Sister

Cat Portraits and the Art of Being Selfless

“Portrait of Munchkin Giggle-Sprinkles” by Michele Bledsoe

 

Recently, I put aside my work in progress..

and ignored a looming deadline

to pour myself into a special request –

A portrait of my sister’s beloved cat

who passed away last year.

This is what art is all about.

Not the galleries and the exhibits.

Not the personal attention

and public exposure…

it’s about the gift

and what you choose to do with it.

 

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.

Beef Wellington and the Universal Experience of Art

A fun family evening becomes an inspiration for art and life. In the spirit of DIY and the universal experience of art – Richard Bledsoe and his sisters-in-law tackle Gordon Ramsay’s signature dish: The notorious Beef Wellington.

Picture Books and the Shelf Life of a Faraway Aunt

secret angelina3     secret angelina1    secret angelina2

I am fortunate to have 2 of my sisters living just a few miles from my house..

but, my third sister lives over 2,000 miles away.

So we stay in touch with phone calls and video chats

and I watch my nieces and nephew grow up through pictures posted on Facebook.

I click “Like” and “Like” and “Like” – but, it’s just not the same as being there.

Recently, my sister posted pictures of my niece, Angelina.

Angelina had taken The Secret Kingdom off the bookshelf by herself and started looking at the pictures..

She said, “Night night!” to each one.

Staring at those photographs, I must admit I choked up a little..

Not because I was sad, but because it was a revelation.

Although I am far away, I am still there with them.

I have become a part of their childhood in the form of a well-loved book.

 

Peculiar Tales of Lemon Bee and Finding Lost Stuff

lemony bee

After The Secret Kingdom, I immediately started working on the illustrations for Lemon Bee and Other Peculiar Tales by author, Patricia Lynn Dompieri. Naturally, I did the painting for the cover sitting at my beloved easel.. but, I must confess, I did all the interior illustrations sitting on the couch drawing pictures while I watched old horror movies.

I sure do love Vincent Price.

Patricia is my sister, and “Lemon Bee” is a story she first wrote when she was just a little girl.

Years ago, Lemon Bee made a cameo appearance in my painting “Lost and Found Again”… along with my sister Sherry’s lost doll, my sister Julie’s little house and my dog Gunther’s missing leg.

lost and found

Nothing is truly lost as long as it lives within you. As an artist, it is an amazing gift to have a way to let it out again.

Dead Baby Birds and Weird Portraits

Lullaby 2014

There are certain objects that repeat themselves in my paintings.

Leaves, ribbons, crumbling stone, bits of string.. and the occasional dead baby bird.

I call this painting, “Lullaby”.. because that’s what it is.

Many years ago, I painted a portrait of my sister for a Christmas present. She was thrilled, but demanded that I leave off her glasses – and warned me not to do anything “weird” to her.

Suffice it to say, I did what I wanted.. and did not let her look at it until it was done.

sherry1

When she saw the painting, she looked at me and shouted: “A DEAD BABY CHICKEN! WHY??”

She didn’t even notice the mouse.

I am happy to say that after the initial shock, she has come to really love her portrait..

but I still wish she had let me paint her with glasses.

For Children of All Ages..

patient nurse

My sister is a Hospice nurse. Several months ago, she gave her copy of The Secret Kingdom to one of her patients: a 90-year-old man who loves poetry.

She tells me that this gentleman reads The Secret Kingdom every night before he goes to bed, and often has her read the entire book aloud to him during her visits. He shares The Secret Kingdom with everyone he knows – from family members to the CNA who comes to help him bathe.

When my sister told me this, I was practically speechless…

When she showed me this picture, I was moved to tears.

Truly, art is for everyone, and The Secret Kingdom is a place that welcomes children of all ages.