Posts in Category: new work

Developing a Series

Spheres of Connection 36 x 48 Melynda Van Zee©2016

Spheres of Connection
36 x 48
Melynda Van Zee©2016

Dear Creative Heart,

Throughout this year, I’ve been developing a new series of paintings. Earlier this year I wrote about the very beginning phases of this new series.  I have continued working through additional pieces in the series focused on the visual symbol of the sphere. The sphere (or circle) has been a fascinating vehicle for so many ideas running through my thoughts and for translating experiences from real life. The spheres I have painted have been containers of color, thought, pattern, brush strokes, design, and internal processes.

A few weeks ago I finished “Spheres of Connection”. It seems appropriately titled since we just celebrated one year in our new home and new community. So much has been brought full circle in our lives and for that I am deeply grateful.

Spheres of Diversity 30 x 80 Diptych Melynda Van Zee©2016

Spheres of Diversity
30 x 80 Diptych
Melynda Van Zee©2016

Next week at the art fair in Lake Geneva, WI, I’ll be debuting the newest piece in my ongoing spheres series entitled “Spheres of Diversity”. The news stories of the summer have highlighted again the diversity of struggles still facing our culture in so many arenas. One question that strikes me is how different would our world be if we would look more for the beauty in our diversity instead of the divide? My sense is that the time has come to focus on uncovering the beauty in our complex stories and unique experiences so that together we can be voices who bring a new focus, a fresh hope and eyes of wisdom to the deep hurt and divide in our culture.

With Passion,

Melynda

Spheres of Complexity at Boats Home Furnishings Melynda Van Zee©2016

Spheres of Complexity at Boat’s Home Furnishings
Melynda Van Zee©2016

 

 

Creative Influences and Gravitational Waves

Gravitational Waves by Melynda Van Zee 36 x 48 Acrylic on Canvas

“Gravitational Waves” by Melynda Van Zee
36 x 48
Acrylic on Canvas

Dear Creative Heart,

What are your creative influences? 

Are you influenced by…

  • where you live?
  • the people you live with?
  • the physical surroundings in your home or workplace?
  • classes or professional studies in a particular area?
  • past work experiences?
  • past life experiences?
  • the books you’ve read?
  • the places you’ve visited?
  • the things you have chosen to do or not to do?
  • places you visit on a frequent basis?
  • once in a lifetime experiences?
  • things you value?
  • your life priorities?
  • your tradition and culture?

No matter what type of creative activities you pursue, whether that is creative thinking on the job, creative parenting, creative pursuits such as painting, writing, sculpting, photography, you are using your creative muscles multiple times a day as you solve the problems you encounter in the many aspects of your life both personally and professionally.

I’ve been thinking lately about what are the key things that influence my own creative work. I find some things are easier to discern and recognize in my own work than other things. I also am keenly aware that sometimes we are so close to our own influences and personal stories that it is easy to underestimate the ways that they seep into our work and creative solutions. I know I’m influenced by where I live-I am a creative living in the heart of the prairie in central Iowa. I know my relationships with the people who surround me in my personal life show up in the emotions and colors I create with on canvas. I’m becoming more aware of how my past experiences as a professional educator color the way I approach my creative work and the business of being a creative. I am certain that my love of reading and books challenges and grows the way I think and experience the world.

In a recent painting I was surprised to find one of my past explorations into the world of science creep into my work. When I was in college I was faced with the decision to choose a science class and studying the stars seemed a better choice than all the other options, so I signed up for a year of astronomy. I had no idea the amount of actual math and science (!?!!!) that would be involved in the course, but lab time spent gazing through the huge telescope in the observatory at our professor’s house more than captured my active imagination. And so at random interactions in my life, my interest in astronomy is peeked-a visit to NASA in Florida, solar eclipses, red moons, and now… gravitational waves. I’ve been a bit mesmerized by the recent scientific news this year scientists have been able to measure gravitational waves, which are ripples in the fabric of space time that are created when black holes collide. Predicted by Einstein in 1915-1916, studied for decades and now the year 2016 will be going down in history as the year that successful detection of gravitational waves occurred. I really am the farthest thing from a science junky, but thoughts like “What would it be like to experience the energy created when black holes collide?” and “What would the collision of black holes really look like?” have fascinated my mind.

And, as these thoughts and random scientific articles floated through my mind, I designed a painting. When I looked back at the line work several weeks later-I wondered if this might be a mere imperfect impression-a bit of intuitive artistic imagination on my part colliding with my scientific reading…I’m still pondering about it, but I do know that this painting experience stirred something deep within me.

