The Gold Collection – new paintings

‘Our peace shall stand as firm as Rocky Mountains’.
William Shakespeare

 

Inspired by feelings of empowerment and strength within from one mountain was the basis of this collection of 5 new works.

The Gold Collection was inspired by a desire to revisit and explore in more depth my signature black and white composition of a favourite Wanaka landmark of mine, The Peninsula. It has offered me continued inspiration and motivation from the beginning of my art journey. Often I take a photo of a landscape and am inspired to paint it soon after but then the photo becomes relegated to my ‘Inspiration’ folder and I seldom paint from it again.

The Peninsula, Wanaka

The concept for this collection was that this time I would explore and go much deeper with my interpretation of this mountain by reversing the way I usually paint black mountains and light grey clouds and then really pushing myself to see if I could create further interpretations. Then one afternoon the sun was streaming into my studio and flickering across my paper (not exactly easy to paint with the strong light but oh so beautiful to look at and photograph) and I remembered I had a pot of gold paint that I had been given that I had never used and as I had been recently influenced by a book on Japanese art and design and specifically some gold prints; it all seemed to fall into place that gold should most definitely feature in these new works.

Be Calm in your Heart 1 and 2 (left and right)

 

Even though I had the urge to challenge myself with a different format of black and white painting I had never included gold before so wondered how on earth I was going to apply watercolour paint with the gold acrylic paint and get them to still produce a magical result…… Rather than over think it and plan how it might work I decided to just start! All I did was a little colour study as a test with lots of water and also more of a dry brush technique on a different sheet of paper and that was enough for me to feel like jumping right back into the big work and just getting on with it. But no matter how scary or fearful it might have seemed I knew that only good would come from pushing myself outside my comfort zone. I knew that the risk could potentially be worth it but of course I was worried that I would ruin a perfectly good, strong and balanced black and white painting.  I’ve said it before but this quote was very much playing over in my mind…..

‘Fear is an opportunity to grow.’

John Assaraf

And so those first few brushstrokes of gold didn’t end up a disaster at all and I was thrilled with how they complemented the black sky and white mountain composition. One thing I have learnt from my black and white art is that if in doubt it is always best to keep the composition simple and not overwork the paint. So I knew if I only added a little gold that it would act as an accent and complement the existing mountains and clouds rather than overpower them. By capturing the small shafts of sunshine that cast their golden glow on the rocky headland I would retain a strong black and white landscape as well as giving the impression of sunlight flickering across the mountains.

 

Close up of Be Calm in your Heart 2

 

To have faith is to trust yourself 1 and 2 (left and right)

 

Close up of Stand as firm as rocky mountains

 

To have faith is to trust yourself

As much as I’ve wanted to get back into painting I’ve found that my desire to simply hold and snuggle and enjoy my new man is stronger! (perhaps I know he is my last baby but more I think it is that I recognise now oh how the days are long but the years are short). So the release of my Gold Collection is just outside of the August timeframe that I promised but I haven’t let that stress me out. Taking the time to get to know and enjoy my new baby has been priority number one. Somehow I don’t think I will ever regret taking the time to enjoy kissing Xavier’s head repeatedly and feeling my heart beating against his with the weight of his beautiful sleeping little body and breathing making me feel so complete and happy.

Xavier Melville – 12th July, 5.30pm 8lb 10oz, 52cm

 

He is 7 weeks now and such a lovely, lovely contented, calm and happy little man. I am so very happy with him in my arms and seldom yearn for wishing I could do more work, those days will return I know so for now I will draw all the creative inspiration I can from him, simply by resting and taking life slow. (well as much as I can take things slowly as we move house again next month and I’ll be releasing my new sunset print range!) So the busy will return and I will start a new collection entitled ‘Sunrise in the snowy mountains’ (see my Instagram or Facebook for all the incredible sunrise photos my husband takes for me at his work in the snow!)  So I know that at least I have taken the time to heal my body and to enjoy what is truly important as once that time is gone, it is very much gone. I want to remember my newborn snuggles so very dearly and I think all my time spent with him in my arms the last 7 weeks has left a very firm impression in my mind. I seem to often say this in my posts but once again contentment is very high in my life right now, just when I think that life is good, it goes and expands and I feel like I am rewarded again and again for this slower pace of life.

I hope that you can see a little piece of my slow and contentment in these new works and if you do I’d love to hear from you! sophie@sophiemelville.com

Shop the Gold Collection at www.sophiemelville.com

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When inspiration strikes and pulls you in all the right directions

It is neither wealth nor splendour; but tranquility and occupation which give you happiness.

