STUDIO: A New Painting in Progress, Part 5, Completion: In the Belly

Richard Bledsoe “In the Belly” acrylic on canvas 30″ x 40″ 

I have completed my latest large scale piece-large for me being in this case 30″ x 40″. In my first post, I showed the first crude underpainting. In the second post, I started making additional drawing decisions. In the third post, I started bringing out suggestions of the original vision-the whale not just as an animal, but as a gilded cage of chaos. In the fourth post, I shared how the processes of an intuitive artist can go awry.

But now the painting is complete. It’s often said a painting is never really done, and that’s true. There’s no end to the possibilities and potentials in the magical worlds we create by the means of a liquid medium smeared onto a flat surface. But the trick is recognizing when the art has become what it needs to be, and respecting it for what it is.

My wife, artist Michele Bledsoe, and I have a method for comprehending completion. In a work in progress, our eyes are drawn to fragments of the image, the parts that need fixing. It’s hard to see the painting as a whole while there are omissions or shortcomings still to address.

As errors are refined, other bits with flaws and weaknesses are exposed. The adjustments go on, until finally, as we near the end, we start to see the whole image again, intact.

In my book, Remodern America: How the Renewal of the Arts Will Change the Course of Western Civilization,  I describe integrity as one of the elements of looking at art with 5 Eyes (or “I”s):

The Physical: Integrity

In the physical sense, integrity means being complete. The art
is independently expressive in and of itself, all of its elements
working together to create a unified whole. When a work
achieves the level of art, it radiates a visceral presence that
can be felt by anyone, no explanation or education required.

It was a joy to work on this vision, and bring it into a form which can be shared. The story of Jonah describes a man who tried to dodge his responsibilities, and wound up being swallowed by a great fish-temporarily. How often have I lived this pattern! I put my experience into this painting.

I have already begun my next large scale painting project. Watch this space for future updates!

Previous articles:

STUDIO: A New Painting in Progress, Part 1: In the Belly

STUDIO: A New Painting in Progress, Part 2: In the Belly

STUDIO: A New Painting in Progress, Part 3: In the Belly

STUDIO: A New Painting in Progress, Part 4: In the Belly (Not All Accidents Are Happy Ones)

 

************

I don’t fundraise off of my blog. I don’t ask for Patreon or Paypal donations. If you’d like to support the Remodern mission, buy a book. Or a painting. Please send any inquiries to info@remodernamerica.com. Thank you!

BOOKS: “Painting, Passion and the Art of Life” by Michele Bledsoe

 

 

Painting, Passion and the Art of Life

by Michele Bledsoe

 

“As artists, we are explorers.

Every blank canvas is the beginning of a new journey.”

-Michele Bledsoe

 

My wife Michele Bledsoe recently completed her first non-fiction book, Painting, Passion and the Art of Life. This collection of inspirational essays on painting and drawing contain universal messages on work, love, and what truly matters in our engagement with the world.

I love Michele with all my heart, but that does not cloud my artistic judgment or integrity.  I am glad to say what Michele has accomplished in her book is an insightful and moving presentation of the wisdom she has gathered through a lifetime of creative work.

Michele’s writing style is succinct. She is able to capture the essence of her observations using just a few brief phrases. Her meditations approach psalms or parables, she is so able to articulate the significance she has found in her experiences.  It all comes down to understanding that creativity is a gift from God, a means of communion and connection. She shows art can be a most humane form of human activity, meant to be a tool for growth and service. This warmth is demonstrated through a number of touching personal stories, gently relaying the positive meanings which can be found even as we go through times of struggle and sadness.

Painting, Passion and the Art of Life is a little book with a big message, but it also has Michele’s sense of humor and whimsy. These aspects come out clearly in her illustrations in the book, a collection of the strange beings which appear as she dreams over her sketchbooks.

This book is an important contribution to the rising philosophy of Remodernism. Remodernism is the return of art as a revelation. Michele has shared herself here, offering up unfiltered the essence of who she is, and what she has learned. It’s a joyful, uplifting read.

Painting, Passion and the Art of Life gives creative people of all ages the motivation and enthusiasm to cultivate their gifts, share their talents, and recognize their place in the fellowship of life.

