Mixed media artist Susan Melrath focuses on shape, line and color in her art, expressing ideas about life and spirituality. Visit her website to learn more.
“Resistance” Mixed Media on Panel, 36” x 36”
I was that kid who loved a rainy day so I could stay inside and draw. Heaven was paper, glue, string, markers and a pair of scissors. I was a dreamer, a romantic, a spiritual little soul. My creativity was nurtured by watching my mother make flower arrangements or a beautiful piecrust. I was inspired by nature and beauty everywhere. Art and life all seemed to blend together back then.
“Returning Home” Mixed Media on Panel, 36” x 36”
As I approached college age, concerns about making a living prompted me to attend a commercial art school rather than follow the path of fine art. I spent those years honing my drawing and painting skills. Upon graduation, I became a freelance illustrator, working for publishing and advertising clients. My work was mostly watercolor, highly rendered and realistic.
“Small Mercies” Mixed Media on Panel, 12” x 12”
I felt a lot of satisfaction in seeing my work published, meeting deadlines, and, of course, being paid. But there came a time when the curious, creative child inside of me wanted more. I wanted my work to be more personally meaningful.
“Supergirl” Mixed Media on Panel, 60” x 60”
I lost interest in reproducing the details of an image and grew much more curious about how to convey emotion with paint. I was bored with accuracy and became absorbed with learning to understand broader principles of art.
“The Dream” Mixed Media on Panel, 36” x 36”
This was an awakening, and it motivated me to seek mentors who could help me learn how to use color, design and new materials to support my growth as an artist.
“The Ordinary World” Mixed Media on Panel, 60” x 60”
My work became looser and more focused on the painting itself, independent of any subject matter.
“Threshold” Mixed Media on Panel, 48” x 48”
Shape, line and color developed into a language of abstraction, which enabled me to express my ideas about life, dreams and spirituality. I had begun to find meaning in my work. This evolving language of mark-making has become my passion. When I paint, I am exploring color, texture and patterns, and how they relate. Each painting begins with layers of pure color and grows through a process of glazing, sanding, adding and subtracting.
“The Road Not Taken” Mixed Media on Panel, 12” x 12”
My process has become an exercise in not knowing, in letting intuition lead the way. Learning to work this way has been life changing and liberating. Embracing a state of not knowing allows wisdom to arise from a deeper place than intelligence, a place where dreams are formed and where there is access to the subconscious.
“The Gift” Mixed Media on Panel, 60” x 60”
Art and life have once again become intertwined for me, with the painting process and the paintings themselves becoming metaphors for the complex and beautiful relationships in our lives, the intricacy of dreams, and a sense of the spiritual in all things.
Artist Susan Melrath invites you to follow her on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
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