Posts in Category: acrylic paintings

New Inner Core Painting Series

After a winter season of painting in my studio, I’m pleased to share with you my new Inner Core painting series. Last year I found myself painting a recurring image of a spiral shape. These spiral shapes were different from other spirals I had painted in the past. The shapes began in the center, but rather than spinning counter-clockwise around a center point, the lines flowed outward and came back to the center again. This movement repeated itself again and again around a central point.

Because it had continually been showing up in my work over and over, I let myself be more curious and continued to explore this shape-especially experimenting with multiple spiraling and overlapping shapes within the paintings. And, I challenged myself to paint these spiral shapes on a much larger scale. The shapes were bold, flowing, overlapping, multi-dimensional and soothing. I began working on four large canvases by pouring lines of acrylic paint from bottles and then adding layers of translucent paint. Slowly over the time I’ve worked within this imagery, the more I’ve become aware that a theme of focusing on the inner core of life was appearing before my eyes on the canvases.

Freedom from the Core 48×48 Melynda Van Zee©2019

Speaking into our current culture

Simultaneously, I’ve also been thinking about the concept that artists are often responding to the shifts, trends and realities of the culture within which they live. Sometimes adapting their work to the cultural norms and sometimes reacting against or speaking into the current cultural flow. As I reflect on our cultural life together, I’m increasingly alarmed by the way our communication with each other and knowledge of our personal selves is being eroded right before our eyes.

Detail from Authentic Connections 48×48 Melynda Van Zee©2019

Awareness

Awareness is one of the first skills I teach in creativity classes. And, I’m still somewhat incredulous how important it is that I teach this- how important it is that I teach people to “look”, to really look at the world within and around them. As a culture we have forgotten what it looks like to really pay attention to our particular physical and non-physical world. We are so absorbed in what other people think, what other people are saying, how other people are reacting to current political and societal ills that we have forgotten how to slow down and look at what is happening in our own hearts, in our own personal relationships, and in our own backyards.

We are afraid to look too deep, because there we might find the things we don’t want to face. As a culture we are numbing out with reactive living, technology or other mood altering habits. These invasive habits are our escape mechanisms.

Detail from Resting in the Shadows 48×60 Melynda Van Zee©2019

New Inner Core Series

My new Inner Core Series has arisen from my own journey of choosing an alternative path-a different way of showing up in the world. It is a path that involves focusing on my own inner core. My art practice is one of the crucial pieces of how I figure out who I am- who I am going to be in this world and how I am going to show up. Art gives me a healthy place to make all these explorations and process my world. It is a sensory experience-the intensity of the colors, the movement of the brush, the vibrancy of the creativity flowing through me.

It is in my art journals- in the gathering of visual information and sketching that I begin to quiet down the outside world and allow myself to explore my own unique visual ideas. I filter the ideas and sketches in my art journal  and eventually some of the ideas end up as paintings. This process requires paying attention to my own heart, emotions, thoughts, decision making, responses and reactions.

Detail from Resting in the Shadows 48×60 Melynda Van Zee©2019

Creativity Research Project

This vulnerable journey feels like a giant creativity research project that I’ve been investigating for years. I don’t want to keep the results of this work to myself, so I keep sharing my discoveries and creations with you. Thank you for joining in with my on-going creativity research project. If you’d like to see more of the new series, the paintings are available to view in Paintings. Interested in purchasing a specific piece? Please contact me on our Contact page. Finally, if you’d like to see me at an art show this upcoming spring/summer season, the schedule is below.  

Catch My Breath

 

“Catch My Breath” 36″x36″ 2107©MelyndaVanZee

A few years ago we packed up and moved our family to a new home in a new city with a new school and new employment. Every day leading up to the move was full of real estate issues, cleaning house, planning for the transition, etc, etc…Moving falls in the Top 5 list of most stressful life events we encounter-it is a time of rapid change.

I created “Catch My Breath” following this period of transition. Painting right through the transitions in my life has been a growth point for me-not waiting until the “perfect time in life to create”, but creating right in the middle of it. Painting helps me to process my life as I live it. I used to think “I’ll paint more someday when…”

Students visiting “Catch My Breath” at the Nuances of Freedom Art Exhibit by Melynda Van Zee at Iowa State University Memorial Union

 

 

Nuances of Freedom

“Nuances of Freedom” to open at Iowa State University Memorial Union Gallery

I’m excited to share that my solo show “Nuances of Freedom” will be opening December 14, 2018 at the Iowa State University Memorial Union in Ames, IA. This show will feature over 25 of the paintings I created through a process of carefully observing my own creative practice.