“Remodernism is the latest iteration of the American character: ordinary people working as explorers and inventors, optimistic, self-reliant and productive. The Remodernist artist formulates expressions of personal liberty in pursuit of higher meaning and significance. Remodernism is the pursuit of excellence.”

-Richard Bledsoe, Remodern America 

 

***********

I don’t fundraise off of my blog. I don’t ask for Patreon or Paypal donations. If you’d like to support the Remodern mission, buy a book. Or a paintingPlease send any inquiries to info@remodernamerica.com. Thank you!

STUDIO: Scenes from the Studio, Part 1

My Better Half

Michele Bledsoe’s Studio Set Up 

 

In my book, Remodern America: How the Renewal of the Arts Will Change the Course of Western Civilization, I include a description of our current artistic working conditions:

 

Michele and I now share a studio in our home. We’ve spent countless hours together making art. We work back to back, with the stereo in the middle to play the music which inspires us.

She sits at her easel. I pace around in front of mine.

Michele uses tiny, soft brushes. I use big house-painting brushes for much of my work.

She discovers her imagery through stream of consciousness dreaming. I am replicating the vision I was assigned.

She likes to focus on one work at a time, and linger over it. I have multiple pieces going at once, at different stages of completion, and I compulsively push them towards resolution.

Michele doesn’t know what she is going to paint when she begins, but she applies her masterful technique to it. I know the image I need to present, but I don’t know how I’m going to paint it out.

We are both wholly committed to our art, and we show it in our own different ways. Remodernism encourages dedication to individual expression, and the pursuit of excellence.  

 

I’d written before about our shared art space. Back in 2015, i did a blog post on “The Mystique of the Artist Studio:”

There is nothing like having the dedicated space just for art. There is great pleasure in not having to pack up and move all materials at the end of a session, to have the needed tools within reach when an idea strikes. The magic in artists’ studios is in the sense of purpose, a Zen-like meditation on process.

It is an exotic environment. Many strange devices and substances are used there. Simple everyday needs like lighting and storage take on whole new urgency. And in the studio there is the artist, a person who puts appearances onto ideas. Might seem like an anachronism in these technological times, but the artist fulfills a deep human need.

It occurred to me that our studio spaces are full of wonderful moments, where our tools and inspirations blend together into intriguing vignettes. Why not share the excitement that is happening there, even we we are not working?

Michele Bledsoe has created a whole magical world to surround herself while she paints. In her blog post post “Art and the Proximity of Curious Objects,” she wrote:

My husband is always telling me to take a picture of the weird collection of items I have on the tray of my easel.

I’m not exactly sure what the actual purpose is for this little shelf-like area..

but it is where I keep all my favorite stuff.

Polished rocks, glass marbles and rusty keys.

Floppy-limbed Micronauts, the metal license tabs from Gunther’s collar

and my father’s college ring.

My art studio is filled with strange little objects that have captured my attention..

but you can tell how much I like something by how close it gets to my easel.

Here are some other special moments from Michele’s half of the studio. I will show mine in a future post.

 

.

.

.

.

PAINTINGS: “LIFELINE FROM A FRIEND,” A New Collaboration by Michele and Richard Bledsoe

Michele Bledsoe and Richard Bledsoe 

“Lifeline from a Friend” Acrylic on Canvas 12″ x 6″ 

Michele Bledsoe and I have completed the fourth piece in our ongoing collaborative series.

I started this one, and it was a mess. This time we decided to divide the surface diagonally, from top to bottom. Usually I begin a painting with an image in mind. On this canvas, I tried to improvise, and it didn’t work out. I handed it over to Michele to start her section, with my half consisting of basically nothing but orange and brown smears. I told her I needed her to give me some kind of clue on what this painting was about.

Michele was not deterred. She began her natural method of stream of consciousness composition.

 

Michele Begins 

 

Soon her half was sketched in, and I was given a powerful departure point to work with.

Michele created the front end of a caterpillar in her drawing. Since I love animals and don’t want them harmed even in art, I knew I had to show the rest of the body. My own half of the image took off from that element.

