You’ve heard the adage, “It’s never too late to follow your dream.” Melanie Morris, an accomplished acrylic artist from Alabama, is living proof of that statement.
Melanie graduated from college with a Master’s Degree in Communications and spent years working in the pharmaceutical advertising industry. After encouragement from her husband, Melanie decided to take an oil painting class, immediately fell in love with the medium and set off in pursuit of a new career in art.
As with many things in life, we make plans but sometimes a curve ball is thrown our way. Upon taking up oil painting, Melanie discovered the paint agitated an asthma condition she wasn’t aware she had. Heartbroken but determined to continue creating art, Melanie switched to acrylics. Initially she found acrylic paint to be too thin but after a wise teacher advised her to add gel medium to make it behave more like oil, she went full steam ahead!
Melanie’s favorite subjects to paint are landscapes or floral arrangements. She takes pride in hand selecting flowers from local farmer’s markets in the summer (or Trader Joe’s in the winter). “My painting really starts when I’m arranging the flowers back at my studio. I’m thinking about how to move the viewer through the painting with color or shapes then I select a background color. I keep all sorts of colored paper to use as backdrops for my still lifes. I experiment with the colors and the arrangement of the flowers and then I add a strong spotlight. I set a timer for 45 minutes and paint a 6” x 6” panel to work out my composition and color palette. Even though I time my small paintings to keep them fresh, I really get lost in the painting. After I finish the small panel, I paint the arrangement again but this time on a larger panel. I prefer to paint on gallery wrapped panels and love the architectural look.” Melanie says her favorite flowers to paint are zinnias and ranunculus.
When asked what her greatest accomplishment has been as an artist, Melanie said, “There are several things I’m happy about such as being commissioned by Hilton Hotels last summer to complete my biggest painting to date, being featured in Cottage Living several years ago and having an online shop. However, I’d have to say that I consider my greatest accomplishment to be that I make a living as an artist. At one time that seemed like an unrealistic goal.”
For the past 5 years, Melanie has been using Silver Brush Limited’s Bristlon® series of brushes for her artwork. “I love the Bristlon® bright shape brushes. I used to be a palette knife painter so I like a stiff brush. Bristlon® offered me the stiffness I like without being so stiff that the brush lifts paint off of my panel. I am also confident that the brushes won’t shed in my painting and they hold their shape well.”
If you’d like to see Melanie’s work on display, you can visit Bennett Galleries in Nashville, The Grand Bohemian Gallery in Birmingham in her studio in Homewood, Alabama or online at www.melaniemorrisart.com