COMPOSING A FEELING

COMPOSITION – The nature of something’s ingredients or constituents; the way in which a whole or mixture is made up.

Let’s use a shirt as an example of a composition. Isn’t it true that as pieces of material are sewn together, a 3-dimensional composition comprised of size, shape, color, and texture is the result? A construction of fabric, buttons, zippers, snaps, collars and cuffs is arranged and assembled into a distinct garment. These garments can become a favorite piece of clothing that possess the ability to make us FEEL, not only the physical sensation on our skin, but an emotion within us. As in, comfort, warmth, happiness, hipness, even sexiness. How can a simple, ordinary object elicit such a sense of satisfaction? A beautiful memory? Nostalgia? What is it that provokes us to reach for that favorite shirt or sweater? The one with the looseness or tightness in just the right places. The one that feels silky, smooth and sexy. The one full of holes that has seen better days, yet reminds us of a past lover or experience. The one that is just so fuzzy and soft that it’s the only. thing. that will make us feel warm and comfortable in that moment. Need I go on about that perfect pair of jeans that fit just right? We can cover ourselves with clothes to hide our perceived imperfections, or we can reveal ourselves, accentuating the parts of us that we love. Clothes are a representation of both our vulnerabilities and our confidence and strengths.

The definition of composition in artistic terms is that of a work of literature, music, or art. It can be a painting, a poem, a play, a symphony, or a drawing, to name a few. My goal as a painter is to create a composition, often using ordinary objects, like a shirt, painted on the canvas in a way to evoke a feeling. Sometimes it’s about the light. Sometimes it’s about the space and how it’s occupied. Sometimes I’m capturing a moment from my own experience. It’s no different than a poet’s ability to use words to capture an emotion. Just as I use my canvas to arrange my composition, a poet arranges words to create a poem. It can be how the words are arranged, using meaning, sound, and rhythm. It’s not only these things that define a poem. Creativity defines a poem. A beautiful mind, life experience and imagination define a poem. A poet is a poem.

Sometimes it’s the inherent meaning in how the shirts are placed.
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Sometimes it’s just about capturing the beauty of an ordinary shirt. Comfortable T’s. They just make me feel good.
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Sometimes it’s just about the shirt.
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WHAT IF?

I love the word if. I haven’t always. Because the what if? question used to throw me into obsessive compulsive thinking patterns. I’ve somehow managed to turn the pesky logical/analytical reasoning thought processes that often accompanied the what if? question into a simpler process of answering with my imagination. As in, instead of going down the rabbit hole by answering with even if or if and only if or if….then, I can answer the what if? question with……..”Who cares?“ or “Let’s go for it!” or “Can I learn something new if…….?” Last year, I was presented with an opportunity for an incredibly challenging commission. After catching myself turning to my default mode of logical/analytical/conditional ifs as to why I was not the painter for the job, I sunk into my imagination ifs instead. And then the fun began.
It helped that I was given 100% artistic freedom.

This is an acrylic painting of the Charles Evans Whittaker U.S. Courthouse in Kansas City, Missouri. Justice Whittaker served as judge on all three levels of the Federal court, including the Western District of Missouri, Eighth Circuit, and U.S. Supreme Courts. He was appointed by President Dwight D.Eisenhower.
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The painting was commissioned by Loren Whittaker as a gift for her husband Tom, the grandson of Justice Whittaker. Tom Whittaker is CLO of JE Dunn Construction Company, builder of the Federal Courthouse. Tom has a view of the courthouse from his office window, which can be seen to the left of the painting.
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Loren did an unbelievable job of orchestrating the entire journey, down to the timing and placement of the painting. This photo was taken soon after Tom was surprised with his gift. Perhaps the best photograph ever.
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THE THREAD THAT HOLDS US TOGETHER

I like to think of human beings as singular, colorful, strands of thread. As individuals, we interweave through and around each other, sharing communication, emotion, skill and passion (among many other things) to form thicker strings that connect and entwine into friendships and relationships. As our lives unfold, we seek authenticity in the deepest part of our soul, allowing us to answer the questions of why are we here? what is our purpose? We hope to form even stronger chords that assist us in taking action and finding creative solutions, contributing to the forward growth of humanity as a whole.

This is a painting that I did for my friend Jamie. It was done in trade for some of the expenses incurred on a trip we took to Romania and Prague. (I’ll save that adventure for another post). Jamie and I have weaved in and out of each others’s lives, ever since becoming friends in high school. Presently, one of the threads we share is a passion for sewing.
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Jamie is one of the most creative humans I know. As an example of an individual thread being a component of a thicker string, here is a picture of what she created for her family and friends. She is a Medical Technologist healthcare professional, Supervisor of Microbiology and Molecular Pathology at VA Long Beach Hospital.
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And here is a pic of Jamie at work. There’s no question in my mind, that not only is she a creative thread to a colorful world…….her ponytail is purple, after all….. but she is a contributing, beneficial chord to the lives of our fellow human beings.
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FEAR OF THE UNKNOWN

I love picking words apart.

Fear – An unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain, or a threat.
Unknown – Not known or familiar.

Let me introduce myself.
My name is Melissa, and I’m an artist.
Have you ever heard the phrase “Starving Artist”?
Yup, that used to be me.
Been there.
Done that.
Yet, oddly enough, the reason why I’m no longer a starving artist is because I’ve become a master conqueror of the above, Fear of the Unknown. But don’t get me wrong. I am by no means a millionaire. Not. Even. Close. In fact, my sole method of making a living off my art has been put on hold for at least the next four months. But you know what? The amount of gratitude I feel because I can power through is beyond measure. That gratitude overpowers my fear. It feeds my creativity. It did not happen overnight, it’s been a journey. I am thriving.
So. I’d like to share the variety of artistic endeavors I pursue on a day-to-day basis. I draw my greatest ideas and inspiration from the unfolding of the process once I have a starting point. This is my starting point. I have no idea where it will go.

I’ll begin with the Great Room Design Haus. It took me 14 years to get up the nerve to paint these walls.
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14-1/2’ tall Fan Shelf. I had the fan collection, built the shelves to accommodate the different sized fans, backed with xtra corrugated metal that I had laying around.
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