Michele threw me a lifeline-in this case, the hind end of a caterpillar. It worked!

 

Richard Got Inspired 

Michele and I both created our own painting in our own unique style, but allowed a dialogue to form by the interaction of our individual efforts.

Michele compared it to having an intimate conversation.

The process of working on a piece together was so enjoyable that we will continue to collaborate. We hope to someday have a show of just our shared pieces. Watch this space for future updates.

 

Previous Collaborations:

Tusk

Blind Mugwump Johnson 

Do the Work 

PAINTINGS: The Conspirators

Richard Bledsoe “The Conspirators” acrylic on canvas 24″ x 24″ 

 

My latest completed painting. These sinister characters lurk in the shadows and plot. It is them, and those of their ilk, which have woven the web of delusions that are driving our culture to ruin.

I spend a lot of time on the internet studying current events and bizarre phenomenon. I see something truly massive taking form that will change the dynamic of the entire world. I call these changes the dawn of the Remodern Age. I describe them in detail in my book, Remodern America: How the Renewal of the Arts Will Change the Course of Western Civilization.

Am I crazy, or ahead of the curve? Time will tell. In the meantime, here are another couple of sinister characters.

Richard and Michele read the news 

PAINTINGS: “Do the Work,” a New Collaboration by Michele and Richard

Michele Bledsoe and Richard Bledsoe “Do the Work”

acrylic on canvas 12″ x 6″

 

Michele Bledsoe and I have completed the third piece in our ongoing collaborative series.

As we develop our art and our lives together, we have found inspiration in a book by Steven Pressfield:

Do the Work.

“A child has no trouble believing the unbelievable, nor does the genius or the madman. It’s only you and I, with our big brains and our tiny hearts, who doubt and overthink and hesitate. Don’t think. Act.”

-Steven Pressfield

Michele and I both created our own painting in our own unique style, but allowed a dialogue to form by the interaction of our individual efforts.

Michele compared it to having an intimate conversation.

The process of working on a piece together was so enjoyable that we will continue to collaborate. We hope to someday have a show of just our shared pieces. Watch this space for future updates.

 

Previous Collaborations:

Tusk

Blind Mugwump Johnson 

STUDIO: “Night’s Forces” Emerges from the Room of Shame

Richard Bledsoe “Night’s Forces” acrylic on canvas 30″ x 30″ 

Let me tell you about the room of shame.

The room of shame is the place where unfinished paintings are stacked, faces to the wall. It must have close to a dozen residents right now, some as large as 30″ x 36″. Some have been in there for many years.

These are paintings which I began, and then at some point in their development, I lost the plot, and the point, and my ability to finish them. This happens sometimes when working intuitively. The inspiration dries up before the work is complete.

I always have multiple works going. For example, right now, I have 4 unfinished paintings pending, 2 of which are practically done. So it’s no great blow to my productivity if I have to put something aside temporarily, or not so temporarily.

Some incomplete works are unsalvageable. I will paint over them, and create a whole new image.

But the paintings in the room of shame are worth completing. I still believe in them, and am waiting for their moment to return. They say the way you do something is the way you do everything. I may be slow, but I am persistent.

Case in point: Night’s Forces.

I began this painting in 2015. It was far advanced when I had to put it away. I’d had a series of studio sessions on it where instead of improving it, I was making it less effective, less resolved. It was a complex composition. I couldn’t get the colors and definitions to function. Off it went to the room of shame, where it lingered for years. Until a few weeks ago, when I brought it out again. I made some big moves on it, because at that point I had nothing to lose. The work would either crash, or crash through. Fortunately, it was the latter.

Night’s Forces is now finished, and I’m ready to move on with additional new projects. My wife Michele Bledsoe created a video of me working on it as it entered it final phases. See the video here:

Video-Remodern America: Renew the Arts and Renew the Civilization

As I state in my upcoming book, Remodern America: How the Renewal of the Arts will change the Course of western Civilization:

“Remodernism reboots the culture. Remodernism is not a style of art, it is a form of motivation.”

Sometimes a painting needs a time out followed by an assertive jump start. This return is driven by Remodernist motivation: I need to show you what I saw, so we will better understand each other, and life as a whole.