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

In the Belly

Evolving Imagery

I am currently at work on my latest large scale piece-large for me being in this case 30″ x 40″. In my previous post, I showed the first crude underpainting for a piece that I will be working on for the next several months.

These images show the progression.

Even though my paintings originate in inspirational visions, where I am shown what the imagery needs to be, it’s up to me to make that image appear through painterly technique. It’s hard to translate the subtlety of thought into tangible forms. But that is the fun and challenge of being an intuitive painter.

I don’t make preparatory drawings to figure out compositions. I paint the picture directly out onto the canvas. My process involves lots of editings and revisions along the way.

Having Jonah in there is vital to this work. This is how I put him in initially.  The painting has changed greatly from these early stages.

 

As I state in my book, Remodern America: How the Renewal of the Arts Will Change the Course of Western Civilization: 

Making a painting becomes more than just a matter of how to represent something. It symbolizes the artist’s engagement with life. We want so much to make an image that says, “This is who I am, and this is what I saw.”

When we do it right, everyone who sees it will find that image inside themselves as well. It becomes a moment we share, and which can be visited over and over, with new understandings always unfolding. This is the power of art.

Ultimately a painter doesn’t replicate the real world, but creates a world in the painting that exists nowhere else. There are no limits for a painter; every decision in the work can be freely made to best suit the desired result.

Watch this space for further updates!

 

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

 

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

In the Belly

A New Painting for the New Year

 

I am currently at work on my latest large scale piece-large for me being in this case 30″ x 40″. The image above is my first crude underpainting for a piece that I will be working on for the next several months.

The current subject came to me in a vision, as my imagery often does.

Right now I don’t have to fulfill any commission. I don’t have create a piece for any particular theme show or call for entries. Being so free to choose out of the many painting ideas I have could be challenging. However, as an intuitive artist, I am provided guidance. I know the right idea to proceed with because it’s the one I keep thinking about. I can’t get it out of my mind. I’m going to need to paint it out.

The story of Jonah describes a man who tried to dodge his responsibilities, and wound up being swallowed by a great fish-temporarily. One of my favorite artists, Albert Pinkham Ryder, painted this subject before.

Albert Pinkham Ryder “Jonah”

 

I have visited this theme before, in a small work.

Richard Bledsoe “Leviathan My Friend” acrylic on canvas 12″ x 12″  

2020 looks like it’s going to be the year of getting stuff done. We can’t remain the bellies of the various beast that consume us. We must do the work we are called to. That is the energy I am pouring into this new piece.

It’s powerful theme, that everyone can relate to in some way. As I state in my book, Remodern America: How the Renewal of the Arts Will Change the Course of Western Civilization: 

 

 

As I work on the paintings, I come to interpret them. Patrons will often share insights with me on my works as well, telling me meanings that I didn’t even realize, but which become clear once indicated.

Such is the seductive beauty of symbolic expression; even when manifesting universal archetypes, a symbol caresses the spectator in an intimate manner. While symbols can communicate concepts shared in common, each person experiences the thrill of recognition in a unique way, different as fingerprints.

 

I will periodically post updates on this work, and share the progress.

 

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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!

 

 

Andy Warhol’s Pop Art Christmas Cards

An Andy Warhol Angel 

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“Andy was a Catholic, the ethic ran through his bones/

He lived alone with his mother, collecting gossip and toys/

Every Sunday when he went to church/

He’d kneel in his pew and he’d say/

“It’s just work, all that matters is work.” 

-Lou Reed, from Songs for Drella

 

It’s true. Pop artist Andy Warhol, the legendary, ironically blank scenester, was also a devoutly religious man. He attended church faithfully, volunteered in soup kitchens, and made a late body of Christian themed works that have been largely overlooked by the hostilely secular art world.

