Painting is a very relaxing process for me. It’s the one thing that clears my mind and allows me to focus. Painting is great for brainstorming and letting your mind work through all of the thoughts and concepts swimming around in your head.
A lot of my artwork focuses on things like trinkets, porcelain dolls, and other beautiful childhood objects. I’ve always been a collector, and I filled a bookcase full of fossils, crystals, and ornaments when I was younger.
Artists like Audrey Flack have greatly influenced the way I view still lifes. Symbolism is very important in Flack’s work, and I try to focus on the symbolism in my work as well.
I enjoy painting from life, but find creating photographic reference images to work from really helps my process. By rearranging objects and photographing them in different situations and different angles I can find compositions that capture the emotional intent of the piece.
My oil paintings are intentionally soft and feminine with melancholy undercurrents. Broken dolls and figures intertwine with bright and colorful flowers that could represent new life, or possibly death. We are intruders, viewing these figures from an intimate perspective.
Recently I’ve been using gold leaf in my paintings. During my study abroad in Florence I visited as many churches as possible, and saw many beautiful altarpieces with gold leafed panels. The subjects of the paintings were made more important by the glimmering leaf. I wanted to lend a similar sense of importance to the subjects I painted.
Using gold leaf in my work allowed me to play with a sense of depth versus flatness, as well as brought a more graphic quality into some of my paintings. If you’d like to learn about the gold leafing process I’ll be leading a gold leaf workshop at Main Street Arts on Saturday, February 21st, from 1–3pm. This workshop relates to the current Solid Gold exhibition, featuring nine artists using gold leaf, gold paint, and gold lustre.
Come see Melissa’s paintings in person during Solid Gold, or check out her upcoming exhibition Upstairs at Main Street Arts.