What the Pandemic did for Me
Like everyone else, the pandemic turned my world upside down. Fear, anxiety, denial, frustration... Changes in household, kids home all the time. My art career was ideal for being a mom. I could work while the kids were in school, making my own hours with flexibility when necessary.
Well the flexibility came in handy, but the work went to the back burner. In winter/spring of 2020 my kids were suddenly home and needing help. We did it, we made it through.
Summer of 2020 I came back in force. The kids were still home, but did not need the help. They are old enough to play with neighbors and entertain themselves. I finally started my Etsy shop. What a great education. With that under my belt, I created a shop on my own website, which is my only on-line store at this point.
Artistically, I was obsessed with a theme I call the Imagined Woods Series. I painted colorful skies and atmospheric backgrounds. Once that dried, I added a forest of bare branch trees and ground foliage. I could not get enough of this idea. Some were dark and foreboding, others were bright and hopeful. The spontaneity of the process was just what I needed during this time. They spoke to others as well. They were instantly a best seller and are still popular today.
I often start with a wet into wet background. Sometimes I have a plan – areas I will leave lighter so I can paint the main subject later. I may also create an atmospheric effect by adding hints of a color, suggesting more of the same in the back. Wild Salvia, pictured, is an example of this method. The background flowers are hinted at by the soft focus purple in the distance.
Other times, I will start the painting with no end in mind. Usually this is inspired by playing with new pigments or new tools. It's an opportunity to learn the new materials without the pressure to have a finished product. These backgrounds may go on to be a finished painting and sometimes they do not. Below is A Moment's Rest is an example of a painting that was born out of playing with new materials with no plan.
See me at The Block at Northway on June 17, July 8, July 15, Aug. 12, and Aug 19.
I'm excited to announce:
Melissa Tai is a lifelong creative, nature lover & tree hugger.