Saturday, March 19, 2005

I used to be a painter...

15x20" colored pencil and acrylic, 1981

This is an example of my earlier work. I painted this from my own photographs which I did in undergraduate school. My BA is in Painting and Drawing and once I graduated, I stopped painting and started quilting. It's a long boring story, trust me, but the essence is that I was painting to please others and because I thought being an artist meant being a painter.

This detail shows that I was meticulous, and that this painting is really just a painted drawing. I couldn't bear to leave any detail out. Every stinkin' piece of rattan had to be accounted for. The face had to look exactly like the model.

There was no joy in mudville for me when I was a painter. O yeah, it looks good but I hated doing it, and that proves it was not what I ought to have been doing for my life's work.

But through a series of spectacularly spooky events, I have made a new friend and her little self has opened a big crack in my hate for painting and made me see the possibilities of trying it again and actually having fun with it. This new friend is Sonji Hunt and it was she that contacted me, to get more info on quilting!

When we met, only last week, we instantly clicked and she revealed that she had taught art in college, so with lump in throat I blurted that I used to be a realistic painter and stopped painting in favor of quilts and had a desire to go back and do some painting every now and then and was at a loss at how to begin and didn't want to do realism anymore but to do abstract painting and didn't have a clue how to start. All in one breath.

Luckily, she talks like this too. So we decided to mentor each other and within days I was at her house in WI and saw her paintings and more of her fiberart (both are really original and great) and knew it was kismet. After showing her some work I did in 2002, she encouraged me like crazy and yesterday I jumped in and painted the following two pieces.

both are 11x14" and are acrylic

Of course these are just the beginning, but I can see that I have cracked the code, and had fun. I didn't worry about every little detail, yet you can still see that they are figures in an environment.
I am really happy.
I don't have to please anyone but myself with this stuff and don't have to worry about grades or a competition or approval from my family or other adults, or even ever having to justify anything about them. This is totally unlike any of the feelings I ever had with my paintings before.
Thank you Sonji.


  1. Looking at your early work, I was thinking: This detail work would a)make you famous (not); b) make you crazy (likely); or 3) drive you away from doing this ever again.

    There was no feeling in the painting.

    The last 2 pieces have emotion. They have spirit.

    This all explains how your hot flash quilt could look so good. It looks like this week's paintings. congratulations on finding your muse-friend.

  2. You've got it goin' on, Mrs. Mel! dar is right on.

  3. This book is brilliant (Celebrate your creative self by Mary Todd Beam). I got it for Christmas and it's got loads of painting exercises/ play opportunities in it! (The brushes she recommends are half inch, one inch and three inch so lots of sloshing colour on...).

    I love reading your blog - it's one of my favourites. All those wonderful colours...

  4. Wow! Good for you for jumping back in! I agree with Dar--no feeling in that old painting, lots of emotion in your new work. Enjoy your new explorations!

  5. Oh I have goosebumps. This is very exciting. I had the lucky kismit of connecting with Sonji too! She is divine. Deborah

  6. It's me, Sonji, your stalker, but I much prefer muse/friend. Deborah emailed me to check out what you wrote about me. Well, honestly, Melody, you should have written a bit MORE about how great I your blog is about you. HA. No really, I'm so happy that you feel free! Something crazy and great is gonna happen for us all. I know it!

  7. Wonderful new work! So much more soul!



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