Monday, December 6, 2010

Swirly Girly

Last months painting was a real challenge for me.  It is the most abstract I've tried yet!  Wild.  This is my daughters dear belly button!  I'm very sorry but due to a technical problem with blogger I'm unable to upload my photo!  Please make one more click to reach my facebook page : Facebook (1) | Melissa Mead Fine Art

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Push here for Peace

Melissa Mead, "Peace Button", 36 x 30 inches, Oil on Canvas
This is the third painting in my Abstract Series on the Belly Button.  I have had a most interesting time learning to paint loose and impressionistic.  This series has a story behind it as it's been brewing with-in me for several years now, (you can see a portion of the story here: ).  I loved painting this button.  It was tremendously challenging for many reasons and vastly rewarding at the completion!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Cool Blue Center

Cool Blue Center 30X36inches Oil on Canvas Box
This is the second of my current series.  It was such a joy to paint these wonderful cool colours together. 

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Kael Abstract (36 inches sq Oil on canvas)
This is one of my newest paintings.  I loved this entire painting and the most exciting thing was how it came out just as I imagined it!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Middleplaas Farm
This is my second landscape ever.  We were camping at this site earlier in the year.  I loved the way the fence danced in the dappled sunlight and the sharp light of the sun in the distance.

I am really battling with the technicality of posting my photos.  The camera keeps "bending" the painting and I find I must crop some sides out to keep out non-painting information.  There are many other challenges like glare, keeping the colours true etc.  If you have any suggestions please drop a line!  I've got one book on Digital Photography and I'm going to get another about photoshop or similar.  So I hope my posting quality will improve!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Kenyan Boy at Nap Time

I have finished the Nap Time in Kenya

I LOVED and HATED this painting!  And now...I am very happy.  I really love the wickedly crooked bench and the stone floor.  I have softened the stones more since this photo! -But I promise not to touch him again.  I love the shine of light on his face.  It was so fun to play with some parts tight and some looose!

Friday, September 24, 2010


For those of you waiting and waiting and ...still you wait for something new here.  I want to let you know that I'm working on finishing paintings long awaiting a signature and I'm also revving up for my first exhibition.  I was hoping to manage it by Christmas and this will continue to remain my goal however due to family constraints it may only be in March of 2011.

I will post the other paintings when they are signed.  The self portrait is scrapped.  I'm deciding to burn it or turn it into something...a box?  Funny...I'm always trying to get out of the box.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010


This is my self portrait in progress - STILL.  I'm currently under debate to put it on canvass (yes...start over).  I actually like the high colour of my most recent paint over...I just thinking.

Please excuse the furry edges!  this is also an in progress from yonkes ago.  I love it, I hate it.  Those white bits are me with a plan to glaze so I have a red cloth and not so orange with highlights.  This is more likely to get finished by the end of the month.  If I'm not too distracted by .....

This is my current challenge.  A boy from Africa - I'm working to get his face oh so real and then have all else rough.  My dear husband as already organized a showing of this picture at a local restaurant that assist local Town Ship school children in paying school fees and providing uniforms and sports and school supplies.  The place is imibala. They also provide "art training" for the children and have a Gallery across from the restaurant to showcase art works.

Okay...I know you think I'm nuts but I have uploaded this photo properly and for some reason Blogger has turned it sideways.  I've reloaded it etc etc and it always comes this way.  So...I've put it up because I'm very happy with the top and middle 30second sketches.  I'm impressed at how far I've come -just about a week ago I was making lines attached to I have form.  Thank you .  A very useful site for someone like me.  I literally have only a few odd minutes here and there to practice figure poses and I would cheat horribly if allowed.  This site has a preset space that automatically changes the pose every 30sec (or what you've chosen to be your time frame).  I could go on and on about this site but it will suite the folks it suites.

So this is where I sit with my art instructor on holiday, sports for the children starts tomorrow, my husband away for a few more days...  And I'm still painting!!!  Yipee!  I've got two other projects in the works - both with children.  You can see those when they are in the painting stages!!!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Progress 2010

This painting is of a friend of mine.  Sitting in animated conversation with my husband over that most interesting of subjects LIFE, LOVE and HAPPINESS.  The paper in her lap is a dialog about the road to finding these things.   It is unfortunate that there was a glare in the photo.  The blues are bluer and the whites...not SO overpowering.  Her toes...are fabulous.  I struggled like crazy to get my initial lines laid down but then it was such fun to paint.  I really didn't want to put the chair in ...but in the end..that was lots of fun too!  It was wonderful to paint so loose.  It was like magic to see what a stroke could do!  I'm not certain I'm finished with it.  (I thought I was...but then a better background inspiration reared it's idea at me....)