One thing I’ve learned after years of creative work-either my own creative work or nurturing the creative work of others, is that paying attention to the little things is important. When I first started out on my own personal creative journey, I thought “If I just had a beautiful studio space, then i could make things” or “If I only I didn’t have to go to work so much, then I’d have the time to create paintings.” These avoidance thought patterns were not helpful to my creative work. I know in my own creative journey that has been just as hard to start a painting if I was in my basement working on top of a door laid over two filing cabinets or in a well-lit sunroom with big windows and a great easel.

Creative Freedom

My experience is that while “lack of studio space” or “lack of time” are some of the easiest excuses to why we say we can’t do something creative, these are surface level issues. They are rarely the true reasons for why we have such a difficult time beginning, continuing or finishing creative work. There are often much more hidden, subtle, and nuanced reasons why we are not giving ourself permission to pick up the pen, pour paint, or make a life change. We often deceive ourselves that the real reason we don’t create is due to outside forces or circumstances. The reality is that most times this truly is a “inside job”. It is the internal issues that are creating the roadblocks.

“Centering Within #19” 60×48 2018©Melynda Van Zee

Over the last couple of years I’ve been consciously observing the nuances of my own creative process- the personal rhythms, the energy flows and my own internal mindsets. I’ve been asking myself questions like…

How do I create a life of abundant creative freedom?

What structures and experiences will nourish my creativity and support my work?

Captured Energy

The lines, colors, and movement of these paintings are brief moments of captured energy from my own growth process. They are a reflection of the inner changes and experiments I’m exploring as I work to intentionally build a lifestyle of creative freedom. 

“Spheres of Nuance #1” 40×30 2018©Melynda Van Zee

Show Details

“Nuances of Freedom” opens December 14, 2018 at the Iowa State University Memorial Union in the Gallery. The Gallery is on the 3rd floor of the Memorial Union located at 2229 Lincoln Way Ames, IA 50011. The show runs through February 6, 2019. The gallery is free and open to the public 8 a.m.-8 p.m., seven days per week unless reserved for meetings. Call 515-296-6848 to confirm open viewing hours.

After the show opens, watch for photos on my social media accounts. If you don’t already follow me on Facebook or Instagram, please feel free to join me.

You may also want to mark your calendar now for the Art Reception for “Nuances of Freedom” on Tuesday, February 5, 2019 from 6-8pm in the Gallery.

Last Chance to catch me at an outdoor art show this year and photos from Aspen~

 

Melynda with “Centering Within #19” 60 x 48

This month is your last chance to catch me at an outdoor arts festival this year! I start out September this weekend (Sept. 8 & 9) at the Rockbrook Village Art Fair in Omaha, NE.

My only outdoor show in Iowa will be Sept. 23 in Ames, IA for the Octagon Art Festival.

Your final chance to enjoy the fresh air and an outdoor art fair where I’ll be exhibiting is the beautiful Peoria Art Fair in Peoria, IL on Sept. 28, 29 & 30. Come and enjoy an art fair-we’d love to see you.

 

Aspen Art Fair Aspen, CO

 

John Denver Sanctuary Gardens

Aspen!

 

So many of you have been asking “How was your show in Aspen?!?” Well, friends it was a true adventure. My first art show in the mountains and as expected it was BEAUTIFUL.

 

The park where the show was held was full of lush green grass and next door to the gorgeous John Denver Sanctuary Gardens. The garden is full of huge rocks carved with the words of John Denver’s songs and other inspirational quotes.

 

Early in the morning before the show, I walked the trails through the garden, beside the babbling brook, and in the midst of hundreds of blooming wild flowers-it revived my soul.

I might have needed some “reviving” after the days leading up to the show, full of packing and loading, and then many miles through the mountains with our new trailer. We got up each mountain but we might have gone reallllly slow through a few mountain passes with our truck feeling the full weight of the load.

The quality of work at the show was outstanding, but we were beset with a few challenges from nature-rain, hail, and forest fires which caused the closure of the Aspen airport for the weekend.

Hail and rain in Aspen

 

Hiking in Aspen with the best art show helper there is~

Truly a weekend to remember. I was so grateful to have the help of my husband and two teenage sons who helped me. After we were done at the show, we got to enjoy hiking and eat some great pizza together!