Sometimes it helps to see what art will look like in a home. We've put together this gallery to help you visualize.
"As an abstract painter, my goal is to let myself be open to possibilities. I have been fortunate to travel and experience the diversity of nature’s landscapes, and I am always intrigued with layers and textures I see and feel in nature. Walking in the woods or along a shoreline, or looking up at the clouds – I am captivated. I not only absorb my surroundings for future use in my paintings, but I also collect rocks, tree bark, and seashells along the way.
"Before I begin painting, I engage in a short meditation or a quiet moment in order to prepare myself to remove my ‘head’ from my process, giving myself permission to be open and free, to experiment and let go of any preconceived ideas. I paint in oils and although I can create texture and thickness with my paint, I prefer to begin my paintings with faster-drying applications of heavy-bodied medium textures, using palette knives or large trowels to apply them to my canvas. I add and secure torn paper, metal, wood, sand, stones, or whatever piques my interest, not thinking too much about placement or my final product. I don’t sketch or work from photos, I rely on my internalized experiences and emotions to express themselves onto my canvas. I let the colors of my palette evolve for each painting. I might begin with softer tones but as the painting evolves, I add contrasts of deeper tones and more dramatic accents of color. I am also constantly turning my canvas looking for mood, balance, composition, color contrast, etc. Each time I turn the painting, I see something I didn’t see before. It is truly an exploration and that’s what I LOVE about painting, the evolution of finding something new and different. It’s not always easy to know when a painting is finished, but as soon as the painting intuitively feels right, having the balance and emotional impact of what I’m feeling, then I’m confident it’s finished.
"Mark Rothko’s paintings were an early influence for my work with his large fields of color and depth that continue to stir emotion within me. If my artwork can evoke an emotional effect and take my viewers on a personal journey, I have achieved my intention. My mentor, Tadashi Hayakawa has had the same impact on me. His mentorship has encouraged more freedom of expression and looseness in my work, and he has inspired me to push beyond my self-imposed limitations."
Melanie’s opportunities to travel started at a young age. She was born in Washington, D.C., but the family moved often due to her father’s military assignments, both in the United States and abroad. Although it was challenging for Melanie to develop roots and friendships, her experiences of different cultures and environments had a positive impact on her life. Melanie developed her love of nature and the outdoors with a fascination of landscapes, seascapes, and skies. One cherished tradition was the family’s rustic cabin at Rosebud Lake nestled in Montana’s beautiful backcountry, her family and relatives convened in the beautiful summers when possible. Melanie subconsciously absorbed experiences of the natural environment deep within her soul. Her external senses were being internalized and stored which would later be expressed in her paintings.
Melanie’s introduction to art would not be considered ordinary, however, there are artistic and creative genes in the family. Melanie’s interest in art was inspired by her high school history teacher, Mrs. Hardy. She would have no idea that giving Melanie the opportunity to draw pictures, and more importantly, encouraging Melanie to study art in college would ultimately change the course of Melanie’s life and become one of the most empowering decisions she ever made. Melanie’s family supported her art decision 110 percent, and they have been in constant support of her artistic journey ever since!
Inspired by the quote, “You don’t choose art, art chooses you,” was exactly how Melanie felt the minute she started painting in college. Art professors, Paul Hannah, Hugh Gibbons, and Paul Milosevich inspired her dreams of becoming an artist! Having never painted before, these inspirational professors let Melanie soar and experiment with no limits to her paintings and introduced her to mixed media such as textures, wood, and metal. Melanie engrossed herself in the process and worked in the painting studio day and night, earning her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Texas Tech University with a major in Studio Art and a minor in Ceramics in 1976. Just before graduation, Melanie was honored with a one-woman show in the Texas Tech University art department where her large-format paintings adorned the hallways. Melanie’s entire college experience helped her find her artistic voice, her confidence, and her forever love of art!
Melanie’s paintings continue to evoke emotions among her patrons. One stated, “Your paintings stir so many different feelings all at once. They take me on a journey.” Melanie’s oil and mixed media paintings accentuate both dramatic and subtle effects on her canvas. There is nothing off-limits. She builds and subtracts in both her textural uses and her paint applications, releasing whatever innate emotion bubbles to the surface. Those inspirations have continued to give life and intrigue to Melanie’s ever-evolving artwork to this day.
In 2010, Melanie was fortunate to meet her mentor, Tadashi Hayakawa, a renowned Japanese artist whose mentorship breathed new energy and enthusiasm into Melanie’s work. She participated in Tadashi’s workshops for a number of years learning valuable lifelong artist lessons and will forever cherish his friendship. Melanie has been published in two of Tadashi’s books, Spirit of Power and Origin, as well as being accepted to show her artwork in the Nagasaki Museum of Art’s LELA Peace Exhibition in Nagasaki, Japan in 2012, 2014, and 2017. Melanie has also worked in Technical Illustration with Wyle Laboratories from 1976 – 1978; served as an Art Production artist with Loo Art/Current, Inc. from 1978-1980; worked as a self-employed graphic designer from 1984 -2000; and a Color Study Artist with Zendig Enterprises from 2008-2009.