Thomas Jefferson

The transition from cool autumn mornings and warm afternoons into a frosty winter has been filled with creativity for me as I’ve been incredibly motivated to paint most days in my studio. Some days I have been in awe of so many things inspiring me, whether it be the frost on my studio windows, the glorious late autumn sunrises and sunsets or simply the post rain clouds clearing from the mountains. It is as if everything has been aligning to fill me with this creative surge and I’ve been more than happy to jump right into the flow and not second guess or delve too deep into why. I’ve had several large scale commissions to complete during May and June and with my baby due a week today I have been quite surprised at how well I’ve managed to keep motivated as well as complete a new series of work for release at some local art shows and auctions in mid spring amongst the big paintings taking up almost all of the tables in my studio. It’s been incredibly rewarding and enjoyable to paint so much and to watch things evolve so quickly. I’ll show you the work in progress commissions and finished works in my next blog.

(* But I have a slight confession here, I started this blog a month ago and thats when I had the photos taken too so I was much less pregnant and not feeling as weighed down, in fact I was feeling really, really good. With a week to go now it definitely isn’t as easy making it to my studio as I spend a lot more time doing nesting things like stocking my freezer of dinners or simply resting and knitting on the couch!) I won’t be completely quiet on my blog and newsletter the next few months though as I’ll be releasing the Gold Collection in August and my new sunset inspired print range in September!

But for now I have decided to share the story of my recent inspiration and creative processes through photos and captions instead of my usual written thoughts.  The darker, moodier, story telling photos of me and my bump in the studio and outside by the mountains and creek with my dog are taken by my talented friend Bel Jones

Before the water droplets absorb into the paper they provide such a beautiful 3d quality to my otherwise flat artwork. A rough mountain sketch and loose watery and gestural clouds are how I start my coloured art works.

 

Incredible frost art on my studio windows with the sun and snowy mountains in the background. My children thought it looked like wheat as well as feathers, I simply thought isn’t nature something else?

 

Glorious sunrise looking down the Cardrona Valley from the ridge line just above our house. I’ve since created a new large work inspired by this sunrise and I’ve painted the grass in gold. You can see a glimpse of it on Instagram. I’m currently pondering if this artwork will fit into my Gold Collection due for release in August or if it will go to a gallery or local Wanaka show. If you’d like to see the entire artwork please email me and make my decision easier!

 

Colour inspiration from my Japanese art and design books as my husband travels there every summer for work (in their winter) and often returns with books and fabric for me. Also a long term favourite abstract artist of mine, Gretchen Albrecht provides continuous inspiration through her large pools of gestural sweeping colour hinting at landscapes.

 

Framed snippets of the mountains are what I love the most about my studio. There are 4 skylight windows to peep out, each with a different mountain view either looking up or down the Cardrona valley.

 

The beginnings of 2 new coloured portrait works. The secret is lots of water without paint first, loud music like Adele or Lorde playing and then working quickly with one or 2 colours to let the creativity flow and not over think my brush marks. The brown frame around the work is the paper taped to a board ensuring the stretched watercolour paper lies flat when drying. I like to paint my portrait works as if they are one landscape work so they can either become a pair or separate.

 

The view out of the largest window in my studio looks across the valley and is the perfect backdrop and muse.

 

I work in only one colour per day as I like the paper to be completely dry before applying my next colour so there is no bleeding of colours. Here I have added water just below the mountain ridge line which will create a super watery feel once the black paint is worked further down.

 

I spend a lot of time with paint brush in hand poised, pondering, contemplating and then when I’m painting I apply my brushstrokes quite quickly and freely.

 

Sometimes my work isn’t all gestural and free, here I am working quite slowly and deliberately with the brush applied quite firmly to the paper to achieve the detail of the mountain outline.

 

If he isn’t chasing rabbits he’s sitting by the heater in my studio quietly knowing, quietly keeping me company.

 

I work with 2 jars of water beside my art, one for applying only water to my paper and one for mixing colours. There is often a clink clink of my brush being tapped against the jar shaking off excess water.

 

I am often asked why I don’t work sitting on a stool with my work on an easel. The reason for this is the nature of watercolour means the paint would run and not absorb evenly like it does lying flat on a table. I actually really enjoy looking down and over my work in this way.

 

Painting for me is very much about the process and the enjoyment of it, never the end result. I need to feel a connection to a work and having it coming together slowly and being immersed in it’s creation is probably the most important part. Because of this I find most paintings are successes, seldom do I create a painting that I’m not happy with.

