Happy New Year!

If you're still following me here on Blogger, please come see me at my new home at www.susanmelrath.com!

Moving Day!

This is my OLD blog...and to get to my OLD website you had to go somewhere else. It was like having an art studio in one place and a gallery and showroom three blocks away....which is fine, but it makes more sense to me to have everything under one roof. So I've moved. My new place is beautiful! There are several galleries exhibiting my work, and my studio is right there too.
This is where you'll find me from now on....welcome!

Lucia Douglas Gallery

Moondance acrylic on canvas 10"x10" each

A selection of my small abstractions are on display at the Lucia Douglas Gallery in Bellingham, WA now through January 4, 2012. Linda Gardner, runs this beautiful art space with the grace of a born host, making every guest feel welcome. Opening night, December 2nd, coincided with Bellingham's first Friday art walk, and the place was hopping. Other artists participating in this small works show include Kim Murton, Jean Bradbury, Alison O'Donoghue, Jennifer Phillips and Emily Peck. 

...at the Lucia Douglas Gallery, Bellingham, WA

My work on display.

Sold! "Seven Inches From the Midday Sun"

Commissioning A Painting

"Sofa" by Holly Farrell

You have a big, empty wall space and you want something special to hang there, but you just haven’t found the perfect fit. Maybe you love a certain artist’s work, but none of her pieces are the right size or color for your decor.
Commissioning a piece of work can be a great solution and can be a thrilling (but intimidating) experience. I have been on both sides of this experience, so I fully understand the concerns of both parties. Here is a basic idea of what to expect from the commissioning process, and how to avoid problems. 
A contract might seem scary, or too formal, or even threatening, but actually it is a great tool for bringing clarity and for remembering specifics. It outlines the project details so that everyone is on the same page. A good contract might cover the following....

  • Description of the project - This would be as specific as possible, including size, color palette, imagery, surface (paper, canvas, board), frame or no frame.
  • Deadline - Smaller pieces may take less time than larger - specific details and timing of the commission request will determine the time required for completion.
  • Pricing - My prices for commissioned work are comparable to my existing works, so by looking at other paintings in a size and medium similar to what you want, you will have an idea of what your commission will cost. 
  • Payment Terms - I require a deposit of 25% on all commissions (up to 50% on highly directed works). You have a grace period up to but not including the date I have booked to begin your commission to cancel and receive a full refund of your down payment.  After this period (once I have started your commission), the down-payment is non-refundable. If requested, sketches can be used to approve specific imagery or color schemes. Additional fees may be charged for revisions made after approval of sketches, and for revisions reflecting a new direction to the project. Final payment is due upon completion and acceptance of the work.
  • Right of Refusal - It is my intent to create artworks for my clients that they will want to purchase! However, if, after the work is completed, the collector does not wish to purchase the work, he/she may refuse. In that case, I will retain the refused artwork, the nonrefundable deposit, and revision fees, free of any claims or interests of the collector and the collector will owe no additional fees. 
As a future member of my collector family, you are going to be as involved as you like in the commissioning process. When possible, I am happy to help choose a size and a color palette, and to send images of the work in progress. In this way, you can be confident that your painting will be a perfect fit.

Kill It or Save It?

Memory of Magnolia ~ acrylic on paper ~ 20"x26"

Not quite there yet

I love all the stages of creating a new painting. I often start by laying down random color and shapes and just getting lost in the process. In those early stages, anything goes - I more or less feel my way around. There comes a point, however, when choices must be made and I can feel my brain switching over to "edit" mode....and then back again. Then sometimes I'm just stumped. 

This painting kicked around my studio for a year looking like a total failure. That's harsh - let's just say it was "unresolved." The funny thing was that I liked it at first, then - the more I looked at it the less I liked it. I stuffed it away in my flat file because it was annoying me. Mocking me, actually. 

Then one day - it was back on my painting board and I was determined to kill it or save it. Where to start? Sometimes it's just a step at a time. First step - get rid of just one thing you don't like. Slowly, everything starts to change, you respond to the changes, and now you're back in the saddle. So, today I like the piece. Who knows how I'll feel tomorrow.

zoom zoom

"Story of the Sun" acrylic on cradled board 6x6 each

I've posted about these paintings before, but want to share a little more about their inspiration. 
Some of my paintings get pretty busy with patterning and layers. I was craving the serene, simplicity of uncluttered space and shapes, so I zoomed in on "Wandering" and found many restful compositions hiding in the tangle of line and color. It's funny how different things look, 
depending on how close we are. 
Ahhh - art as a metaphor for life - I love that.  

Here is "Wandering"

and the close ups....
can you find these in the larger piece?

work in progress...

and the finished set of panels....
"Story of the Moon" acrylic on cradled board 5x7 each

flora and fauna

"Indigo Garden" acrylic on canvas  36"x48" Susan Melrath © 2010

The Eastside Association of Fine Art's "Flora And Fauna" exhibition has opened at their Seattle Design Center Gallery. The gallery is a beautiful space and I anticipate this to be an inspired show. The exhibition runs from June 28 - August 26. It is free and open to the public Monday through Friday, 9 to 5. "Indigo Garden'" above, was juried in and our artists' reception will be July 14th - from 4 to 7 pm. 
The address is 
Seattle Design Center
5701 6th Ave. South Suite #A239


One week: no news, no internet, no social network or texting. “Unplug yourself!” was the request and challenge of ArtsWest Gallery Director Nichole DeMent and co-curator Michele Osgood of Bherd Studios. Participating artists had to unplug from TV, Internet, and text messaging for 1 full week. 
Unplugging for me meant....not visiting my mom on Skype, not seeing my far away friends on Facebook, not curling up on the sofa with my family to watch an evening show together. I didn’t make it through the week! I missed all of it. 
In the artwork I created, that absence was expressed through an absence of color and organic shape. “Flower, Unplugged” is a gray tone, pixelated version of a colorful floral painting called “Twelve Bar Blues.” Here's the original, and the unplugged version...

The original "Twelve Bar Blues" acrylic on canvas; 24"x36" © 2011

"Flower Unplugged" acrylic on panel; 20"x30" ©2011


I also felt compelled to express my reaction in materials other than paint. Pulling a plug out of it’s socket, I saw the sad little faces on the outlet plate. Okay, so I was projecting a little. In Photoshop, I played with the image until it was just right...

"Unhappy Unplugged" inkjet print; © 2011

Taking a look at the electrical plug, I wondered how it might be used to express my feelings towards the unplugged experience. My solution...

"Permanently Unplugged" electrical cord

Reviewed by Michael Upchurch of the Seattle Times

The Unplugged Challenge shows the various interpretations from the artists’ experiences and unveils intriguing insights on the plight of technology dependency. The result of this isolation experiment can be seen in the Unplugged Challenge in ArtsWest’s gallery from 
June 28 – July 24, 2011.

ArtsWest gallery presents
the unplugged challenge
th – july 24th     
aRTISTS’ RECEPTION on tHURSDAY, July 14TH, 6-7:30pm 

what's blooming

"I Made This for You" ~ acrylic on canvas ~ 36"x48"

My garden is bursting with color and texture....what an inspiration. And here is what's blooming in the studio. I've captured this piece in photos as it developed (below), for your amusement! The flower shape comes from a sketch my son made for me when he was around five years old.

Issaquah ArtWalk: Save the Date!

      Save the date for a unique experience at Issaquah's ArtWalk on Friday, September 2nd, 5-8 pm! 

Hint: you'll see a lot of this....