Monday, November 22, 2010

Making Spaces.

Just a quick post of what has been going on in the studio lately. I've been trying to create more variety of spaces within my paintings lately and also work on a larger scale than my 12" and 18" squares of Phin's early childhood. Since I'm working with acrylic, I don't have to gesso my canvas before I start work. I've been employing different methods of starting a painting- leaving the canvas raw in some parts, gessoing others, and priming some parts with dark brown. I don't have a concrete image in mind when I begin and use a general idea of what kind of spaces I want to create and the finding of at least one bird to anchor my work. I love making marks and splotches of color and the way that I can use the act of painting to find and describe worlds.

Well, onto the images. I'm not much of a writer:

This is an 18" square:

This one is maybe 3 feet wide- not sure:

And this one is day 2 of my latest. It's about 4 feet wide:

...Wait, that's day one, here is day 2 (and closer to the actual color):

I'll be working on the piece above this Friday from 2-6 during Lillstreet's "Sip and Shop" on Nov. 26th. Grab some wine downstairs in the gallery and come on up to the 3rd floor. You can visit me and refill your cup!

Happy Thanksgiving to you all- I'm so thankful to have the opportunity to make work.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Open Studio

Sadly, I had the flu for last week's open studio for the Ravenswood Art Walk. I am very sorry if I missed any of you. This weekend, however, is the Member's Show at Lillstreet Art Center and I will be in my studio from 10-5 on Sunday, October 10th. Come on by if you can!

4401 N. Ravenswood Ave.
Chicago, IL 60640
Studio 304B (3rd floor across from the Print Studio)

I'll be painting on this:

I started it last week and put a moon in it for my moon-man son. (He has now claimed the painting for himself.)

I still have most of my work from the Bird show, so I have a lot of nicely framed paintings hanging in my studio waiting to find a home. You can go here to see the work from that show on Photobucket.

Hope to see you tomorrow!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Show at Matrix Extended!

Hello all,
I am happy to announce that there will be another 3rd Friday celebration this Friday, June 18th, at Matrix Gallery at the Zhou B. Art Center. If you weren't able to make it last time, you have another chance to come see my work as well as the other 3 floors of galleries and studios. Pierre, the gallery owner, did a wonderful job of hanging and lighting the show and you should come see my work while it's out of the dirty and chaotic studio!

After the last opening, I had the good fortune to meet Jim Pfeiffer, who invited me to talk about my work on camera. You can see the result here at Jim's website. Thank you, Jim, for making me look somewhat articulate and coherent :)

Here are the details for Friday's opening:

Matrix Gallery
Zhou B. Art Center 3rd Floor
1029 W. 35th St.
Chicago, IL 60609

Friday June 18th from 7-10pm

I will still be having my June Open Studio Saturdays and Drawing Sale, too. So many opportunities to come and see me and my work.

Details for the open studio:

Studio 304B 3rd Floor
4401 N. Ravenswood
Chicago, IL 60640

Sat June 19th and June 26th 1-5pm

Hope to see you soon!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Saturday Open Studios

Hello all,
I would like to announce my summer drawing sale starting tomorrow, Saturday 6/12, from 1-5pm and continuing on Saturdays throughout the rest of June (6/19 and 6/26). Come by to chat, browse framed and unframed paintings and drawings, and watch as new drawings are made fresh daily.

Here are some samples of the latest ink drawings framed and available:

Drawings range in price from $5-$150, but you needn't be looking to buy- you can just come to look!

Lillstreet Art Center
Studio 304B
4401 N. Ravenswood

Need directions? Can't find me? Call 773.895.9871

Hope to see you sometime this month!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Birds: Memory and Material Recent work by Melanie P. Brown

Birds: Memory and Material

I am very pleased to be showing at Chicago Matrix Gallery in the Zhou B. Center. The opening is this Friday May 21st from 7pm-10pm. The entire building will be open with art everywhere, so not only do you get to see me, you get to see the work of many other talented artists on all 4 floors. It is located at 1029 W. 35th St. in Chicago not far from the Sox stadium and red line stop. The gallery is on the 3rd floor.

I am feeling pretty good about myself for making all my own frames (don't look too close, but I dare say the ones I made over the last 2 weeks are far superior than the ones made in January. I am improving!) I know that I could do something besides home made frames, but I just want the entire thing to be made by my hands- my paintings are things, not just images.

Phineas came along today as I loaded and unloaded paintings- he slept the entire time we were at the gallery. He will be at the opening, and I'm sure Mr. Night Owl will be excited and silly. So if you'd like to see my little studio muse, he will be in attendance. He has to be- most of the paintings were at least partially painted with him sitting in my lap and/or giving me directions. "Mommy make Goopy!" "Mommy mix purple now. Now use little dark blue" He's the bossiest studio mate I've ever had, but that's what I get for rooming with a 2 year old.

