Why do you create art?
I create art to experience the present moment. I tend to be someone who worries a lot and creating art makes all of that melt away. I enter into a state of flow where I do not feel time and I experience serenity. It is also a form of expression for me where I can work out a feeling or I can connect to a wiser part of myself.
Tell us about your journey to become an artist?
Seven years ago, I did not even imagine that I would be creating art. My mom and husband are artists and I did not see myself this way at all. I had absolutely no artistic skill. I could do was draw stick people and I didn’t understand how to work with colours or any art supply. When I was looking for a way to relax, I saw a 30 day doodle challenge. I joined and immediately saw the benefits of engaging with creativity. Shortly after, I took my first painting workshop and went straight to the art store to pick up a set of paints and brushes. My little art cabinet had 10 things in it!! I never looked back. Every day I engage with art and creativity in some way (and I have a lot more art supplies!!). I’ve learned from so many amazing art teachers around the world through online art classes.
What is currently inspiring you?
I am reawakening my inner writer and I love to incorporate story and poetry with my art. Each painting takes its own journey, I just follow it and capture the story at the end. It is another form of expression and way to engage with my creativity. Combining painting and story telling together is very rewarding for me.
What does your creative Practice look like?
Each time I go to the canvass I set an intention for creating. Do I want to learn a new skill today? Express an emotion? Get grounded? Play? Find an answer to a life question? From there I decide whether I am going to do a lesson, use my non-dominant hand, paint with my fingers, use large or small brushes, create a story, or do some journaling with the piece.
How do you keep your creative practice fresh and inspired?
I am incredibly inspired by the online art community. I regularly take classes and I gain so much inspiration from all the artists I am connected to on Instagram and Facebook. When I see beautiful art, I can’t help but get off the couch to go to my art table and create myself.
How has your process evolved?
I kept waiting for my own style to emerge. Teachers kept saying it would and to just keep painting. I found it by paying attention to what brought me joy and following the techniques and colours that I love. For me, this is incorporating antique book pages, using beautiful patterned paper, incorporating story, painting expressive female faces, and using layers and texture.
What do you wish you had known at the beginning of your creative journey?
I wish I had known that creating art is a learned skill, not some innate talent. With time, skill and style evolve. For me, this evolved because I focused on enjoying myself while I painted over any other focus. As long as I enjoyed myself, I kept creating, which in turn meant my skill and style evolved.
Do you have a Creative Self Care Practice?
I strongly believe in building a self-compassionate art practice. My inner art critic often tells me that ‘I am not doing it right’, ‘I’m not experienced or skilled enough’, that ‘I don’t have anything important to say’… Does that sound familiar?? So, I breathe and am kind to myself. I tell myself that it is just paint, I am learning, and that the most important thing for me is to enjoy the process of creating. I have recently re-engaged with art journaling and find this an incredible way to nurture my creative practice.
Where can we find you?
Melanie’s husband’s website as mentioned in our chat: Splashing Eagle
Melanie has created 2 wonderful lessons for the Make Create Express Workshop- here is a peek at one of them:
Presented by Melanie Rivers
A journey—the unknown, adventure and possibilities, a becoming, an un-becoming… In this mixed media lesson, we will explore the idea of a journey and portray this through imagery, color and writing. We will create an expressive female portrait in acrylic paints and I’ll lead you through writing a short poem (3-5 lines) to capture her journey story --real or imagined.