Posts Tagged: art

Deep Focus

Illumination #3 36×36 2017©Melynda Van Zee

In this new year I’ve been thinking about deep focus- how sometimes I achieve it and sometimes I wander so far from the path. I accomplished some big tasks over the last season of creating art and sharing my work at art fairs and exhibits. Some of my work is more visible from the outside and some of it is unground and deeper quiet work that is much harder to detect. I was so struck by the words of Carol Green who so eloquently said, “Ultimately, what takes an artist to the next level is the integrity and presence of the art they make.” (Carol Green of Green Naftali Gallery in NY) She captures in succinct language the type of art that I believe flows out of periods of deep concentration and focus.

Deep focus is an all too rare commodity in our culture today. We are well aware of the many distractions that can so easily pull us out of places of flow and concentration no matter the type of work we do. I’ll admit that over the past two months I have experienced competing forces pulling for my time and attention and I allowed some things to fall off my schedule. It is easy for creatives to battle feelings of guilt when they drop out of activities for periods of time instead of celebrating focused attention to the large work at hand. The message our culture sends is that you have to be more, share more, do it all…when in reality these activities may be in direct opposition to the activities that will actually help you create the deep and meaningful work you long to produce. I don’t think the works of presence and integrity that our society so desperately needs in so many fields of study can occur without this ongoing deep focus of mind, spirit and heart.

“FREE: Pathways Toward Freedom” Show Images

“FREE: Pathways Toward Freedom”, my solo art show of original acrylic paintings remains open at the Ankeny Art Center in Ankeny, IA.  The show will be open for two more weeks and closes on Wednesday, Nov. 29, 2017. The show is free and open to the public. Gallery hours are 9:00 am-1:00 pm Tues-Fri, 5:00 pm-7:00 pm Thursday, and 9:00-Noon Saturday.

FREE: Pathways to Freedom Show Images


FREE: Pathways to Freedom Show Images


FREE: Pathways to Freedom Show Images


FREE: Pathways to Freedom Show Images


FREE: Pathways to Freedom Show Images

“FREE: Pathways Toward Freedom” Opens Today

FREE: Pathways Toward Freedom

My solo show “FREE: Pathways Toward Freedom” opened today in the Main Gallery at the Ankeny Art Center 1520 SW Ordnance Road Ankeny, IA, 50023. The show is open October 3 through November 29, 2017. The gallery is free and open to the public Tues-Fri 9am-1pm, Thursday 4pm-7pm, Saturday 9am-Noon.

Over 100 pieces of original art from my studio in a variety of sizes and colors are featured in the show. If you are interested in a specific piece, please let me know or feel free to speak with the gallery staff. 

We’d love to have you join us for the Opening Reception on Thursday, Oct. 12 from 5-7 pm. There will be refreshments for all!

In “FREE: Pathways Toward Freedom” Central Iowa artist Melynda Van Zee uses spiral imagery to express the deep inner work necessary to finding equilibrium and energy to pursue a creative life. The spiral is one of the most commonly found design forms in nature and is symbolic of growth and transformation. From the galaxies to DNA to our fingertips, spirals are prevalent in natural formations and are one of the most efficient ways for something to grow. For the past ten years, she has used her painting process as a method of internal excavating to discover her path.


My sketchbook is a part of “SKETCHBOOK. An exhibition of artist’s books” at the 33 Contemporary Gallery in the Zhou B Art Center in Chicago. The exhibit opens tomorrow on Sept. 15 and runs through October 14, 2017. My sketchbook with the hand painted turquoise green and gold cover (middle sketchbook pictured below) includes a selection of random sketches, art journal pages and color studies created over the past three years. Keeping a sketchbook is such an integral part of my creative process, but I rarely share them. My sketchbook is the “behind the scenes” place where so many of my paintings and other creative activities are generated. 


SKETCHBOOK, NXT Level Projects, 33 Contemporary Chicago, IL