Posts Tagged: Iowa artist

“FREE: Pathways Toward Freedom” Opening Reception October 12

“FREE: Pathways Toward Freedom“, a solo show by Melynda Van Zee, will be open October 3 through November 29, 2017 at the Main Gallery of the Ankeny Art Center 1520 SW Ordnance Road Ankeny, IA 50023. Please join us for the Opening Reception on Thursday, Oct. 12 from 5-7 pm. The gallery is free and open to the public Tuesday-Friday 9am-1pm, Thursday 4pm-7pm, Saturday 9am-Noon.

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.

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,


Art Show at Warren Cultural Center

  • Melynda Van Zee Acrylic Paintings Solo Show Warren Cultural Center Greenfield, IA
  • Melynda Van Zee Acrylic Paintings Solo Show Warren Cultural Center Greenfield, IA
  • Warren Cultural Center
  • Warren Cultural Center
  • Melynda Van Zee Acrylic Paintings Solo Show Warren Cultural Center Greenfield, IA
  • Warren Cultural Center
  • Great helpers at Warren Cultural Center
  • Ed & Eva's at Warren Cultural Center

The Warren Cultural Center in Greenfield is hosting an exhibit of my work from now until January 28th. The exhibit features some of my newest pieces with the theme of swirls and spirals.

Thanks to Mandy Billings from the radio station KSOM who interviewed me before the show opening. She shared the following in her article about the show…

“I really decided to develop a body of work with that theme and the reason is because the spiral is the symbol of growth and transformation and so I wanted to explore that even more because I think we have a lot of change going on in our world and the spiral then becomes a visual metaphor for all of that change going on,” explained Van Zee.

“I believe it’s really important for artists to be really reflective on their lives and be authentic in their work and so that’s kind of where the artwork arises from; just sort of what’s going on with me internally,” said Van Zee. “Sometimes it’s kind of hard for people to grasp maybe what that means and so I like to call my work emotional and spiritual landscapes because I think that that is helpful for people as they view the work.” To read the rest of the article, visit KSOM’s website.

Ed & Eva’s is a retail gallery that features the work of local Iowa artists and is a part of the Warren Cultural Center complex. You will be able to find some of my With Passion art pendants and small paintings at Ed & Eva’s year around.

Thank you to everyone at the Warren Cultural Center for warmly welcoming me and my work. It was a pleasure to meet you all.


Melynda Van Zee Art Exhibit- West Des Moines, IA

My paintings are a brief glimpse in vivid color of the emotional and spiritual landscapes of my soul. For the months of October and November 2015, you can explore some of my work in the art gallery at the Lutheran Church of Hope in West Des Moines, IA.

In this collection of acrylic paintings on canvas, I use text, color, line and image to give voice to pieces of my life- experiences, emotions and prayers. Painting is a time of quiet reflection and process for me- a space to have conversation with God in color.

One of my biggest challenges has been to allow myself to paint the good…and the difficult, the beautiful…and the painful- to allow the breadth of my life to find its way onto the canvas and to intuitively transfer the invisible into shape and form and color.

Works will be on display from October to mid-November.  The Lutheran Church of Hope, West Des Moines is at 925 Jordan Creek Pkwy and is open seven days a week.


Melynda Van Zee Art Exhibit at Lutheran Church of Hope

Melynda Van Zee Art Exhibit at Lutheran Church of Hope

"The Calling" at Art Exhibit -Lutheran Church of Hope

“The Calling” at Melynda Van Zee Art Exhibit -Lutheran Church of Hope

"Fragments" at Art Exhibit -Lutheran Church of Hope

“Fragments” at Melynda Van Zee Art Exhibit -Lutheran Church of Hope

Melynda Van Zee Art Exhibit at Lutheran Church of Hope

Melynda Van Zee Art Exhibit at Lutheran Church of Hope

"Observing the Recovery" at Art Exhibit -Lutheran Church of Hope

“Observing the Recovery” at Melynda Van Zee Art Exhibit -Lutheran Church of Hope