Wed, April 01

Around the Bluhmin’ town: Becoming one with the paintbrush

Judy Bluhm

Judy Bluhm

I am artist. Here me roar. Bending, reaching. Now I’m sore.

After years of practice, last Sunday I became one with my paintbrush. I finally found my calling.

I personally know a few well-known, talented artists who have inspired me.

Dave Newman is the multi-media artist and owner of the Newman Gallery in Prescott.

Every time he holds a paintbrush, magic happens.

I know abstract landscape artist Claudia Hartley, who lives in Cottonwood and she is a talent to behold.

Red mountains, maybe blue trees, her work will thrill your senses.

Like them, I love to paint. As a child, my parents would make my brother and me touch up the white picket fence around our house.

Which meant an entire fresh coat of paint.

My brother hated it, so he usually ran off and left me to complete the task. Something great about seeing immediate results, being outside, listening to the birds and then getting a dollar for my efforts.

So Sunday, I headed out to paint 300 feet of white rail horse fencing. I started early and it was a beautiful day.

A neighbor walked by and gave me a few pointers (use a mitt). A sheriff drove up and said it looked like fun.

I handed him a paint brush and said, ‘fun is waiting for you.’ He laughed and said he dare not splatter paint on his uniform (excuses).

A teenager on a horse rode by and said she thought the fencing would look better a tan color (too late).

Geez, what happened to the Tom Sawyer effect of having a bunch of people pitch in and help?

I did have time to reflect, no phone ringing. I thought of my mother for about 50 feet of painting.

She loved to sit out on the patio and watch me do things. Often shouting out words of encouragement.

The next 100 feet I was in the painting trance, where the mind wanders and the swish of the brush back and forth becomes a steady drumbeat.

My big brown horse, Baxter, watches me from afar. No worries about him coming over to the fence-line because he is old, arthritic and barely walks.

Wait, what I am seeing? Is that Baxter loping over to my freshly painted three-rail fence?

From my side, I drop everything and rush over, but he is already at the fence, taking a whiff and then turning sideways pressing his 1,200-pound body up against the wet paint.

Nooo! I wave my hat at him. Go away, bad horse! He looks at me annoyed and then turns around and presses his other side against the wet rails! My horse looks like a zebra!

A great artist said that there are moments when a brush, paint and a blank canvas, can be transforming and take one to the next level. Dear Readers, I had that moment.

Last week, while painting, I was taken to the next level. Something special happened.

An artist was born. Want proof? Come on over and look at my masterpiece. A perfectly striped horse.

Judy Bluhm is a writer and a realtor. Have a story or a comment? Email Judy at

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