Our Guest Speaker for the KAS October Meeting was Melissa Read-Devine .
Melissa presented on painting and print making.
Melissa started the evening with a slideshow of her vivid impressionistic works of Australian landscape, flora and fauna and her quirky wood engravings and linocuts. By far the majority of her inspiration comes from her own backyard which is in rural Sydney overlooking the Hawkesbury River. It is full of her favourite subjects trees, rocks and birds…the more the better she says!
Occasionally she works in oils, but mostly Melissa paints in Acrylics, working on several paintings at a time. Sometimes she does a few black and white miniatures just to stop and cleanse her brain from her big colourful works.
Melissa then gave us a demonstration of how she brings her vibrant creations to life. Starting with her palette, which has a warm and cool of each colour, red, blue and yellow, and one complimentary colour, either purple, green or orange. Tonight she chose purple. She never uses black but creates her own dark by mixing all darkest colours on her palette together. Her works are slowly built up using many layers of paint, starting with a wash of transparent red. She loves starting paintings because she doesn’t have to be precious, she just splashes paint around and has fun.
Next she uses the darkest tone and blocks in areas then adds some warm tones and sprays the whole work with water and lets the paint mix itself, creating happy accidents with the drips adding vertical elements. When this is dry she paints the negative spaces around the trees with a large rubber wedge, softening the chunky bits of paint with a brush. Then she blocked in the trees and foliage with a brush. Melissa uses square brushes in various sizes to get the pixilated effect, which is the signature style of her work. Then, it’s back to the wedge for the large rock area. There was still many more layers to go, but we could now see the landscape emerging from the plethora of stunning colours.
Melissa concluded by encouraging all who want to be a Public artist to have an Internet presence. Using Social Media such as Facebook and Instagram for promotion can help and also having a website is very important these days.
Thank you Melissa for a fabulous evening which was awash with colour!