Pause. Soak in the space in between. These are the moments.

 

Portrait and landscape small coloured works in progress with the addition of indigo since the photos above were taken.

 

Enjoying a gorgeous sunny afternoon at 35 weeks with my dog and thinking about baby.

 

I adore watching the water and listening to the sound of the creek. Going on walks to the top of the property with my children adventuring around the creek is something we all love to do regardless of it being sunny or cold and frosty, it is always different and just so lovely to contemplate how the water runs continuously day and night from the mountains.

 

Needless to say the mountains make me happy, they are my rock, my anchor, my mindful cue and a source of abundant inspiration from the ever changing seasons. How lucky am I to live so close to what I choose to paint.


A look inside my new studio beneath the mountains

Moving out of town to a rural lifestyle in the Cardrona Valley has transformed my life and happiness in a way I never even considered.

While I was excited at the prospect of embarking on a country lifestyle combined with a brand new loft studio and having so much more space than my last studio, I never imagined that the massive change in lifestyle would have quite the impact on further deepening my already content and grateful existence and that of my family as well.

We used to live very close to town (in Wanaka) and were able to walk the kids to school and easily pop into town for errands and meetings.  I often used to comment to my city friends how lucky we were to only have to leave 5 minutes before we had to be somewhere as traffic was never an issue and parking seldom difficult.  I was therefore a little concerned about moving a 20 minute drive out of town and thought that I would find it difficult adjusting to the lack of flexibility and increased time in the car and potential for ‘less time’ in general. How very wrong I was.

The view from our backyard

 

The creek that runs the length of the property and is just a short walk from the house.

I now feel even more productive than ever as I’ve had to become even more organised with running my business, the house and keeping the family fed and happy.  But strangely I don’t feel like I’m rushing to keep up with life, I actually operate at a far slower pace (yes, pregnancy is playing a huge part in that) but it’s the time I’m spending with my family at home either exploring outside or reading/writing/knitting with the kids (and husband!) instead of worrying about what activity we should be doing outside of the home that has led us all to be connected on a whole new level.  I’ve found I easily spend a lot more creative time in my studio and have started producing a lot of new work that is planned for my galleries and I have almost finished a new collection for release during winter. (see the beginnings of this later on in the post).

So we now rent a newly planted tree laden 15 acre block just before the Cardrona Village, in between Wanaka and Queenstown nestled close to the base of Cardrona Alpine Resort. It has a beautiful small creek running the length of the property that can always be heard from up at the house as the water runs quite fast from down the mountains by no means of a trickle, it’s more like a small waterfall in parts! Even on cooler mornings (now they are frosty) I enjoy stepping outside after getting up before doing anything else merely to listen to the waterfall like crash of the water running through the creek. The kids and I often go exploring around the creek and property collecting sticks and spotting rabbits and to say they adore it here is a massive understatement, they are thriving and glowing with the excitement of discovering a new side to nature that they can explore and get lost in (in a good way). I have found a whole new dimension of contentment simply through being a lot closer to nature through having the opportunity to wander outside and ponder the beauty of the trees, land and mountains surrounding our home. This has subsequently slowed down my lifestyle to a pace that barely seems operational but in contrast I’ve gained so much clarity that has helped me plan and then easily action my creative endeavours. I thought I was already on quite a good ‘slow’ path towards my ideal of slow living but moving away from the proximity to town and subsequent somewhat fast pace, pop in, pop out nature of town life to a quiet, rural setting that is truly very slow has been transformational to my well being.

Our small but perfect 2 bedroom cottage.

It didn’t start off this way though. The move took a huge toll on me and while I thought I was quite well equipped to manage my stress through my regular meditating, self awareness and yoga practice I didn’t anticipate how I wouldn’t cope very well. Maybe it a had a lot to do with my pregnancy and not being capable of doing as much as I normally could combined with my changing body (and emotions!)  So I share this with you purely to let you know that I am not always able to put into practice what I advocate, that I am quite simply a human still learning and trying to navigate my life’s pathway and that I am quite capable of sliding into overwhelm and becoming wrapped in stress. I confess that this time, I didn’t cope well but having come out the other side and now being totally adjusted I’ve seen enormous growth in what I thought was already an amazing quality of life.  I love seeing how this growth has also been blossoming in my family and I’ve noticed a lot of beautiful bonding taking place in the every day moments of life between us all.

‘Find the love you seek by first finding the love within yourself. Learn to rest in that place within you. That is your true home.’