Oh...this little love boy! He is hunting for crabs in the rocks at the beach.  The painting literally fell out of my brush - with a few challenges of course!  However the rocks painted themselves, and the skin tones!  Well I just played and it seemed to work a beauty.  When I was painting it my children thought I was mad.  I painted the whole figure a shade of green so he looked like an avocado.  The photo again is not true to colours - sad but there you are.  There's a greener tinge to the figure and many finely shaded areas all through the painting.  I'm not certain how to correct my photo's to make them more true.

My next two paintings are figures also.  One mine and one the African boy from a previous post.  The ideas are bursting forth and I am unable to keep up with them at present!  Many happy ideas to you!

NOTE:  The original title of this post was Current Paintings - Not the best idea I've had.  It shows not more clearly what it is I hope.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Measles and Weasels

Well, I've completed a picture of a crab catcher...and I will share it.  Just as soon as I have breathing space.  My eldest is in bed with Measles - he's all red and spotty and miserable.  My youngest has started with a raging fever now too.  The two middle children are still  roaringly healthy but giving their best to help everyone get better.  We had to cancel the birthday party till further notice.

So...keep checking.  There will be a new update soonish.

Friday, May 14, 2010

What is a Cape Winter like?

These pics are a view of a break in the hectic rains!  The sunshine is deceptive as the sky is usually sitting on top of your head so grey and pregnant with rain there seems to be a perpetual dusk.  The howling wind drives the wind so ferociously I have often been left wondering how the roofs remain on top of the houses season after season.

The picture directly above is of our swimming pool.  It's a swampy green colour with a eucalyptus scent due to the storm winds blowing  loads of Blue Gum tree leaves and stems and branches into the pool.  There is also water that seeps down from somewhere up the hill through the bricks and into the pool, (There's a huge puddle across the length of the bricks and all the green you see in the picture is soggy.  The brick bit to the right side is our braai area (Bar-b-que area!).  The smoke in the middle of the picture at the back?  Wait... remember we live in a third world country?  Well...that is smoke from a shack.  There is an informal settlement outside our fence/gate.  There are possibly 30 shacks in that area.  Hm...I should take pics of that too for you?  It's really beautiful actually.

Here is a picture looking down into the garden dam.  The wind as I said before is WICKED here.  So the previous residents put a raised garden into this unused dam.  It's about 16m (about 48 feet?) diameter. The picture actually isn't fabulous as the sun is over exposing the picture!

This is from the other side of the garden.  I was standing on the wall (it's only about 6-7 feet high) but I'm scared of heights so I clicked quick!  That is all standing water from the rains in the cross walk.  The pole against the brick pillar is for my sons to climb up and then they perch at the top.  Clearly they are not worried about heights.  All the green in the upper right is my "green manure" crop.  Mustard, alfalfa, and buckwheat - I feed our chickens the mustard greens!  The blue door is propped there for the moment as the winds have blown it off it's hinges. irrigation except a hose and sprinkler.  I know.

I just love this Zebra striped Land Rover!  It's our neighbors - they say it belongs to a friend.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Updates of work in Progress

Well we finally had some sun (for one day) after a week of rain.  We have another week of rain expected but that would be a proper "Cape" winter forcast.  Cold rainy glum.

Below is an "update" on my pencil drawing of the young Kenyan boy.  He might make it to canvas by the end of this month or early next??

This is the "landscape" in a new twist of life...I prefer this to the green on green and brown.  I believe it still needs a bit more refining but overall it's better.

This little guy you have seen before.  This is my preliminary canvas sketch.  With any freaky luck I will get to lay-in a bit of colour before my next art class!  I say this because my hubby will fly away Saturday morning to India then off to Germany only to return home 7 days later.  Time to paint will be fabulously miraculous with four children - however I like to expect miracles!

So now...Martha Miller asked me what it's like here in Winter.  I will try to get some pics up this weekend.  It's hard to take photo's when it's raining!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Life on this little Planet

This is a small part of a huge limestone (?) rock at the edge of what is called the Palmiet River  (pronounced Paul-meet).  You can swim from a bridge higher up the river down nearly to the mouth of the river (where it opens onto the ocean ("strictly speaking...the Atlantic").  The swim if taken seriously is about 20-30minutes.  This river is the place we visit when the wind is too bad at the beach.

