Mel O. is a San Francisco Bay Area artist pursuing her passion for painting along with a full-time career as an optician. Although she studied fashion at the California College of Arts in Oakland, Ca., painting is now the focus of her artistic energy and expression. She is a self-taught painter, drawing on her inner thoughts for inspiration rather than from a classroom education. Since 2001 Mel O. has created, displayed and sold her work.
About My Work
People often ask artists how they start to work, and I am no exception. It’s a difficult process to describe, but I often answer by saying I begin “by surprise attack to the canvas.” The source of my inspiration comes from deep within, from instinct, and whichever random color or shape that I place first on the canvas paves the way eventually to a completed work – and a new lesson in painting. I let go of inhibitions and expectations, and allow a visual communication to take place by exploring the paint and its possibilities as I work. I rarely have any specific intent before the process begins.
This is above and beyond my technical understanding of colors and basic aesthetics, which are in play as well. But I define my painting as an almost instant release of my inner thoughts, my subconscious even. Each piece gives me instruction as the work evolves, and I usually create a painting in its entirety during one session. A definite beginning and end to a single work happens usually within a single day.
I also work in series of paintings; my most recent plays on textures and shapes. The texture is created by a foundation of molding paste, followed by a scraping-on of paint, layer after layer. The texture evokes a striking amount of movement and depth.
I also have a passion for color, balance, energy, and contrast. I apply colors like a home cook makes a familiar recipe, with some improvising on the basic theme of complementary hues to add an interesting flavor to the whole. Sometimes I incorporate text, such as pieces of newspapers and magazines, and objects, like fabric, matchbooks, and tea bags for more texture and depth.
While my fashion education in art college and my work experience as an optician are relevant to my painting, I believe that my simple, self-taught approach to my art, with its emphasis on my innermost thoughts and feelings, remains the true source of my creativity.