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Marti Bledsoe to paint and display artwork at Art in the Garden

When I was a child, I would line the top of my dressers and shelves with natural objects I found outside,” says Marti Bledsoe.

She will be one of the 15 featured artists at the second annual Art in the Garden festival, to be held Aug. 15, at El Rancho Pinoso in the Upper Blanco Basin off of U.S. 84. Marti explains she has always been drawn to nature and thoroughly enjoys studying her surroundings whether she’s taking a walk or on a trip. She has discovered she never fails to be intrigued, no matter where the location, which always gives her the inspiration for her art work.

On occasions when she is able to paint in the plein air tradition, she always experiences a refreshed appreciation of nature. Marti paints intuitively and feels the time spent observing and contemplating enables her to gain much food for thought. Painting small she believes enables her to handle her supplies easier while she’s traveling, yet she’s still able to glean a good picture of the kind of day she experienced. She believes her method of painting helps boredom stay out of her life, while giving her great joy and immense satisfaction

Marti remembers visiting museums and art exhibitions as a child. Her family liked to collect art; Marti’s mom always encouraged her love for art, but her Aunt Rosalie Heacock, an artist, was her mentor. When Marti was 10 years old, Aunt Rosalie gave Marti her first oil painting lesson. Aunt Rosalie would later also teach her how to use pastels and watercolors, and work with stained glass. She enjoys working with a variety of materials and often combines them.

In 1997, Marti started using the monoprint process. She was able to develop a simpler, similar process for doing small monoprints and has named it “thumbprints” monotypes. Recently she was able to complete an intensive study series with Michael Coffee, learning a process called Reductive Ink, which she feels has improved her work tremendously. When she finishes a project, she’s often surprised, and a little bit awed, with the finished product.

While in college, Marti studied design, drawing and ceramics. Later in life, she trained to be a museum docent at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth. Nevertheless, she considers herself self-taught, even though she has been influenced by many wonderful and talented art teachers.

Marti loves to teach art herself and has taught several classes in Marble Falls, Texas, at J Space Gallery, where her work is also represented. She was able to display her monoprints in an exhibition at J Spacey Gallery in November 2008 . For the past three years, she has participated in a plein air competition and auction called “Paint the Town.” It is sponsored by the Historic Main Street Association of Marble Falls and is also part of the Blue Bonnet Festival there. She loves being a part of it and feels it’s something she would never want to miss.

She maintains a home and studio in Horseshoe Bay, Texas, in addition to her home and studio here in Pagosa Springs. Her work has been shown in Pagosa Springs at SHY RABBIT Contemporary Arts Gallery. She is also a member, and very supportive, of ArtistNet, whose members believe in and encourage art education and act as advocates of those who desire to pursue art as a vocation.

In Horseshoe Bay, Marti has been commissioned by residents who desire to build their homes using custom artwork as a guide in the interior design, with the colors from the artwork as an influencing feature throughout the house. For instance, one resident wanted to bring the feeling of water into a room with specific colors to help her make the choices on all other items to be used in that room. It’s a great challenge, but Marti considers it a pleasure.

Marti’s work will be exhibited Saturday, Aug. 15 , from 3 to 7 p.m. at the Art in the Garden Festival while she works plein air along with some of the other 14 artists and sculptors. The second annual Art in the Garden festival will be held in the beautiful Archuleta County mountain ranch setting of El Rancho Pinoso. Along with the wonderful artwork, there will be talented musicians providing music while delicious samplings of gourmet hors d’ oeuvres are being served. All artwork will be on sale for cash or check, with 30 percent going to support the Community United Methodist Church Community Assistance Fund, which helps provide for the needy in Archuleta County without regard to race or religion. The public is invited to attend the festival. The $30 tickets can be purchased at Pagosa Springs Chamber of Commerce, The Plaid Pony and Community United Methodist Church. For more information about Art in the Garden Festival, go to the Web site, www.PagosaArtinthe