Richard Bledsoe “The Crystal World” acrylic on canvas 20″ x 24″
My first completed painting of 2016
2016 and suddenly we find ourselves inundated with projects. I always say there’s nothing like a deadline for inspiration. Well, Michele Bledsoe and I have lots of inspiration right now.
This past Saturday, having so many time sensitive requirements pending led to a wonderful event: pretty much a full day in our studio, painting together.
Michele and I were both accepted into Inglorious Arizona, an upcoming exhibit co-sponsored by Artlink (a downtown Phoenix arts organization) and the Arizona Republic newspaper. We’ll be part of an upcoming Art Detour 28 group exhibit commemorating some infamous Arizona history. I’ll share more details on the true story I was assigned to depict in a future blog post.
Pieces for this show are due by early February, so we are in a real time crunch to get them done. Michele especially takes a long time to craft her elaborate and detailed imagery, so she has already been in extreme painting mode for days now, ever since we were notified of our acceptance.
On Saturday, when Michele woke me up at 7am she had already been at her easel for hours. Before I joined her I had to take care of some typical tasks and errands: exercise, shower, an abbreviated internet news and Facebooking session, then a quick run to the grocery store for the week. But by about 10am I was done and at my own easel, where I more or less spent the next 12 hours.
There will meals long the way, and even a brief nap. But the majority of the time we were both blissfully painting away.
Did I say blissful? You might not think so if you heard the way we act when painting. There is cursing sometimes. And screams of horror.
As we are intuitive artists, working out our own imaginations, we are trying to create something never seen before. Sometimes the struggle to get it right leads to some raving. We are passionate people, very engaged with a complex task, and occasionally we need to vent. Loudly.
However, the appearance of being upset is misleading: we are having the time of our lives. Like the Stuckist Manifesto counsels, “Painting is the medium of self-discovery. It engages the person fully with a process of action, emotion, thought and vision, revealing all of these with intimate and unforgiving breadth and detail.”
Like usual in the studio, we played music to keep our energy up. Yesterday’s play list included:
Woven Hand – Woven Hand
The Good, the Bad and the Ugly – Soundtrack
Mark Lanegan – Blues Funeral
Electric Light Orchestra – The Essential ELO
Kaizers Orchestra – Maestro
Paul McCartney –Ram
Rimsky-Korsocov – Scheherazade
Inglorious Arizona is just one of the projects happening now. Another is a show I’m curating at the Firehouse, one of Phoenix’s leading alternative art spaces. The exhibit is Epilogue: Contemporary Literary Art. It’s kind of a sequel to Booked, a previous literature inspired show I assembled at the Trunk Space.
I’ve been working on my own contribution for this show, and during yesterday’s painting frenzy I completed it: a work inspired by author J. G Ballard’s strange apocalyptic novel The Crystal World.
I’m looking forward to many more days like this in the upcoming months as we keep making art happen.