Mel DeWees

Creating art is my essence; a way of being for me. Since early childhood, art was an escape from a troubled and humbling life. Through the loss of my parents at an early age, I came face to face with a world that felt unforgiving and full of hardship. Within my art I found a presence; a presence in which I could establish my voice.

As a child, I found that recreating life through art was easy. Early on, I began drawing and painting representational works. I began studying the techniques of the masters of classical figurative art. At that time, it seemed very natural and unforced. I found myself attracting positive attention from a world that had for so long seemed very difficult for me to exist within. For the most part, everyone seemed to associate the idea of good art with a representational style, so it wasn’t until early in my college career that I allowed myself to explore/experiment with abstract or non-representational work. I found this very freeing. My art then became an open window of possibility. I discovered that my early studies in the basics of drawing, painting and color theory set the stage for this next important step in my education as an abstract painter.

I began developing a voice through line drawing. After numerous classes of figurative study, I found that drawing was very pivotal for me as an artist to obtain my sense of reason. The line became my visual voice; I was finally able to tell stories that for so long had no way of being expressed.

My paintings tend to have a light background, allowing my senses to see the canvas as a ‘sketch pad’. I like having a flat plane in which I can work on top of. This allows the painting to be treated as a sketch, therefore allowing the drawn line to play a pivotal role within the work. I view my work as a sketch rather than a painting, in which I see the body of work being more of a spontaneous visual diary.

The love of music has also been very influential in my work. The mood that a song can create is what I strive to evoke with my painting. I find that the process of creating a painting is very similar to that of structuring a song. There are many vital parts within both that must coincide in order to bring that cohesive calmness. In that calmness is where I find a sense of solace, a sense of my own peace.

Triadic, 60 x 56 in. Sequence, 50 x 40 in.