This little scene belies it's height.  if you look at the left side of the picture...there is a dark blue band...that's the ocean.  That funny bit is houses and roads!  We were at the top of Jeans Hill  (It's a 20minute zig-zag hike up the mountain!)

Kogelberg Biosphere Reserve - Cape Nature, Western Cape, South Africa
Common rock formations of these mountains that I believe are part of the vast and celebrated Kogelberg Bioshpere.  

Some pretty little things on the path up to Jean's Hill.

This was our playground for over a year before our move to the farm.  This is overlooking the lagoon at Pringle Bay.  A beautiful place if you don't mind the baboons and have no desire to garden!

This is our back garden now.  That's my fabulous husband getting ready to launch our 5 year old son through the air into the far end of the pool.  (It's about 15meters).  Yes...those are horses in the paddock.  They are not ours but they graze our three hectares that would go down all the way to the tree above my hubby's head.

Susan Beauchemin and Martha Miller, two artist I admire, are sisters.  On their blogs they like to share their different Planets.  Susan asked me recently what mine looked like.  So here is a little beginning.

Now please you must do yourself a favor and go explore Susan and Martha's links!
Painting Daily  and Martha Miller: May 2010 (please excuse my links...I'm really not so techie inclined!) 

Yes I have been drawing and painting a little.  Mostly carting children to sports and caring for winter colds and sniffles.  I am to start my new art class tomorrow.  At present I haven't taken day light hours to photograph my work.  I did try some last night but they came out yellow!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

More in Progress

This is my latest "I wanna paint this" idea.  This little boy needs a heck of a lot more work.  The picture shows eyes of general wonder and curiosity.  My rendition is not exactly capturing that..nor is it capturing the boys youth.  SO...more work!  On the other hand...I have been working on a few other sketches to "strengthen" my skills.  It's working GREAT.

My eye is getting much better with the nemisis steroids but I did try lots of other things before I went there so at least I might be able to see normally again in 6weeks!

Monday, March 22, 2010

No pictures...Please!

I've lost a bit of time this week due to an eye infection. I've been struggling with an eye issue for the past year but this was worse. So I made an urgent run to the eye doctor last Wednesday and I'm taking conventional treatment (I've tried homeopathic/natural remedies for all this time but the infection was just the ripper for me!) and go for a follow up on Wednesday. Hold thumbs. I will go to class Tuesday as usual if I feel I can drive safely and see properly. Since Wednesday it's not been possible.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

More progress

Well this is the progress thus far for the landscape. I was initially very uninspired to continue it to it's conclusion. I rather wanted to start another figure painting full of blues and greys and dark purple skin tones...Oh...I can't wait.'s always good to finish what you start and I had fun of course pushing through the empty spaces and throwing caution to the wind. Seems it helped pull this painting through to a point where it may be finished next session.

Very interesting side note. An older woman in my class with beautiful sparkly eyes is doing a self portrait. Her initial sketch is stunning. It shows her in such a beautiful way...really highlighting her positives. I'm inspired...I'm going to finish my pencil self portrait...and maybe even pull out the initial one for completion!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Second Attempt

This is a second attempt at my son's face from a previous picture. My art instructor was very kind and said I must frame it however I'm still not satisfied that it looks like my 6 year old son. I'm not being a perfectionist but it bears little resemblance to my son. There a quite a few "quirky" places. I'm very happy with the over shape of the sketch and I'm going to try it again and again till I am happy. I'm also going to try other faces. This is the toughest part for me. I am really keen to be able to do figures and forms. I also realize that it is as tough as getting correct perspective with technical drawings. If everything isn't just so...

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Progress point

Here is the landscape picture... It's funny because. I started with the trees - very tight brush strokes and marks of leaves etc. (It is a cell phone picture but at least you have something to look at!) Then today (this is from the end of session two), I was filling in the sky part...very baby blue...WAY WAY WAY to blue. I knew. Then I worked it down with white of course. Now I fooled about sooo much that in the end I had lots of paint and wanted to use it up. So...out comes the big brush and swirly girly zoom I painted the forground colour in and I played with the trees a bit. I told my teacher the painting is finished. She didn't believe me. You can see why -I'm sure. There is actually quite a lot of work left....the posts, much more tree - don't you love the green fluffy clouds? and the best bit...the barbed wire and high lights!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Amazing! have to giggle...nothing from me for long stretches and then WOW... what's this? Okay so this is my youngest sone searching among the rocks for crabs. I think my next painting attempt will be this one. It's going to be a trick for me to make it bigger than 9"x11" but I will give it a go. Then I've set it in my mind that this lends itself to an impressionistic style...although I love contemporary realism (what ever that exactly means?). So let's see what happens and WHEN!

