Thursday, August 28, 2008

Crossroads, Brittany

The Brittany region of France echoes with something familiar to me. The forests and pasturelands are wild, moody, haunting. A magical combination of Celtic and French ancestry speaks to my spirit. I am sure that Merlin and Parsifal treaded here.

I find this painting relevant at the moment. We are at a crossroads in many ways. The environment and our relationship to others in the world are of paramount significance. I’m not sure if we need a magician or a knight in search of the grail to lead us in the right direction.

A curiosity of this land with Pagan roots is that a traveler will often come across a statue of a saint in the middle of what could be judged as nowhere. I love that here, Jesus; symbol of altruism is positioned at the crossroads. The lighting on that temperamental day cast long shadows and animated the ivy-covered manse to appear as if it were looking on in awe.

Crossroads, Brittany, Oil Painting by Melody Phaneuf

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Humor, Angles and Mirth

I just received an email from a friend in our Wednesday Club:

“Almost every time I get an email from you I burst out laughing. With you around no one needs anti-depressants.”

A nice compliment for me, and no co-pay for her.

I am drawn to people by how easily they laugh and I am charmed by angular patterns for the same reason. They inspire mirth. It is no accident that jesters are often adorned in diamond-patterned costumes. Watch how your eyes follow zig-zags then see if the corners of your mouth are turning up.

Surround yourself with patterns that make you happy. And don’t forget to laugh today. ^ ^

Humoresque , Featured Painting at

Friday, August 15, 2008

Once Upon A Time

Why do we tell stories? A message enshrined in allegory stirs wonder, motivates, warns, or heals us. Great stories inspire us and move our soul.

Farewell, Persephone pays homage to a myth of transformation, grief, and resurrection.
The arrangement is altar-esque, the after effect of tragedy, abduction of a child.

Persephone, collecting the blossoms of spring with her maiden friends has strayed too far. And Hades, forever lying in wait, opened the earth and whisked her away in his black chariot. We are left with clues: a wreath of flowers, a virginal white veil, a sickle and wheat, all illuminated by the firelight of the underworld below.

And how her mother grieved. And wandered, and searched. What of the kindly man, this gardener to Hades, who took pity upon Demeter and whispered her daughter’s position? How could he know that for evermore his utterances would be those of an owl and that he would give up his life while the child’s fate was cast as she nibbled on the seeds of a pomegranate?

As Demeter’s grief turned to rage the earth scorched, starved and died. The only reprieve was the child’s return but rebirth is impermanent, and the world without end.

Persephone’s bags are packed and return she does. Our eyes circle through the painting, wheat leads to white flowers and obscures the death card. At this moment, our gaze is drawn to the wreath of wildflowers reminding us of spring and rebirth, and of eternal hope.


Melody Phaneuf is a Boston Artist, working at Fenway Studios. Phaneuf is well known for her evocative still life and landscape paintings and has achieved significant acclaim for portraiture. She has exhibited at Galerie Herouet in Paris, The National Arts Club in New York City, and with Art du Monde, a traveling exposition in Japan. Phaneuf’s paintings are regularly displayed at the Guild of Boston Artists, 162 Newbury Street, Boston, MA.

Melody The Artist Home
, founded with photographer and color specialist, Martha DiMeo showcases the artist’s original paintings on tumbled marble tile murals and coasters, fine art prints, and handmade note cards. Online ordering at

Farewell, Persephone, 42 x 48 oil painting by Melody Phaneuf

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Thursday, August 14, 2008

A Certain Slant of Light

Have you noticed the subtle shift in the summer light? As an artist and plein-air painter, I am a sensitive observer of light and especially the sky. Yesterday, breath-taking formations of clouds led me home from the studio. And the air that night was just a little crisper. I am conscious that I am increasingly charmed by warmer tones, glimpses of gold and orange. And I might not paint the living room blue after all.

What I am doing is rearranging paintings and prints in my surroundings to herald the change. Color and light are transformative. Patterns formed by the interlocking light and shadow shapes evoke mood—sometimes serene, sometimes dramatic, but always captivating. As much as I will miss the summer sun, I am lured by the lengthening shadows to come.

End of Day, Gloucester, Limited Edition and Fine Art Tiles