Sri Ravi Shankar

‘Rest in that place within you’ currently being framed and available soon from Next Door Gallery, Birkenhead, Auckland

This is the first work I created in my studio that helped lift me from my overwhelm, when I was feeling the burden of boxes still to unpack and no motivation to organise them I chucked it all in and went to my studio instead and returned to what I knew would help cure my feelings of dwelling too much into the future. Of course giving myself the time to be creative again was the push in the right direction to solving my overwhelm and since then I have been much more my normal, happy, quiet self!

My studio above the garage overlooks the Cardrona Valley.

 

My print packaging desk looks out up to where my husband works during autumn and winter, Cardrona Alpine Resort.

 

The view across farmland from the driveway. (This is on the list to paint with the shimmering grass in gold!)

 

Testing a new kind of paper for 1 of 3 large scale commissions I have to complete this month before baby’s arrival next month!

 

A new work in progress that will be part of The Gold Collection for release during winter.

While this property is my everything it sadly won’t be for long, but more good things are on the way as we will be building a new home on a similar size lifestyle block closer to town next year. We will plan the new house with an even bigger studio for me and a large engineering workshop for my husband over the next couple of months and then I’ll have some quiet down time with my new baby due end of June.

As always, I’d love to hear from you if any of my thoughts or artwork resonates with you. Please email me > sophie@sophiemelville.com


New original fine art – the Presence collection

presence-collection

I’m brimming with pride and exhilaration to release my latest fine art collection ‘Presence’.

 It feels so right to be releasing this new art in my signature black and white under my true name, Sophie Melville.

out-of-reach-but-not-out-of-sight

‘Out of reach but not out of sight’

This collection is a culmination of a lot of simply ‘being’.
Sitting and being comfortable in my stillness.

The realisation of the total acceptance of myself.

Choosing to focus on the journey not the result.
To me this is all the awareness of presence.

 

presence-collection-seeking-presence

‘Seeking Presence’

My style has become more refined through reflection, consideration and now my process is immersed in clarity and foresight. But more than ever I take a lot longer to complete a painting as I feel a deeper connection to myself and this is visually expressed in my paintings. It’s my thought processes while creating that are making me observe, consider and just be.

 

presence-collection-mountain-landscape

‘Silent Presence’

I hope you enjoy reading the inspiration behind each work and a supporting quote in this collection in further detail within each artwork on my website.

Shop the ‘Presence’ collection

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New work – The Sunset Collection

the-sunset-collection

The Silence of Reflection – Watercolour on French ARCHES paper, 72 x 53cm

I’m proud to release my latest original fine art – The Sunset Collection, a small range of watercolour works on paper in my signature black and white but with hints of dusty pinks, peach and blue. They are inspired by sunsets at the beach and the exhilaration of watching the last of the light for the day bathe the headland, beach and sea in it’s warm glow before disappearing to greet the other side of the world.

I’ve been inspired to paint in colour since winter but have had a few art projects on for group shows that meant my focus needed to be on the local mountains that I usually paint and also in black and white (see the work in my current group show at the end of this post).  But, I believe that good things come to those that wait and I knew I needed to have patience and trust in myself to let the day come where I would empty out my entire watercolour paint jar on my art desk, instead of just plucking out the black tube.

Existence of Mystery

Existence of Mystery – Watercolour on French ARCHES paper, 71 x 52cm

‘The position of the artist is humble. He is essentially a channel.’ Piet Mondrian

It was with this quote in mind that I started seeing colour as something I could indeed interpret.  All I had to do was start with what I new in the way of black and white, then experiment and play with colour from there. Fundamental to this new challenge was to enjoy myself, to immerse myself in creating, to feel my sense of purpose for this unexplored coloured territory and to acknowledge but push aside all fear and doubt and just be, just paint.

Illumination at Dusk - Watercolour on French ARCHES paper, 72 x 53cm

Illumination at Dusk – Watercolour on French ARCHES paper, 72 x 53cm

 

I had been gathering a lot of inspiration from various sunset captures that either I had taken during walks in the mountains or from friends on Instagram as well as those that my husband had taken for me from his work in the mountains.  The colours in the evening skies started to fill my mind with potential colour palettes and I new it was just a matter of time to when I would finish my current projects and would then allow myself to start dabbling in colour. The way the light combined a bright blue sky into midnight blue with a soft, golden light that covered everything in it’s path was enough for me to know intuitively what colours to choose.