My talented photographer friend, Kat Ramsland, took wonderful photos of all the work in the show. If you can't make it, or just want a preview, here are some of the pieces included in Friday's show. I'll include my artist statement for the show below all the images. Enjoy and I do hope to see you there!

(Click here to see the full catalog of images on my photobucket account.)

Bird Series- Artist Statement

The recent work was inspired not by dreams, but by an actual event I witnessed while walking my dog. I looked up and there were crows gathering on the roof of a house. I was curious, so I kept watching and saw a drama unfold. There was a nest of baby robins under the gutter of the house and the crows eventually swooped in and flew off with one of the babies and promptly began pecking it to death and eating it. The mother robin was on a rooftop just helplessly watching and the babies thought they were getting fed. I kept seeing their little mouths open as they stretched up toward their predators. It was horrible to witness, and I had to make some drawings about how much I hate crows. (I’ve been attacked and chased by a crow for about quarter of a mile in the past, so we have a history.) The amazing thing, though, is that I seemed to be the only witness of this drama even though there were a number of commuters walking home from the metra. I’ve always been aware that there are hidden worlds with epic dramas occurring right under our noses — plants strangling other plants, fights to the death among insects, even just fruit ripening and going bad, or metal rusting. There are stories all around us and I try to be open to them.

I always try to keep my imagery so personal that it is open for interpretation. By keeping my imagery limited to the bare bones of my memory, the work can resonate with the viewer on a deeper level than if I were to spell it all out in a traditional narrative.

-Melanie P. Brown 2010

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

New Show in May

Hello all-
The past 2 months have been mostly about taking care of my family as the colds and flu of the season pass through. I'm hoping my son's ear infection and terrible cough is the end of it and we can get back to the drafty studio again with a clear conscience. The show I was in at Ryerson Woods: Aviary, was a wonderful experience. The opening was well attended and even had appearances by live birds of prey. I sold a painting to another one of the artists in the show- it is a 4'x5' oil painting. It's the last oil painting I made before Phin was born and it was always his favorite to look at. I'll miss it, but I'm happy it's going to a good home. Thanks Don!

Happily, this sale will help me fund a solo show this May at Matrix Gallery in the Zhou B space in Chicago. I'm really excited for the opportunity to see all my birds together and will be harassing all of my friends, family, students, and strangers to come to the opening on May 21st.

And now for some images.

First, some unfortunate bears whom I chanced upon in a dream:

Now, some of the newer paintings/ newer versions of paintings:

18"x18" acrylic on canvas

12"x12" acrylic on canvas

2'x3' acrylic on canvas

And, of course, the cutest thing going on in my studio. Thanks for making this fantastic movie, Jane!

Happy beginning of Spring, all and hope to see you all in May!


Thursday, February 4, 2010


So I've had a lot of dreams about sewing my body:

And trading feet with someone so I could take care of her infected toe for her:

I have been more prolific with these dream drawings in the past- I'm having more vivid dreams again as my son gets older and we all get to sleep through the night again. The idea of getting up early to do this has not happened- I still remain hopeful.

The studio of late has been a good experience- Phin is still with me most of the time and paints with tempera on a big piece of paper on the wall next to me. He also sometimes sits in my lap as I paint and tries to tell me what to do "mommy mix dark blue. little white. make goopy! Put right there." I started my newest painting by allowing him to guide my color mixing and also allowed him to make some marks on the blank canvas for me to play off.

Here it is:

And here is what Phin was doing while I painted:

It's strange, but having him with me all the time has helped to focus my work. I can't sit and think and sip my coffee if I want to get anything done- I just have to do it and do it now. That directness and speed has really served me well and I'm just pushing on with the bird imagery as far as it can take me.

I am very excited that I will have every Thursday without him and can begin printing again- I have begun a new etching and am looking forward to posting new prints in the near future.

I have also been working on these two pieces- mostly done:

Acrylic on canvas 18" square

Acrylic and ink on canvas 3'x4'

I'm beginning to realize that while I make all this work I don't necessarily know what to do with it once it's done. I have decided to show as much as I can this year and have already had a group show at the Robert Wayner Gallery and will be showing elsewhere early this Spring- you can check my website for details as they come. It's not a part of art making I've been concerned with in the past, but I'm feeling more of a need to have the work seen and am now willing to part with some painting time so that framing, postcards, and proposing shows can get done.

It is coming up on midnight, so I will now go and dream and perhaps draw about it in the morning.