Posts in Category: Your Creative Heart

Creative Community

"More Nuanced" 12 x 12 Acrylic on Canvas ©MelyndaVanZee 2015

“More Nuanced” 12 x 12 Acrylic on Canvas ©MelyndaVanZee 2015

Dear Creative Heart,

Many years ago when I was a young mother I sat on the cement floor of my basement with a lone sketchbook I had desperately dug for in the back corner of my closet. As the blank page stared at me, I wept. It had been years since I had drawn anything. I had a college degree in education and art but I had no idea what it was that I “drew”. I hadn’t painted in years (other than projects like stencils on the kitchen wall). Maybe all my creativity was gone…sucked out and dried up by the everyday demands and activities of my life? Maybe my brain would never work that way again? How would I ever figure out what ART it was that I did? Maybe I would never make “real ART” again??? 

I have no idea what I drew on that blank page that day. I may have drawn nothing at all. I do know that I was in a place of painful creative frustration, possibly desperation…I was alone, facing my creative fear, staring at the blank page in utter disbelief that I had let myself dig such a big creative hole in my life and not sure I would ever really be able to emerge from such a place. Over 15 years later, I still remember that moment like it was yesterday.

It is with gratitude that I now look back on that period of my life. I’m so thankful for the many people that showed up in my life and who became encouragers for my creative journey.

My encouragement for you today…you don’t have to do this “creative thing” alone. 

Creativity doesn’t have to work that way. 

It doesn’t have to be that hard. 

Find someone-anyone… my creative friend who can be an encourager. Surround yourself and your creativity with support. While much creative work is done in private, there is so much you can learn about your creativity in community. When you share your work, allow others in a supportive environment to critique your work, find teachers to show you new techniques, or share tips and experiences with other creatives, your own creative work will start to grow and transform. You will find new energy for your work and inspiration to keep returning to the work when things get bleak or challenging. 

Not every experience of creative community is going to go smoothly- when you hang out with other creative people you start to see each others mud and muck- insecurities can surface, pride and jealousy can rear their ugly head, feelings can get hurt, but each of those experiences are teachers. They refine you and do not define you. In my experience the joy far out ways the challenges. You may have to step out of your comfort zone to find your creative community. You may find your creative community locally or you may have to reach out to a broader area depending on your creative specialty. You may gather with your creative tribe in person or connect through the power of social media or technology. 

Dear creative heart- make work of finding your creative matter what your “creative thing” is. If you are reading this and thinking to yourself, “Well, I don’t have a creative thing?”, it is high time you figured out what it is. If your creative thing has been buried away, it is time to resurrect it. I’m a firm believer that everyone and I mean everyone is born creative. It may take on many different forms and we may express it in different ways. It may be covered up with layers of pain and shame, but it is there and one of the best ways to help you discover the fullness of your creative gifts is in community. 

With passion,


I’m thrilled to be able to spend this upcoming weekend with two of my creative communities. 

Artists and Authors on the Square (Dec. 3-5, 2015) during Pella Tour of Homes, 836 Main St. Pella, IA. I will be gathering with one of my creative communities who I love to hang out with and who have known me for a long time.  Join us as we share and celebrate the creative activities of artists and authors in the Pella community. I’ll be sharing a brief presentation at 12:00 pm Saturday sharing tips and techniques for acrylic painting.
And, “Buy Local ” friends!
For more information including time and location,
visit Artists and Authors on the Square.

Paintpushers present “Local Color” (Dec. 2-Dec. 27, 2015) Des Moines Social Club, Des Moines, IA Reception Dec. 4, 2015 5-9 pm. 
Paintpushers is a professional artists critique group who I meet with once a month in Des Moines, IA. Once a year we create a show together. For this show, each artist has created multiple pieces of new work (7-12 pieces of 12 x 12 affordable works) exploring the theme of “Local Color”. Meet the artists in person on Friday night, Dec. 4 from 5-9 pm. For more information , visit Paintpushers on Facebook.

Dear Creative Heart…Creative Courage

Dear Creative Heart,

I’ve been thinking about you so much lately. Thinking about what I could bring to life on canvas that would bring you color, life, hope.

Portal of Transformation #1 2014 © Melynda Van Zee 20 x 20 Acrylic on Canvas

Portal of Transformation #1
2014 © Melynda Van Zee
20 x 20
Acrylic on Canvas

There are many swirls and spirals in my new work…the spiral is the most frequently found shape in nature. For centuries it has symbolized many things…inner growth, integration, transformation. I’ve been painting with intense color palettes…vivid…and bold colors. I’m not going to apologize for its brightness or for its boldness…it has been growing inside of me for a long time.

I creative courage. 2014 © Melynda Van Zee 8 x 8 Acrylic on Canvas

I believe…in creative courage.
2014 © Melynda Van Zee
8 x 8
Acrylic on Canvas

And, there are new paintings with words…text…statements about what I believe. It requires creative courage for me to say it…for me to say it on canvas…in bold colors…in abstract shapes…for me to share it with you.

May the work of my hands be a blessing to your heart.

May you find creative courage to make whatever it is that you long to bring forth in the world.

With Passion,



2014 Upcoming Art Fair Schedule

This week marks the beginning of the spring & summer art show season. I’m excited to be sharing my work at the Molengracht Market during Pella’s Tulip Time. The show will be open this week Wed (12 pm-8 pm), Thurs-Sat. (9 am-8 pm). The Molengracht is a lovely plaza near Pella’s downtown business area with a replica Dutch canal and drawbridge.

  • Molengracht Market, Tulip Time, Pella, IA (April 30, May 1, 2, 3, 2014)
  • Art on the Square, Oskaloosa, IA (June 14, 2014)
  • Linn Creek Festival, Marshalltown, IA (July 19, 2014)
  • More shows will be announced as schedule is confirmed.


A Quiet Spot

Finding a quiet spot to think, refresh, absorb the beauty is so important to nurturing your creative life. I try to capture the opportunity to work outside during the early warm fall days. The colors are so brilliant, so vibrant-oranges, reds, yellows set against crisp blue skies. It is a feast for the eyes. Go out and really look at the fall beauty where ever you live. Don’t miss it.

Authenticity & Creativity

In the last session of Just Imagine we discuss authenticity and how our culture craves the real. It is not easy to do honest and genuine work but people can tell when you do.
Allowing yourself to create from your heart is hard work.
It requires allowing yourself to exercise your creative muscles.
It might get a bit messy.
You might be surprised with what you find.
 But, if you embrace the process
 and you do it again and again,
it might just surprise you what you can create.