress: Detail of “The Jail Tree” by Michele Bledsoe

For the past week or so

I have been deep in the heart

of an epic painting frenzy.

Typically, I am a slow painter..

lingering over my work..

savoring every brushstroke.

But under the pressure of a deadline

I have thrown myself into the maelstrom

that comes from speeding up

the creative process.

It is a challenge of stamina

and skill.

A test of faith and trust.

Sitting at my easel for 12+ hours a day,

I have experienced almost every emotion imaginable.

It is a glorious experience..

A metaphor for life.