Melonie finds artistic outlet online
Masterworks virtual platform
Artists can now show and sell their work on a virtual platform launched this week by Masterworks Museum of Bermuda Art.
Work by more than 15 local artists is now on display at rickfariesgallery.com.
Flora Goodall, Masterworks’ art and events co-ordinator, developed the site in response to the museum’s temporary closure by Covid-19.
“The Rick Faries Gallery has always sought to connect residents to the work of contemporary artists in Bermuda,” she said of the physical space at the Paget museum.
“We recognise that many artists still require a forum for showing and selling their artwork so it was important to set up this online gallery to protect their interests.”
• Artists interested in showing their work should e-mail Flora Goodall at firstname.lastname@example.org
Before Covid-19, Melonie Lew would sit in front of her canvas and paint, inspired by the world around her.
Things have changed since Bermuda went into lockdown at the end of March.
Ms Lew’s time at home is now divided between her work in human resources and caring for her four-year-old son, Colin.
With her creativity on the back burner, she is grateful for the chance to showcase her past efforts. Four of her pieces have been included in Masterworks Museum of Bermuda Art’s new dedicated online platform.
“Flora [Goodall, Masterworks’ art and events co-ordinator] asked if there was anything I would like to showcase,” she said.
“Three of them are very similar, a beach scene with Bermuda flags — I made the Bermuda flags out of tissue paper and toothpicks — and then there’s a fourth piece which is just more of an abstract of a stormy day on the beach-type thing.
“But during this whole thing, I haven’t been very creative. I’ve found it very hard to be motivated, I don’t know why.
“It seems like we have a bit more time to do stuff, but it’s also been interesting trying to homeschool and work from home as well. I do try, but I don’t think I’ve really had a chance to sit down and paint.”
Background to the seascapes now on display are the people she painted in miniature. Each piece tells its own story.
“I find a lot of inspiration from things that are around me and through my own experiences — going to the beach, the aquarium, being a mom and spending time people watching, etc.
“Then ultimately I try to figure out how that can be translated into a painting.
“I think stories [are] the crux to what’s behind my art. I see storytelling as the foundation of any creative endeavour. [It’s almost as if I am] treating each brush stroke as a sentence that slowly builds into a bigger visualised paragraph on a canvas.
“You may not be reading words, but you can usually identify the story in artwork because of the colours being used and how the image leads your eye.”
Art classes at Saltus Grammar School led to an art degree in Wales. She gained the confidence to show her work on her return home ten years ago.
“I’m quite shy, so I do find it quite hard to show even small things. Flora at Masterworks and Nzingha [Ming, the Bermuda Society of Arts director] have always been very supportive. I don’t think I had that kind of support system in the UK to move forward.
“I was doing some life drawing lessons at BSoA and Nzingha asked me if I would show some pieces. I said yes — very reluctantly — and then it just kept snowballing after that. I was just trying to submit stuff, to step outside my little bubble, to say ‘hey, I can do this’.”
She describes her art as “a very mixed bag”.
“I do tend to stick to something more illustrative and abstract, but I do like to do portraits and mixed media. [Illustration] is just something I’ve always gravitated towards, things like children’s books and even comic books. So it’s something I’ve always attributed to my style and tried to do.”
As the pandemic has stopped people from being able to visit galleries, Ms Lew is excited about all that Masterworks’ platform is offering artists.
“With life very much being online via social media and other online platforms these days, I’m quite comfortable with the idea of seeing my art in a virtual capacity.
“I do think it will open up galleries to a wider audience as well and even prompt more visits physically to the gallery, once we’re able to do so again.
“I am not disappointed at all. I’m very pleased to have it online and out there for people to view.”
• View Melonie Lew’s work at Masterworks Museum of Bermuda Art’s online platform: rickfariesgallery.com
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