My name is Melanie, although I paint under the guise husk and floe. I live in the beautiful island state of Tasmania, a place that never ceases to delight with its mountainous landscape and pristine waterways.
My love for creating was reignited after the birth of my now five-year-old son Cairo.
As a stay-at-home mum, I found myself questioning my direction in life. I was drawn back into the creative world I had long since forgotten at a time I needed it most in my life.
Rekindling this love or passion for creativity helped me to feel ‘whole’ again.
I wasn’t just a milk machine, a dish washer, a bed maker or the best listener in all of Tasmania, I was and am now proud to call myself an artist too.
Painting now satiates my need for expression, communication, connection and direction in a way nothing else can or does.
Speaking of painting, I work predominantly with acrylics and wax pastels on watercolour paper, although collage is now featuring heavily in my latest ‘shape’ based series. Oh and I use a lot of blue, I just can’t seem to get enough!
I now work four days a week as a Teacher Aide, so try to cram in creative time whenever I can. I still feel giddy with excitement every time I create something I am happy with.
Here’s a look at my creative day.
I wake to the squeaking of my bedroom door, before being greeted by my very awake 5-year-old!
I soon realise there is no way I will be getting back to sleep, so we are up for the day.
Strong coffee consumed, breakfast dishes cleared away and it’s time to make a list of ‘to dos’ for the day.
It's Friday – my one day off for the week, so time is precious (no daily chores will make it on the list for today!)
The ‘to do’ list is steadily increasing, and washing seems to have made its way into 5th position.
Showered, dressed, school lunch packed for my son and beds are made. Totally acing the mama/artist/housewife gig this morning.
Drop Cairo off at school and race home to commence painting. Hmmm, collage, painting, drafting...what to do. It’s a slow start and I become aware that I am clock-watching – not a great way to spend creative time.
I realise I have spent 30 minutes staring at a blank sheet of watercolour paper, fearful of choosing and using the freshly bought tubes of ‘Golden’ acrylics I adore so much.
I tell myself to get a grip and smear a beautiful swathe of Payne's Grey across the page. Just starting new works is the most challenging step for me, but one that is easily overcome with a little patience and a hint of bravery.
Peppermint tea time. I resist the urge to grab a sugar hit, I have such a weakness for Wagon Wheels these days, and return to my studio to analyse my morning’s creations.
Six works on the go,each of which contains around five or so various shades of blue (my fave). I vow to experiment with new colours one day soon.
I pop to the shops to grab lunch and dinner supplies, soaking up the rich green hues of the surrounding mountains.
Inspiration rushes through my body and I vow to recreate the glorious shapes and tones witnessed on this brief outing, when I return home. Nature definitely plays a massive role in my work.
Early lunch and its back to the studio. It takes me a decent ten minutes to choose the right music to help me get back into the creative zone. For me, music is key.
The right tunes = art magic, most of the time.
Sometimes it doesn’t matter what music is on the playlist, or how amazing your art supplies are, the art just doesn’t want to be created.
It’s those moments I return to old works to remind myself the gift of creativity is never far away, it’s just recharging for the day.
Time to get that washing sorted. Emails checked and responded too, Instagram updated and another quick cup of peppermint tea.
Boyfriend returns home from work, so we head to the nearest beach to take our dog Erny for a much needed run.
Return home just in time to add another layer to the many works I have in progress, before its school pick up time.
Cairo is home from school, so it’s time to prep some snacks. Toast, fruit, yoghurt, he just keeps asking for more food! I imagine what he will be like as a teenager!
The next two hours are spent reading, completing jigsaw puzzles, chatting and watching cartoons.
Dinner prep underway for 6pm sit down. It’s this cooking period that sees me darting from one end of the house (the kitchen) to the other (my studio).
I just can’t resist the urge to examine what I have created throughout the day, how paints are drying, contemplating what needs to be added, maybe even mixing a few colours and adding those layers before being discovered by my son!
‘When will dinner be ready mum, I’m starving?’ Back to the kitchen I go!
My son in bed and it’s time to sit on the couch and enjoy a couple of pieces of gorgeously rich dark chocolate.
Advice for Makers
Reflecting on what was | gracious for what is | excited for what will be
I am such a sucker for quotes. Yep, those inspirational quotes that pop up on social media, or those quote posters you see in hip cafes and clothing stores – they get me every time.
One day I was in such a funk. I wasn’t producing anything ‘good enough’ in my studio, I had a tonne of chores to do before school pick up and the amount of available ‘free time’ was rapidly decreasing. I felt overwhelmed and frustrated and just downright sorry for myself.
Then this quote popped into my head. My very own inspirational quote!
‘Reflecting on what was | gracious for what is | excited for what will be.’ Wow!
This was not a ‘how can I call myself an artist when I can’t create anything’ day and this was definitely not a wasted day. This was the day I created a quote that would stick with me during all of those ‘I am not good enough’ moments, the ups and the downs, the curve balls and the hurdles.
You just gotta take a step back sometimes so you can truly see how far you have already come in life.
Even the teeniest little step can inspire those light-bulb moments we all crave.
‘Yes I am good enough, yes I am an artist, yes I have come so far and gosh I am damn excited to see what’s next.’
As a maker I have learned that the down days are just as precious as the up days.
In those quiet moments when you think you’ve lost the gift or really weren’t an artist at all, take a glance at all the wonderful creations you have made up until this point in time. Cherish that moment, because you will soon realise how abundant your creative pool truly is.
Darn it, it’s overflowing, you just gotta cut yourself some slack.
The evidence is there, all around you. The gift will never ever leave you.
Okay motivational speech over!
Check out Melanie's creations on Instagram.