phoenix

Camping, Cats and the Art of Mondays

Summer is over..

and we’re back as volunteer art teachers

for a group of inner city kids.

We spent the evening as we usually do

sitting at a table

elbow to elbow

drawing pictures together.

Can’t think of a better way to spend a Monday night..

This cat looks a lot like my grandma. I must have been thinking about her while I was drawing.

 

“Molly Pitcher” by my husband, Richard.

 

Cats were a recurring theme… This one has a butterfly on her nose.

 

Portrait of the artist on the balcony of her apartment.

 

Singing in the tent, camping under the night sky.

 

 

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SEEDs for Autism and a Place to Grow

I work with young adults on the autism spectrum.

In other words, my days are spent with some of the most

fascinating, honest and creative individuals

I have ever known.

I am there to lift them up..

and encourage them to grow.

I am also their writing instructor.

In addition to a monthly newsletter,

my students create the content for their own blog

where they can share all their unique interests

and experiences with the world.

I am glad to be a part of it.

SEEDs for Autism is a vocational training program that teaches young adults on the autism spectrum a multitude of job skills focused on the arts. For more information about this life-changing program,  please visit SEEDs for Autism.

To Russia, With Love

"Forever" by Michele Bledsoe

“Forever” by Michele Bledsoe

My art has never been so far from home before..

It’s a small painting,

but this little snail

has managed to travel a great distance.

My husband and I are honored to have our work on display in Moscow, Russia..

EXHIBITIONS – Russian Stuckism: Registered in Moscow and Moscow Region

We do not speak Russian,

but our paintings do..

Art is a universal language.

 

Russia

Scene from inside the gallery at the Russian Stuckism: Registered in Moscow and Moscow Region Exhibition.

Another scene from inside the gallery: "Forever" by Michele Bledsoe, and "Diver" by Richard Bledsoe

Another scene from inside the gallery: “Forever” by Michele Bledsoe, and “Diver” by Richard Bledsoe

 

poster

 

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.”

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.

 

 

 

 

 

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