Last of the Light - Watercolour on French ARCHES paper, 52.5 x 33.5cm

Last of the Light – Watercolour on French ARCHES paper, 52.5 x 33.5cm

 

So while the visual inspiration for these works came from the sun’s last light the internal inspiration came from a place of trying to calm the overwhelm and to cope with stress during a very busy time in my life. During this time we were selling our house privately and I had a long list of cleaning and tidying jobs to get the house up to scratch for sale and then continuous open homes and viewings not to mention still having paintings to create for 2 shows and only working 3 days a week.

While I am very much an advocate for not being so busy that I can’t enjoy my daily life and I take great pride in not filling my days with so many things to do and subsequently living in the past or fear of the future through stress. But sometimes life is busy and I realised I had to accept that. I spent far too many years consumed by stress prior to returning to painting that my life now is incomparable to what it used to be.  I have learnt some great strategies for fighting the overwhelm and stress of busy times and they’re surprisingly easy to implement.  All it took was prioritising increased self care and instead of the usual ‘I’m too busy to go to yoga or meditate or walk the dog’ to realise that this is EXACTLY what I needed to help calm the feelings of inadequacy and fear of never being finished.

‘Stress is caused by being ‘here’ and wanting to be ‘there’. ‘ Eckhart Tolle

Last of the Light

 

I came to realise that procrastination (disguised as self care) was key to winning the stress battle. It couldn’t be any old ‘oops, I’ll just browse my feed or check my emails then start reading the latest news from my favourite blogs.’ kind of procrastination.  It needed to be built into the busy schedule and adhered to.  So much so that I coined the term ‘creative procrastination’ for myself.  All I had to do was schedule and make the time for a little drawing or meditating or reading before launching into my day and ticking off the tasks. It only would take half an hour each morning to sip my coffee and enjoy the silence of drawing and I then would feel like I had started the day off calmly and with intention. To be completely honest I found I enjoyed and relished this time so much I would often stretch it out to an hour and then really start my day feeling inspired and filled with contentment.

Later on I would once again prioritise a good few hours in my studio to meditate, ponder and of course paint. I truly feel that because I allowed myself time amongst the chaos to reconnect with myself that I have managed to produce these new colour works quite freely and with great success ( and surprisingly no failures!)  Failure though is something I believe very strongly in and advocate for learning and growth but I won’t elaborate on that now, I’ll save that for another post!

Below are photos from my current group show, The Wanaka 8 at Central Stories Museum in Alexandra (Central Otago). It is an exhibition featuring eight notable Wanaka artists each with their own distinctive style.  I chose to focus my work on interpretations of the Wanaka landscape but not distinctive landmarks.  I also felt drawn to creating work that was of a very minimal nature allowing the silent white areas space to contrast with the textured and deliberate black areas.

At the Wanaka 8 group show opening at Central Stories Museum, Alexandra. Show on until Sunday 27th November.

 

wanaka-8

Works left to right: All Watercolour on French ARCHES paper

 

Top Left: ‘Believe in yourself’ $950 SOLD,

Bottom Left: ‘All that you need is inside you’ $950,

‘The Fulfillment Within’ $1500,

‘Happiness Found’ $750

‘Resounding Calm’ $750

Contact Maurice for a show catalogue if you are interested in purchasing any of these works maurice@centralstories.com

 


Shop ‘The Sunset Collection’

 

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A new direction for 2017

limited-editon-fine-art-giclee-prints-2017

 

This year has seen my art develop and go from strength to strength, interestingly enough, I’m the happiest and calmest I have been for years. This is by no means a co-incidence, but I’ll elaborate about that later on…

Next year will see exciting changes to the mini Grandi Artist by Sophie Melville range of art. My latest print range, the Finding Quiet series will be the last one available as an open edition range as next year I will be upgrading to only selling limited edition (numbered) fine art giclée prints.  This year my original fine art sales have dramatically increased and I’ve been securing new stockists and galleries for only my original fine art so this has encouraged me to take this next step.

My art and business have grown so much in the last 2 years and I’ve realised to further establish myself in the fine art market I need to only sell the highest quality prints I can. This means that as of 31st January 2017 I will no longer be selling any of my current open edition prints. These include the widely popular Storm at the Beach prints and my other best sellers, Marble and In the Sand as well as Linear Escape. What this means is ALL prints currently on my website will no longer be available (but you might be able to find them at some of my stockists after this date).

This decision is one that I have taken careful consideration to come to. It means exciting things for my art’s future as I seek and hope to secure greater representation in galleries through out New Zealand and Australia and only selling limited edition prints instead of open edition is the way forward I believe.

I will be releasing my first limited edition print range in February next year and there will be a slight movement away from my traditional black and white art. The range is still in the exploratory stage but I am aiming to include hints of colour combined with my usual tonal blacks, something I have courageously and thoroughly been enjoying working on recently.

