Someone encouraged me recently that as an artist I should be noticing that I notice what I notice. I’ve been noticing lately the many reasons why I paint. There are so many reasons NOT to paint…but, why have I chosen to dedicate so much time and energy to the practice of painting?
One reason that I paint is that it is a sensory experience for me. I experience the vibrancy of the colors flowing out of the brush across the canvas and the feel of the lines pouring out as thick paint moves across the surface.
But, creating art is also so much more than that for me. When I am creating, I take the time in quiet to listen to my own internal landscape and translate it to the canvas. I allow what’s inside to flow out through my hands. I process my world in a healthy and life-giving way.
Painting is meditative and centering. It is a time for me to sift through what is important and what needs to fade away. Sometimes it is a safe place to wrestle with unknowns and mine the depths of my life experiences-the good, the bad, the gifts and the tragedies.
I take this long, hard journey deep inside my thoughts, my heart, with brushes, pigment, water, and time. I paint this inner excavation-down through the layers past all the junk that gets in the way. I take these sensory, emotional, psychological, spiritual, and intellectual journeys time and time again through the years.
The finished painting is not the journey. The journey encompasses so much more. But, the painting is an important by-product of the internal processes. Maybe it’s like the postcards sent to friends and family along the way while traveling?
So, I’ve taken these journeys…why could that matter to anyone else?
Isn’t it self absorbed?
A giant waste of time?
A waste of precious resources?
A waste of art supplies?
Who really cares?
How can a few more paintings in this world make anything different?
These questions are just the tip of the iceberg hinting at issues that creatives battle against. They are only the beginning of the thoughts that can and do haunt or stop our creativity from flowing into our world.
Because I can. Because it is part of me being alive in this world. Because it keeps me healthier. Because I am human. Because you are too. Because art reminds us of who we are. Because it helps us all to heal. Because it activates our senses. Because it reminds us that we all have stories. Because it builds community around us that helps us survive the perils of life. Because we all have the task of figuring out who we are in this world and what kind of life we wish to create. Because we are all in this journey together.
I have three exhibits available for viewing the next couple of months. Freedom from the Core is on view at the Becoming Free Semeiotic Gallery in Chicago, IL. This gallery space is a beautiful and historic church building in north downtown Chicago. The exhibit will be on view until October, 2019.
Nuances of Freedom is on view at Harvest Vineyard in Ames, IA. They will be hosting an Artist Talk & Reception on September 15, 2019 from 12:30-2:30 pm. Come join us at the Harvest Cafe if you’d like to hear more about my work.
Finally, I have my last couple of art fairs of the year this month. This weekend I’ll be Rockbrook Village in Omaha, NE and on September 22 you can find me at the Octagon Art Festival in Ames, IA. This will be my only Iowa art fair this year.
My show at the Iowa State University Memorial Union is available to view entire month of January and until Feb 6. There will be a closing Art Reception on Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2019. More info about the show is featured in “Memorial Union exhibits Ames artist Van Zee’s work” from the Ames Tribune.
|Detail of “From the Center” 40″ x 30″ Melynda Van Zee © 2011|
Things are getting underway for the Autumn Studio Tour happening this weekend right here in the studio. Not only will you be able to see “the real thing” instead of just “sneak peaks”, but you can also visit the studios of several other area artists. For more information on the tour, check out the Red Rock Arts Alliance.
|Detail from “You Know My Way” 48″ x 36″ Melynda Van Zee © 2011|
|Detail from “The Waters” 48″ x 36″ Melynda Van Zee © 2011|
You will also have the opportunity to sign up for a Door Prize. I’ll be giving away this small original T.U.L.I.P. piece titled “Amazing Grace”.
|“Amazing Grace” 6″ x 8″ Melynda Van Zee © 2011|
The Galerie of Pella will be closing on the 31st of this month. For the next two weeks they are having a “Last Chance” sale where you have the opportunity to purchase a piece of your favorite Iowa artist’s work.
I’ve been working with Steve and Molly at the Galerie here in Pella for over 5 years now. They grew the Galerie from 5 artists in a small gallery space opening right before Tulip Time in 2006 to their current large, spacious home featuring the work of over 45+ Iowa artists. I will miss working with them. I will miss having a gallery in my local town. Together we learned as we mounted shows and celebrated the creativity of so many artists in the area. I am so grateful to have had this opportunity. Endings are never easy, but a natural part of the rhythm of our lives. And, now we look for what is next. We take we have learned and we start a new bend in the journey.