Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Making Paintings~ The Calling to Create

Visitors to my studio enjoy seeing a painting in progress. For some, it is a surprise that I work from actual objects rather than inventing the picture. I do invent; it is the spark of an idea that comes together in my mind, then to some scribbles on paper, which explore the visual interpretation of a concept. Then comes the actual arranging of the props I will use for the painting. The more elaborate arrangements take months to paint, partly because I work on several paintings at a time and partly because of the intricacies of finish. There are technical reasons for letting a surface breath for a while as well.

Having collected thousands of props and fabrics to compose paintings, I am adored at flea markets and local antique shops. The figure in the painting, Calling, is a Caproni plaster cast of Cupid who has lost his wings. I purchased it many years ago in the hopes I could have it repaired, but as it turns out, he is perfectly suited for his role in Calling.

I am most inspired by paintings that attempt to communicate an idea. Calling is the story of a creature, played by the plucky Cupid, who is destined for a purpose over which there is no choice. Cupid, himself, has the commitment to expose a point in the heart in others by skillful aiming of his arrow. Once struck, the outpouring of love awakens desire. Here the desire is for the calling, represented by the ram’s horn ~used in timeless deserts for calling fellow Nomads, now pointed toward Cupid’s ear. Brushes, tubes of paint and palette give hints at what this calling is about. The leafy vine gives a sense of ever growing and the chair itself has a carved leaf like design. The contrast of color is arresting, and the arranged shapes of the fabric communicate a buoyant idea.

And what of Cupid’s wings? As it turns out, Cupid has not been without obstacles but has endured. This often happens when divine inspiration comes to the earth plane, but his persistence gives us hope and willingness toward purpose.

Calling is still evolving and is destined for the International Art Show in Boston this fall. If you would like to visit my studio, please call 617 236 4322 or email to arrange a time.

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 note cards. Online ordering at

Calling, oil painting in progress by Melody Phaneuf, 30 x 36

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