The Storm at the Beach set - to be discontinued in 2017.

The Storm at the Beach set – to be discontinued in 2017.  Styling: Hayley French, My Little House. Photo: Larnie Nicolson for Homestyle Magazine

 

Marble and In the Sand - to be discontinued in 2017. Styling and photography by Oh Eight Oh Nine.

Marble and In the Sand – to be discontinued in 2017. Styling and photography by Oh Eight Oh Nine

 

Linear Escape - sadly to be discontinued in 2017. Styled and photographed by The Design Chaser

Linear Escape – sadly to be discontinued in 2017. Styling and photography by The Design Chaser

 

Impromptu meditating spot

An impromptu meditating spot on a warm winter’s day reinforced to me that I really do love my life.

I’ve worked hard to establish balance in my life, ( a word that was completely foreign to me a couple of years ago when my health coach at the time said I should think about balance and she was met with a totally puzzled and screwed up face ). My life now is incomparable to what it used to be as I now constantly remind myself to slow down and seek out the enjoyment of a process or task rather than feeling the stress and letting it consume me or being focused solely on an end result. I really am so happy with my life right now, I feel enormous contentment each day for all that I have, my health, my wonderful little souls of children, a husband who deeply supports me, a cute little home which is about to offer us a new lifestyle if we are able to sell, and of course my pride in my art. I’ve come to realise that the balance I now have and my ability to prioritise self care over my to do list is what is shining through in my art and inspiring others towards a calmer, more grateful life.

One last thing you might be interested to know that has been keeping me quiet on the blog and social media recently is that we are seizing the opportunity to sell our house in the middle of a very hot market and are hoping to buy and build on 10+ acres 10 minutes out of Wanaka soon.  I of course already have my large light filled studio planned with countless pot plants, white and natural plywood walls as well as a mezzanine for keeping my computer away from the creative zone but while I am excited I do like to ground myself with the thought, what will be, will be.  If it works out, it will be all we have dreamed of, but if not, it wasn’t meant to be. It just means a better opportunity awaits us.

Thank you so much for your support and encouragement of my art through your emails, social media comments and of course simply through choosing to purchase my art.

Our home of 10 years currently showcasing 'The Hope Within'

Our small home of 10 years currently showcasing ‘The Hope Within’. I get so much satisfaction from sitting on the couch at night and admiring how on earth I created this work as well as pondering what will be created in my studio next….

 

Shop the last of my open edition prints now www.minigrandiartist.co.nz

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New print range: The Finding Quiet Series

mini Grandi Artist new prints

I’m excited to release and share with you the inspiration behind my latest print range the ‘Finding Quiet’ series.

The Finding Quiet series was inspired by discovering that through being kind to myself I had gained acceptance and subsequent inner friendship. The quiet that filled me was the gift I had given myself.

‘The happiness of your life depends on the quality of your thoughts.’

Marcus Aurelius

 

This is so painfully obvious but something we don’t necessarily always see that clearly or even remember as sometimes that inner negative voice creeps into your mind discouraging you. I only discovered it’s importance since starting mini Grandi Artist almost 2 years ago. My days are now often a lot happier since learning to be kind to myself and taking consistent moments of quiet time for self care.

Finding Quiet and Rise from Defeat
Storm over the Water and Storm over the Mountains fine art giclée prints.
I discovered stillness through meditation early on in my art journey but have come to realise that I now don’t have to search for it like I once did as it has quite simply found me and has become an established part of my life.  I live my days often with inner quiet and a resounding feeling of calm that helps me enjoy the process of each day as well as getting me through difficult situations.  Finding Quiet is something I always yearned for unconsciously but never knew how to reach until I was there. With this series I wish to inspire you with how I found my inner quiet through acceptance and kindness.

mini Grandi Artist_Rise from Defeat & From the Quiet

 

Sophie Melville Rise from Defeat

Rise from Defeat – fine art giclée print

‘You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from and how you can still come out of it’
Maya Angelou

This work ‘Rise from Defeat’ was inspired by experiencing loss and afterwards extended illness but instead of dwelling on it I chose to not let it define me and decided to get back into painting and from that I felt lifted and fulfilled.

The Finding Quiet series is a collection of 4 fine art giclée prints ranging in size from A4 to A1 all printed using archival, non fading inks on heavy German etching watercolour paper.

