Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Reflections~ Artful Prescription For Anxiety

Anxiously awaiting her appointment with a specialist after a questionable X-ray, my friend became absorbed in a landscape painting in the doctor’s office. After a few moments contemplating the painting she felt her tensions dissolve.

Using imagery to focus the mind and center emotions is hardly a new idea. Eastern cultures developed intricate mandalas as meditative tools; arabesques adorning the walls of mosques were intended to induce ecstasy in the viewer by virtue of hypnotic eye movement. Here, image is the handmaiden of intention.

Composing paintings with intention demands from the artist a selective eye when painting outdoors in Nature. All aspects~ shapes, colors, direction, and lighting must align with subject matter to express the intention. In Reflections, I sought to prompt a calm and meditative state in the viewer. A glimpse of docked boats reflected in gently lapping water seemed a perfect visual metaphor.

Gloucester harbor is here shown in a quiet, diffused light. Contrasts of color and value are subdued; edges softened, giving objects a dreamy, ethereal quality. The oblong shape of the canvas and horizontality of the pier and boats contribute to the quiet in Reflections. Eye movement is gentle and slow, paced by the handling of the brush strokes. Reflections is a statement of tranquility.

Melody Phaneuf
is well known for her evocative landscape, still life, and portrait paintings. Her paintings are regularly on view at The Guild of Boston Artists, 162 Newbury Street, at Fenway Studios, Boston by appointment, and North Shore Art in Gloucester from May through October. Phaneuf has exhibited her paintings at The National Arts Club in New York City, Galerie Herouet in Paris, and with Art du Monde, in Japan.

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

Reflections, oil painting by Melody Phaneuf, 28 x 20

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