Inner Freedom

All the Things Located 48×46 Acrylic on Canvas ©Melynda Van Zee

You are invited to Inner Freedom, acrylic paintings on canvas by Melynda Van Zee, opening Tuesday, October 5, 2021, and continuing until November 25, 2021, at the Ankeny Art Center in Ankeny, IA.

Melynda shares “In our contemporary culture, we tend to focus on finding freedom and change from outside of us as we grapple with living during times of massive change and transitions. My new body of work uses color, line, texture, and movement to explore more interior movements and shifts that encourage the growth of courage and agency to face our future challenges.”

Mindset Hues #1 48×72 Acrylic on Canvas ©Melynda Van Zee

The Opening Reception for “Inner Freedom” will be held on Thursday, October 7, 2021, from 5-7 pm at the Ankeny Art Center. Come and enjoy the new paintings, drinks, and appetizers. You can chat with me and ask questions about the work. The event is free and open to the public.

Desires Reimagined 60×30 Acrylic on Canvas ©Melynda Van Zee

Inner Freedom, acrylic paintings on canvas, opens Tuesday, October 5, 2021, and runs through November 25, 2021, at the Ankeny Art Center at 1520 SW Ordnance Rd, Ankeny, IA, 50023. The exhibition is free and open to the public, T-F 9:00 am-1:00 pm, Thurs. 4:00-7:00 pm, Sat. 9:00 am-12:00 pm.

Painting Studios Update

One of the gifts of the past year was more time in my schedule. I used some of this “extra and unexpected” time to work on a long-anticipated passion project of mine-enhancing my creative spaces.

I now have three distinct workspaces in my home designed for the variety of creative practices I do. I’d like to share with you one of my updated spaces-the painting studios. 

This is where my paintings are created. This space is all about the execution and creation of the paintings. It contains three large tables, painting supplies, work-in-progress storage, and storage of completed works. It has space for displaying finished work, a large painting wall, and room for packing work to be shipped. 

Freshly painted walls and my painting wall full of new work!

Make a PLAN

As I was planning this project, I realized that previously my studio was quite organized with all my “Art” related supplies in mostly one area. However, now I intentionally wanted to section out specific areas with specific tools for specific projects. Rather than one large general zone of “studio art supplies”, I wanted to divide the area into work zones, where I would have all the supplies I needed for whatever specific creative practice was at hand. 

My creative spaces needed deep sorting, purging, and updating for the work I was doing now.  I also was intentional about checking to see if I needed “infrastructure” to make working in the different zones comfortable. I asked myself “What were my lighting, seating, and storage needs in this space?” Then, I made lists and repurposed or purchased the needed items.

Ask for Help

With a project this big, needing skills I don’t have, I knew I was going to need help. One of the best parts of this project is that I got to work with my husband and sons to complete the bigger construction projects. We got to solve problems together, learn new skills and use new tools. Collaborating made this project something memorable.

Do the THING!

I had been envisioning, making lists, and dreaming about updating this space for a long time, and had even started bits and pieces of the project. But, there comes the point when it is time for the ACTION needed to bring a big project to completion.

This process involved long hours of painting (rolling and trimming with primer and two coats of paint on rough foundation walls), researching (how to paint metal support poles???), multiple trips to the paint store and hardware store, moving heavy furniture, and lots of painting drop cloths everywhere.  In addition, I was purging, organizing, deep cleaning, and rearranging all the things!

It wasn’t done in one day, it took months. It wasn’t all “exciting” work- more like sweat, long hours on a ladder, and lots of physical labor.

Using the Painting Studios

Using the Painting Studios

I’ve found this updated and reclaimed space has grounded my creative practices, even more, creating a container that holds my creative practice solidly and beautifully. This container of space helps me to retain my creative rhythms and helps me move more smoothly throughout the variety of creative practices I do.

I encourage you to take a hard and long look at the spaces you use for your creative practices. Who knows what you might see and how you might be inspired to try something new???

Solo Show Inner Freedom Opening Soon!

If you’d like the opportunity to see the new artwork that this updated studio space helped to birth, my new solo show, Inner Freedom, will be opening at the Ankeny Art Center on Tuesday, October 5, 2021. The show is free and open to the public from Oct 5-Nov. 24, 2021.

We’d love to have you join us at the Opening Reception on Thursday, October 7, 2021, from 5:00-7:00 pm. There will be snacks and drinks and I’ll be there to chat and answer your questions about the show. Stop by and enjoy!

It’s Launching Time!

As we launch into the fall months, I’m filled with anticipation and energy.

A few sneak peeks of what is to come…

Huge new work in process!

1. I’ve been hard at work in the studio creating so much new work for shows this fall. 

2. I’ve added a few shows to my schedule, including the Iowa Arts Festival in Iowa City, IA this weekend August 13-15, 2021.

3. We are also heading for Port Clinton Art Festival in Chicago, IL, and Peoria Arts Festival in Peoria, IL!

So much color mixing and exploring new color palettes going on in the studio!

You may also wish to mark your calendars now for my solo show called “Inner Freedom” which will be opening at the Ankeny Art Center on Tuesday, October 5, 2021. We’d love to have you join us at the Opening Reception on Thursday, October 7, 2021 from 5:00-7:00 pm. The show is free and open to the public from Oct 5-Nov. 24, 2021. 

Coterie: Cultivating Deep & Authentic Relationships

One of my newest works is titled Coterie and tells a story of relationships with color, line, and movement. I showed this piece for the first time publicly last weekend at Artfest Midwest in Des Moines, IA.

“Coterie” 60×48 Acrylic on Canvas ©Melynda Van Zee 2021

The relationships that were on my mind and in my heart as I created this piece are made up of people who have walked with me for decades. They have seen me through all the stages of life, the good, the bad, the ugly, the beautiful. These relationships are not perfect, but they have been forged over years, hundreds of conversations, and time spent together traversing our authentic, real lives.

I heard someone say recently that every painting is a self-portrait, an authentic reflection of the artist at this particular point in time. Others say a painting is a mirror to our soul. Of course, one painting can’t capture the depth, intimacy, or complexity of our human relationships, but it can speak towards deep community experiences. It can reflect the vibrant energy of the connections. It can inspire us to spend time and resources cultivating authentic relationships.

Coterie on exhibit at ArtFest Midwest in Des Moines, IA June 2021

This painting came to me in glimpses over about a year and a half time period. From the initial pencil line sketch, to pouring out the lines and finally the multiple layers of translucent acrylic paintings. 

I hope it inspires you on your journey to cultivate deep and authentic relationships.