Prints are available from my shop www.minigrandiartist.co.nz

 

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Noticing my thoughts and how it helps my creative process

Buchanans capture

 

I’ve been busily painting new Wanaka inspired work in my studio a lot recently and the more I’m there the more I feel connected to my thoughts. Or rather, feel like I don’t have to get carried away with them and instead just notice them and simply be.

I have quite a schedule in place for the remainder of the year to create work for several group shows and new stockists so I’m in my studio most working days ( 3 days ) at the moment.  I’ve spent long periods this year unable to paint either due to sickness or other commitments and now I’m relishing every day I get to be greeted by the morning sun streaming into my little converted sleep-out now art studio.

There’s something about my workspace at the back of our property that quietens my breathing and makes me slow everything right down. The moment I walk into my studio I am either filled with a placid yet excited anticipation about the potential painting I’m about to create or it simply welcomes me with the comfort of organised chaos.

Creative process 4
Normally I have prepped my watercolour paper or wood days before allowing it time to dry. Watercolour paper needs to be stretched to allow it to stay flat while painting and adding water to it.  Stretching is done by soaking the sheet of paper in water and then smoothing it out and taping it down onto a large board then allowing it to dry.  Once it’s painted and the work is complete I have to trim the paper away from the board so I lose the beautiful raw edge but I have a very flat smooth artwork without the slight curving received from the work drying unevenly when not stretched.
Creative process 6

My current series of work is all distinctly Wanaka inspired landscapes and I work from mostly all my own photographs that I have taken while out walking or running. Sometimes I have my phone with me so can capture the moment exactly as I witnessed it, or sometimes I have to quickly run home and grab my good camera and come back hoping that the clouds and light are still the same as when I left!

I normally have quite a stockpile of photos that I’ve taken from my explorations printed out in my studio so  I never need to plan what to paint each day, rather I choose a few moments before beginning. I have found that I can’t have any expectation of an artwork as it never turns out with the same level of spontaneity if I have thought about the photograph over an over.  I simply need to print out my photos and tuck them away in the drawer ready for when I feel inspired.

My best work is produced either mid morning or mid afternoon, working at night is not an option, the light is never right. When starting a landscape I draw the horizon line in with a ruler and pencil and then after a mini meditation of several centring deep breaths I begin by contemplating what the strongest part of my composition will be.  I always paint this first as it’s the base from which to grow the clouds and lake around. If I don’t get this right the whole composition isn’t successful.

Creative process 5
Despite all this quiet I talk about, when I’m painting my music is turned up loud and I often have a little dance around my studio as no ones watching and of course it’s just me. I love painting to Adele or Broods, either way, it needs to be loud.  The quiet, contented feeling surrounds me once I’ve finished and the silence is all the more blissful I think!
Creative process 2
Creative process 3
The work above is watercolour on wood and illustrates how I add the mountains in first, then the clouds, it’s still a work in progress. Sometimes it takes me a few days or week to come back to a work and finish it simply because I have several other works in progress. I find the time away from a work manifests in giving me clarity for how to continue and ultimately finish a work. I seldom have works that I’m not happy with now due to understanding how my process works.
Buchanans
This work was inspired by the first mountain photo at the beginning of this post and at the moment it’s one of my favourites, I think purely for it’s spontaneous interpretation and mixture of techniques. I’ve found that winter and snowy mountains are the best for helping me distinguish contrast and for aiding simplicity.

Friendship with oneself is all important, because without it one cannot be friends with anyone else in the world’

Eleanor Roosevelt

I’m in such a happy space at the moment with life and work in balance and I keep finding gems like the quote above to remind me where I’ve come from and it motivates me to just keep painting and to relish the friendship I have given myself since returning to creating art and doing what I love.

I hope you have a wonderful week and that reading this it might help inspire you to notice your thoughts at some point today. I’d love to hear from you if you have any discoveries about your thoughts so please do get in touch with me! sophie@minigrandiartist.co.nz

www.minigrandiartist.co.nz

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Featured in Homestyle and Your Home and Garden magazines (NZ)

Homestyle

This month and last I have been thrilled to discover my art has been featured in two excellent New Zealand interiors magazines in 3 different issues.
The image above from the latest Homestyle magazine features Another Storm at the Beach & Storm at the Beach prints in the incredible home of Hayley and Darryl French. I had a small idea that one of my prints might be included in the August/September issue but I didn’t know it would be two prints in the home of one of my customers! Hayley’s style is very much Scandinavian inspired with a strong compliment of New Zealand textures and my ultimate, hints of greenery in all the right places. No wonder Hayley is a talented interior designer with her own business, My Little House

 

Homestyle muffin and coffee

Blueberry muffins and a turmeric almond milk latte while enjoying the surprise of seeing my work in Homestyle.