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Warhol Meets Pope John Paul II, 1980 

As a person of faith, Warhol used his artistic skills to celebrate Christmas. Before Andy found fame in the gallery scene, he was a successful commercial artist. From 1956-1962 he produced box sets of Christmas cards sold by Tiffany’s. He rendered these as quirky doodles, far removed from the slick screen  prints he’s known for.

Here are just a few examples of Warhol’s holiday spirit.

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Christmas

Christmas

Christmas Cards 

 

As I state in my book, Remodern America: How the Renewal of the Arts Will Change the Course of Western Civilization, Warhol left a mixed legacy:

“As the prophet of the Postmodern, Warhol was another harbinger of the mess of a culture we are currently slogging through. It’s not his fault. Do you blame a reporter for the news he covers? The cultural traits Warhol portrayed didn’t start with him. He fulfilled the role of the artist giving us foresight into the culture’s momentum.”

1978: Truman Capote and Andy Warhol Celebrate the Season

Maybe a Little Too High Spirited 

But I like to think behind the facade of celebrity and detachment, there was the real human Andy, who celebrated Christ’s birth with sincere joy.

Merry Christmas!

An Andy Warhol Nativity 

 

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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: Highlights from my Image Morgue

Inspiring Imagery Fuels the Image Bank in my Mind 

 

An update of an earlier post on how I collect the images I need to create my work:

 

STUDIO: The Image Morgue (May 20, 2016) 

These fragments I have shored against my ruin: a sample of my reference material

“The model is not to be copied, but to be realized.”

-Robert Henri

In painting, there really are no rules. But understanding painting as I do, there is a prevalent practice these days which I find completely undermines the integrity of the act.

Projector artists. Artists who cheat themselves and their audience by projecting an image onto their canvas and doing a paint-by-numbers routine to create their works. Artists like this have reduced themselves to a mere cog in a mechanical reproduction process, not creating, but taking dictation from their gadgets. They let their tools make their discoveries for them. It is an inferior mode of creation.

If you’re an artist, do your own rendering.

Now I am not rejecting the use of source material. I learned the hard way, through years of artistic practice, I lack the omnipotent powers of observation and recall to paint strictly out of my own mind and produce the results I want.

How do a frog’s legs attach to its body? How many wings does a mosquito have? What is the musculature of a horse? These are just some of the composition problems I have encountered. I can’t see clearly enough into my memory to reach the level of realism I want in my paintings.

So I use source material. Not all the time, but when it’s important to get something right, and I can’t summon the depth of detail I’d like to. When needed, I find photographs on the internet of what I want to portray, print them out, and study them.

But then-and this is the really important part-I put the photograph down, and paint what I remember about it, what I learned about it.

The image passes through the filters of my consciousness and becomes more me. And that is vital in art: depicting your own unique sensibility…

x

I’ve been busy since I wrote that post, I’ve made many paintings, and envisioned many more.

This morning I added a picture to my digital image morgue folder for a new painting I’m contemplating. I haven’t printed it out yet because the painting is not yet begun:

  Ancient Olive Tree

 

I started browsing through the folder. Some of images have been used in paintings, possibly in ways you’d never recognize. Others were more particular and identifiable. I wanted to share this window into the workings of my creative procedures. These are some of the pictures which have caught my attention, out of the endless resources of the internet.

 

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As I state in my book, Remodern America: How the Renewal of the Arts Will Change the Course of Western Civilization, art isn’t about just reproducing appearances.

 

Making a painting becomes more than just a matter of how to represent something. It symbolizes the artist’s engagement with life. We want so much to make an image that says, “This is who I am, and this is what I saw.”

When we do it right, everyone who sees it will find that image inside themselves as well. It becomes a moment we share, and which can be visited over and over, with new understandings always unfolding. This is the power of art.

Ultimately a painter doesn’t replicate the real world, but creates a world in the painting that exists nowhere else. There are no limits for a painter; every decision in the work can be freely made to best suit the desired result.

 

***********

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! 

