Thursday, October 5, 2017

DPW Spotlight Interview: Melissa Gresham

Each week we will spotlight a different DPW artist who will give away one of their best paintings. To enter to win Melissa's painting, "Rhett" go to Daily Paintworks and click on the link at the top of the page announcing their interview.

From Melissa's DPW Gallery:

It is said that "art is more than a product of your efforts - it should be about feeling, life, attitude, and soul." For me, art is a form of worship to my Savior.

An artist residing in Greenville, SC, Melissa's interest in art began as a child. Recognizing her love for art and her natural ability, she began entering into various art competitions.

From early beginnings of simple drawings to becoming an art teacher, Melissa now has many years of experience in her craft. Developing her own curriculum, she taught art for middle school and high school, along with giving private lessons. She enjoys all mediums and specializes in acrylic and watercolor. (click to read more)

Tell us a bit about how you first started painting.

What began with simple drawings as a child developed into a love for art of all genres.  My appreciation for art and teaching led to a season as an art teacher.  Working with children, young people, and adults not only was gratifying, but confirmed my heart-felt desire for painting.

Did you have any stops and starts in your painting career?

Although I continued painting and drawing throughout my life, there were seasons in my life that my art was put on hold.

Not to say there were not any negative times, but as a whole the pauses were happy, being newly married, becoming a mother and realizing my career as an instructor.  All of these short pauses managed to manifest themselves as beauty marks in my career, and led to what I believe is true heart-felt work and creativity.

Rhett
(click to view)

Enter to win by clicking on the link at the top of the DPW home page announcing Melissa's interview.

What mediums and genres have you experimented with?

With my experience as an art teacher, I have been fortunate to work in most all mediums and genres.

Which ones have "stuck" and which ones have fallen away?

Both acrylic and watercolor have definitely stuck with me.  As far as “fallen away”, I don’t find as much joy with oils and pastels, however, I still dabble in those at times.

The genres that have stuck with me are realism, abstract, impressionism and pop art.

Be Still
(click to view)

Which ones are you looking forward to exploring?

I want to learn even more about acrylic and watercolor.  I definitely want to push the boundaries in both these mediums.  I want to expand my mixed media techniques in both these mediums as well.

Who or what inspires you most?

What a great question! I don’t know if I’m inspired by any one person or one thing, maybe more of a collective of viewings, readings, and interactions I’ve had over the years with various artists.

Denali
(click to view)

What does procrastination look like for you?

There are times, when I’m commissioned to paint a subject that I don’t particularly want to paint because its in a genre or style that I think doesn’t do the subject justice.  These types of paintings often don’t flow like I want them to.  At that point, I find myself doing household chores as a diversion from work that needs to be completed.  Believe me, until I get to it, I feel very unsettled.

What techniques work to ensure that you make time for your art?

I try to make sure I touch my brush to canvas every day if at all possible but everyday life does call.  A huge motivator for me is that I can see my easel in my studio from our great room and it’s like a bug to a light, next thing I know, brush to canvas.

Just the Two of Us
(click to view)

How do you generally arrive at ideas for your paintings?

An old photograph, a scene from a movie, a piece of artwork I spotted on my favorite sitcom, various artists’ works both past and present and I still grab old notes from both commissioned and non-commissioned works and find ideas there.

How do you keep art "fresh?" What techniques have helped you avoid burnout and keep your work vibrant and engaging?

Trying new techniques.  Experimenting with a new brush, palette knife and painting surface as well as a new paint medium to give different impact.

To avoid burnout, I’ve learned that changing mediums and/or subjects often helps.

Tobias
(click to view)

What do you feel you are learning about right now as an artist?

I’m currently learning how to control the anxious feelings that often come with a blank canvas.  I’m also learning how to not confuse or muddy my colors yet I’m realizing muddy colors sometimes work in a painting.

What makes you happiest about your art?

The peace, joy, and freedom I experience is almost too difficult to articulate.  My art is my passion and really when I look back on my life, it always has been.  Being a believer in Jesus Christ, my art is, for me, another form of worship and that’s what makes me happy.

Thanks, Melissa!

© 2017 Sophie Marine

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