I also was lucky enough to be included in the August ‘For Art’s Sake’ feature in Your Home & Garden alongside some talented and inspiring New Zealand and Australian artists.

YH&G

Finally and maybe most proudly I also had one of my paintings seen in the home of last year’s Block winners, Brooke and Mitch who moved to nearby Queenstown last year featured in the July issue of Your Home & Garden magazine. Brooke and Mitch used two of my prints in one of the Block warehouse challenges so were already familiar with my work when they came to my solo show The Stillness Within in March.  They then fell in love with The Contentment Within and decided it was a necessary spend for styling their new home.

When I delivered the painting to them at their new house (Queenstown is only an hour’s drive away from where I live in Wanaka) I was thrilled to discover why they chose The Contentment Within as unbeknown to me part of the view from the north facing side of the house mirrors the mountains in my painting.

YH&G Brooke and Mitch

Brooke and Mitch’s beautiful light filled home in Jack’s Point, Queenstown beneath the Remarkables.

YH&G The Contentment Within

 

Acknowledging the good that you already have in your life is the foundation for abundance.’

Eckhart Tolle

More fond of sharing my musings and wonder at the world via my newsletter I’m not normally one to shout so loudly about my successes so I hope you have enjoyed sharing in this slightly different post.  I really am so appreciative and grateful of just how far my art has come in the last 18 months. But key to this I feel is simply enjoying painting what inspires me, not painting for the market or a recent trend, just painting authentically for me.  It’s through this I notice people connect with my work and then want to know and understand more about the story behind it.

Maybe further good will come one day but for now I will continue to be grateful for what I have already and keep painting what I love. I’ve found so much happiness by just accepting things the way they are. By choosing to highlight the good that fills my life instead of wishing for something else I’ve found it easy to feel contentment. It makes me wonder what my next discovery will be. I’ll let you know when I find it…

www.minigrandiartist.co.nz

 

 


New work – The Quiet Collection

‘Perhaps the greatest opportunity to connect to what really matters lies in the silent spaces of our day. When we resist the urge to fill every minute with noise and activity, we open the doors to our heart, mind and soul to let the joy come in.’ Rachel Macy Stafford, Hands Free Life

mini Grandi Artist_The Peace Within

The Peace Within – watercolour on French Arches paper, framed

I am excited and proud to be releasing my latest work, The Quiet Collection, an abstract landscape range that evokes a sense of contentment and peace from within while being inspired by imposing mountains, reflective water and illuminated clouds. This collection is a continuation of the Stillness Within exhibition and tells a new story of wonder and fulfillment from having found stillness.

mini Grandi Artist_Calm

Calm – watercolour on French Arches paper, framed

In creating these works I have found a new sense of freedom and appreciation from simply letting things be as they are. It was from being quite unwell with a sinus infection for almost 2 months earlier this year and only being able to get the absolutely necessary daily things completed that I learnt that I had to accept that I would eventually get better, I just had to give it time and continue to be positive and optimistic about the future. I had to believe in myself that I would get to paint again and that I wasn’t missing out on underachieved goals, they simply would take a little longer and that I would get there in the end.

Acceptance I have found is not defeat and it doesn’t make me complacent, it is very much a foundation upon which to build on. The more I accept and just be, the happier I feel and this then creates space for me to see the quiet, in between moments more and more, not just as something set aside and scheduled for Sunday.

mini Grandi Artist_The Hope Within

The Hope Within – watercolour on wood, framed

‘You can’t calm the storm. So stop trying. What you can do is calm yourself. The storm will pass.’ Timber Hawkeye, from The Connection

mini Grandi Artist_Calm the Storm

Calm the Storm, watercolour on French Arches paper, available unframed or framed.

It is in quietening down my life to only allow myself to focus on the priorities that I feel I have evolved into enjoying and really living each day rather than having it pass by in a blur. I have then found that I am the most productive I have ever been as feelings of clarity and fulfillment guide me through my day and I don’t feel the weight of being busy.

mini Grandi Artist_Linear Haze

Linear Haze – watercolour on French Arches Paper, unframed.

I hope that my new collection fills you with inspiration to live the best life you can simply by accepting yourself and letting things be. It is then that you can easily find inner quiet and fulfillment.

If you feel a sense of connection to any of my works I’d love to hear your thoughts, please email me sophie@minigrandiartist.co.nz

All of these works and several further new works are available in my shop www.minigrandiartist.co.nz

Thank you!

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