PAINTINGS: In the Night

Richard Bledsoe “In the Night” acrylic on canvas 20″ x 24″ 

 

From the Remodern America Manifesto:

Art is a more enduring and vital human experience than the power games of a greedy and fraudulent ruling class. The managers crashed the culture in pursuit of their agenda. They defend their usurped authority and privileges with doublethink, misdirection, and intimidation. Their time has run out. Reality is crashing back through their carefully constructed facades, and a time of reckoning has come. Enduring changes start in the arts. Remodernism defeats Postmodern desecration.

 

-Excerpt from

Remodern America: How the Renewal of the Arts Will Change the Course of Western Civilization

by Richard Bledsoe.

 

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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! 

 

COMMENTARY: The Art of Bigfoot and Painting as Philosophy

Richard Bledsoe “Along the Allegheny 1767″ oil on canvas 30″ x 24”  

 

Even though I write a blog about art, I do not believe art should reply upon words to be effective.

Excessive explanation is one of the worst traits of the corrupted Postmodern art world. Lots of hackwork gets propped up by commentary, both by artists themselves and the institutions which support them. These days most of the extraneous chatter consists of appeals to grievance groupthink or other politicized posing. This trend follows academia’s current status: deep in the septic tank of Cultural Marxism.   It’s predictable that those best at spouting the party line aren’t really the creative ones.

No virtue signalling propaganda will ever fulfill that crucial human need for art. Great art speaks for itself, no explanation or justifications needed. It uses a language without words, which speaks directly to our souls.

Nevertheless, being of an analytical nature, I can’t help thinking about painting, and describing my observations.

First, painting is philosophy. Not in the pedantic sense, where insular scholars endlessly split hairs, and quibble over nuances. Painting is philosophy in action. Painting is translation, changing esoteric thoughts into comprehensible forms. Painting is consciousness harnessed by a physical process, which creates evidence of an individual’s world view. Show me what you paint, and you show me who you are.

Second, what do my paintings say about me?

I have come to identify two great currents which run through my art. I’m always a story teller, a painter of fables and parables. But I see the nature of the stories told come at me from both on high and down low.

I call this dichotomy the Canon and the Tall Tales.

The Canon reflects my impulse towards the stately achievements of  Western Civilization. As I state in my book, Remodern America: How the Renewal of the Arts Will Change the Course of Western Civilization, “The expansion of Western civilization had been nurtured by belief in objective standards, which originated from an underlying order. Whether this order was divine or merely natural was debated, but the acceptance of universal laws was pretty universal.”

We of the West have an amazing legacy to draw on. Our forefathers bequeathed us great traditions of faith, science, art, literature, and law. Part of my art is part of that continuum of grand accomplishments. To recognize the structures. To uphold the harmony of reason, grace, and beauty.

Where some of my artistic practice drifts down from the cosmos, other parts of it pushes out of the earth like toadstools.

The Tall Tales are the grotesque gargoyles on the soaring cathedral. The ghost story told around the campfire. The frightening fairy tale told by a beloved grandmother with a big wart on her nose. It’s the spooky and the strange and the dark places. These things are just as much a part of humanity as the decisiveness and compassion of our better angels. They  are also as American as Edgar Allen Poe, and Robert Johnson.

I realized both aspects of my artistic viewpoint came together in the painting above, Along the Allegheny 1767. It depicts what happens when the representatives of the uniformed hierarchies of the Old World encounter the mysterious weirdness of the American wilderness. Magical things occur.

Currently our tainted elitists are ruthlessly attempting to suppress and destroy our heritage so they can rule over us unopposed by any notions of quality. The rise of the Remodern era shows they have failed in their cultural suicide mission.

 

 

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; Along the Allegheny 1767 is available, along with many others. Please send any inquiries to info@remodernamerica.com. 

 

Update: Welcome Instapundit readers! Please visit other posts for more commentary on the state of the arts from a Remodern perspective.

 

 

 

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.

 

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