I'm working on a landscape painting...about A3 sizeish. It's very funny...I will post a cell phone picture of it tomorrow or Thursday. Life is busy and I squeeze all the time I can out of little moments for my artistic passions. Sometimes fatigue wins...sometimes Passion!

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Figure drawing?

This was my subject today. My son doing one of the things he does best...climbing. I would also love to paint this picture as the expression of focus on his face combined with the soft glowing grasses behind him (which I excluded for reasons of simplicity) is stunning to me. I didn't manage to capture his face or much else very well. I think I tried to keep it too small (5"x7") and between my pencils, my eraser and my skill level I really struggled. But I kept at it and I will be proud to have my art instructor critique it on Tuesday.

That brings me to a QUICK point. I've been noticing people say they are self-taught. I even tried it (note blurb under my name above) but in reality we need assitance and guidance and critique from a mentor/teacher etc. So this is a note of thanks to all my teachers. Thank you for you patience and wisdom. (not that many will see this...the last two didn't even own a computer.)

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Sketches of Tanya

The first sketch is charcoal and it's on about 80cm square newsprint. I worked on it for ...about 2.5 hours. The second sketch was the first one and I might have worked about an hour on my 9" by 11" sketch book. For some reason the sketch book version got really big. I'm happy with most all of it except that I couldn't fit the whole picture in. I am working on proportions and the drawing what I see lessons. I must see things really weird. I like to magnify my favorite portions and minimize or leave out those bits I'm not drawn too...(funny pun hey?). I'd really like to capture her face however my first, second and third attempts left me with the distinct understanding that I need some assitance from an expert. I'm hoping to continue on this until it's conclusion. I'd love to make a painting of this as I adore the feeling of the pose.

My learning experience has revealed GRAND figure drawing subjects abounding all around me. I've got four children who are in constant motion and since it's summer are usually au natural. Also my friend (sketched above...), her family and my husband all give fabulous body shapes and sizes. They practice sports, dance and martial arts...ahhh! I wish I could draw and paint and mature faster!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Hang on to your Hat!

WOW...big shifts, big shifts. Above is a charcoal sketch of my feet and an apple. I know - I'm learning. This is my artist childhood remember? I was really disgusted by this actually so I put it up above my fireplace (not to burn's Summer here in the Southern Hemisphere) but to put it someplace I had to look at it. Something to encourage me to practice because at least it LOOKS like feet. So then I tried sketching from a black and white photo in a book on massage the first sketch. I haven't finished it as I also got disgusted with it. I worked on it for maybe two hours.

Okay...why am I going on? (besides because I do...) I've been having a major breakdown about this story about becoming an artist. I tried to share it with my art teacher (but she changed the subject and from that I took that I need to just get on with it!), then I tried another 3 people...they also blipped I really took it to heart to just get on with it. And then again I was still really stripped because when I was looking for inspiration over the weekend what I found was a blog from a woman who was doing exactly what I'm doing...baking or knitting or otherwise avoiding getting on with it!

Tonight...I've started getting on with it. I'm so excited. I will share in drips so as not to bore or overwhelm. So the blog I found tonight is from an American University where the students post works in progress etc. SO absolutely all I needed!

I have more sketches but...I can't find them! hahaha. I will hunt them down the weekend and also dig in for more!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Kodak Camera

I must let you know that some things never change. My Kodak digital camera that was replaced last year with a new version... is now also giving me trouble. new posts at present. I will be taking it to the shop tomorrow and I'm hoping it's something simple.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Out of the chrysalis

I'm back into a new art class and this instructor has previous "technical" teaching experience. She's assisted me in unblocking my drawing fear and now I am drawing every chance I get! These are two of my most recent that I'm very happy with. I've got a few more but this is the time I've got now!

More later. Thank you for visiting...there should be more movement from here forward. Big things coming and changing and moving on all fronts. Stay posted for updates!