Dear Creative Heart, my encouragement for you to today is to reflect on your unique life and study how these influences maybe showing up in your creative work. Repeat again and again…

With Passion,

Melynda

New “Color Studio” Reveal

Artist Melynda Van Zee's new "Color Studio" reveal

Artist Melynda Van Zee’s new “Color Studio” reveal

Dear Creative Heart,

Last summer we moved to new community due to my husband’s new job. A part of that journey was moving away from a community that my husband and I had been a part of for over twenty years. Now, one of the great things about our move is that we did not move terribly far away so we are able to go back frequently to see friends and family. One of the other great things about our move has been my new spaces. The last few months have found me not only settling into our new home, but setting up new places to create and store my artwork. In the photo above, you see a peek inside what I like to call my “color studio”. This is where I do most of my actual painting. The natural light is fabulous for doing all my vibrant color work.

When I was a child I used to spend Sunday afternoons curled up in front of our sliding glass door reading a book. I loved soaking up the warmth of the light streaming through the huge pane of glass-I guess I’ve never outgrown that love of light. This room is definitely one of my happy places. Just opening the door, walking in, and soaking up the sunshine inspires me. Of course, I’m not quite as motivated when the sun is not shining or the Iowa temperatures have dipped into the freezing zones. One of the other challenges of this room was…the beautiful, spotless carpet…who could think about painting on that?!? So this fall, after thinking about it for quite awhile, I purchased a large canvas style drop cloth (complete with plastic liner on the reverse side). At some point quite a while ago, I had seen a photo of an artist who created a floor cloth covered with squares. In the squares she added favorite quotes. I loved this idea, but I’m not much of a “square” girl, so I decided to grab a Sharpie and fill my floor cloth with circles. (I promise this train of thought is going somewhere…)

Circle Compositions

Circle Compositions

Sharpie on canvas floor cloth

Sharpie on canvas floor cloth

More Circle Compositions

More Circle Compositions

And, now from that one random act of creativity, has unexpectedly grown a brand new series of work. After painting for months with these circles underfoot, I guess they started to sink deep into me. One day I picked up my cell phone and photographed small interesting compositions within the floor cloth…I studied the photos…and designed a 20 x 20 painting which I then exhibited this February at the Des Moines Women’s Club art show.

"Spillin' Beauty" Acrylic on Canvas 20 x 20 Melynda Van Zee

“Spillin’ Beauty”
Acrylic on Canvas 20 x 20 Melynda Van Zee

I played some more with the compositions and began designing small sets of paintings with this circle theme. I researched in more depth the symbolism of circles…they signify wholeness, completion, energy, eternity, the self, focus, centering, mobility, the sacred, the divine, protective boundaries. The lists go on and on about the deep and profound symbolism of the circle. And, while I am still reflecting personally on what the symbolism of the circle means to me at this point in my journey, I do know that for whatever reason, I have been intimately drawn to create them during the last few months-they seem to be such a natural continuum in my work.

A new series of Circle Compositions 6 x 6 Acrylic on Canvas Melynda Van Zee

A new series of Circle Compositions
6 x 6 Acrylic on Canvas
Melynda Van Zee

A new series of Circle Compositions Acrylic on Canvas  4 6 x 6 pieces Melynda Van Zee

A new series of Circle Compositions
Acrylic on Canvas
4 6 x 6 pieces
Melynda Van Zee

Dear Creative Heart– all that being said, I’ve reminded myself once again that sometimes what seems like a small “side project” (taking a Sharpie and drawing circles on a drop cloth) can actually turn into “the project”…the next step. Remember to look closely under your feet- your next creative project may indeed be just that close.

With Passion,

Melynda

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Spring 2015 Collection

I’m so excited to share the new 2015 Art Collection with you! I spent the cold, Iowa winter months deep into the process of creating new artwork in my studio. I’ve been exploring new color combinations and delving deeper into the visual themes of swirls and spirals.

It is my hope that these new pieces will inspire you to create a home with as unique a style as you. If you’d like to see the pieces in person, I’ll be traveling to art shows through out the Midwest in the summer and fall and I’d love to have you stop by and see me. You can also contact me for a studio visit if you are interested in a specific piece.

White Space 30 x 40 ©Melynda Van Zee

White Space
30 x 40
©Melynda Van Zee

 

Inner Dimension 30 x 40 ©Melynda Van Zee

Inner Dimension
30 x 40
©Melynda Van Zee

Listen for Answers  20 x 20 ©Melynda Van Zee

Listen for Answers
20 x 20
©Melynda Van Zee

Receptivity  20 x 20 ©Melynda Van Zee

Receptivity
20 x 20
©Melynda Van Zee

 

 

Cracking Open 36 x 48 ©Melynda Van Zee

Cracking Open
36 x 48
©Melynda Van Zee

 

2015 Art Show Schedule

(More shows will be added as information is available.)

  • The Art Event at KCC, Kansas City, MO (April 24 & 25, 2015)
  • Molengracht Market, Tulip Time, Pella, IA (May 6, 7, 8 & 9, 2015)
  • Linn Creek Festival, Marshalltown, IA (July 18, 2015)
  • Loring Park Art Festival, Minneapolis, MN (Aug. 8 & 9, 2015)
  • Galena Country Fair, Galena, IL (Oct. 10 & 11, 2015)