Junes artist in a window is Mel Graham, her colourful paintings have really injected some summer joy find out what lies behind her work below in her interview:
Who are you and what do you do?
I’m Mel Graham. I paint in oils and acrylics. I paint seascapes, landscapes or semi-abstracts, with lots of colour, movement and emotion.
Why do you do what you do?
Now there’s a question… I paint because it is an outlet for emotion for me. I have depression, I am pretty poor at expressing my feelings, so I paint how I feel, I paint the places I dream of, and just see what happens to the empty canvas after a blast from the brushes.
How do I work?
I work from the heart. If I think about what I am going to paint, or I try and copy a photo, I lose the flow. I simply have to empty my mind of everything, dig deep inside and see what happens… People find it hard to believe I just paint whatever comes off the brushes, but that’s the way it is for me.
What’s your background?
I studied Geography up to Masters level, so have a real feel for and understanding of the world, and have traveled extensively watching the sun set over many isles. I have written three children’s walking guides for both Countryside Books (Kiddiwalks series), and Sigma Leisure. Working for others isn't my strong point but I have done it (!) in the pharmaceutical industry for several years, don’t even ask me to explain how I ended up there…. Needless to say, I prefer to work for myself, and am currently an artist and mum, amongst other multi-tasking ventures.
What inspires me?
Colour, the forces of nature, the sky, the sea.
Is the artistic life lonely? What do you do to counteract it?
It’s important for me to spend time alone, to just stop a moment, and step back from the hubbub of life. Art is time well spent for me, so no, it’s not lonely. How can I be lonely with me for company?! I don’t talk to myself, yet… I listen to music, or the howling wind, the rain, or the birds for company. Time out is a great thing!
What do you dislike about the art world?
Pretense. Competition. Politics. Art is so subjective. Artists do what they do because they love it… From my limited understanding of the Art world, I feel that when pretense, competition and politics get involved, it seems to me that art has lost its way. I step away from competitive stuff because that isn't what it’s about for me. My only competition is me and my hope to heal through art.
What do I like about my work?
Most importantly, I like that I have shown my children that whatever they love in life they can do as a job, if they so choose. Secondly, I love giving my art away for charitable causes or gifts. Then there’s the people, I really appreciate the really happy bunch of artisans I have met in the art world, from well-known to lesser known, they are all very generous with advice, time and support. Finally, it’s the art itself, the connection people may get when they see my work is amazing and I don’t think I will ever tire of the “oooos” and “wows”! That makes it worthwhile, and really enjoyable making someone’s day because they have bought an original or a print that they love.
Favourite or most inspirational place
Outdoors, anywhere and everywhere there is always something inspiring to draw ideas from.
What’s the best piece of advice you've been given.
There were two actually. First was never to compare my work to anyone else’s, have your own style (which I hope I've found). Second was to get my work out the door and into the galleries, that way I can develop as an artist. I refer to these two golden nuggets more than once a day!
Thank you Mel find out more here: http://www.artbymelgraham.com/