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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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???
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!
During this time of new realities we are living in, one healthy way I have found to process the changes in our culture and find my way back to my creative work is by taking frequent walks in nature.
This spring and summer I have made repeated walks around and around the circular path of my neighborhood park planted with a wide variety of interesting trees and a small natural prairie area.
One Saturday night this spring at the end of a challenging week, I stopped mid-walk around the park as I spied one of the wood benches. I didn’t sit on the bench, I laid down on my back sprawled across the bench-feet dangling over the arm. This is not normal behavior for me. But, I’d had it. I was overwhelmed. I closed my eyes, listened to the wind, and took a moment to just be.
Eventually, I opened my eyes and looked up. There was a tree reaching its branches out over me. I thought “Those leaves are beautiful dancing in the wind. Are those leaves aspen leaves? Do we even have aspen trees in Iowa? I know they are prevalent across the mountains in Colorado, but here in Iowa?”
And, that train of thought led to words, and then more thoughts led to more words, leading to this poem.
Maybe the birds always sing at this vibrant level in the spring
Maybe the crabapple blossoms always smell this sweet
Maybe the trees always burst forth this brightly green
Maybe the breeze always brushes across my skin this freshly
Maybe the taste of grilled anything has been too overlooked
Maybe the Aspen leaves have always quaked this splendidly
Maybe my ears have not been tuned in
Maybe my eyes have grown dull by not seeing deeply
Maybe my nose has been too bent to the grindstone
Maybe my taste buds have been too quickly satisfied
Maybe my skin has been trapped inside for too long
Maybe my presence to reality has been misplaced
Maybe having the world stop for a while has allowed nature to awaken
Maybe having my world stop for a while has helped me to pay attention
Maybe having life interrupted has led me to profound observation
Maybe having new rhythms has helped me to calm incessant noise
Maybe having moments to ponder gratitude has revived empathy
Maybe having a new reality
is not the end of everything
but a shift to renewed beginnings
Melynda Van Zee ©2020
Enjoy a peek inside my studio process as I created the painting, “Unraveling Towards a New Reality.”
Here’s to shifting to new realities and renewed beginnings!
Stay well friends,
A Swirl of Changes and Challenges
What a swirl of changes and challenges we have been experiencing in the past days and weeks!
It comes as no surprise that art fairs across the nation have been canceled this year for the safety of all the artists and the art patrons. I’m disappointed to not be able to see so many of you in person this season!
In light of these changes, I hope you will join in me in alternative ways to enjoy color and creativity which I have included below:
Thank you so much for your continued support.