Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Abstract in Melaland - Art, Fashion, and Jewelry

Melasdesign Abstract Intro

As I write, it's the end of October, and while ghosts and ghouls are still on my mind, I'm finding time on this chilly, dreary day to reflect on the non-Halloween work of the last while. After a concentrated period of illustration work on the Dream Series (Society6 / RedBubble), I needed to cut loose and explore my abstract inclinations. Here I'm featuring work in two areas: artwork as compositions for wall art, also to be used for fashion, home decor, bags, and tech, and then handmade metal clay jewelry, which is of abstract sculptural nature. 

Since the opening of my art-to-product shops two years ago, I've regularly produced abstract photomanipulations, which is something I've enjoyed doing since the near advent of Photoshop. Now I'm taking things a step further, creating actual paintings and using them as is, or as a springboard for further digital images. In some cases the line between the two mediums is blurred. It's been very satisfying to get back to the organic aspect of "real" painting. 

Fashion by Melasdesign on RedBubble
Fashion by Melasdesign on RedBubble

Metal clay is a medium where I'm finally hitting my stride. I work with fine silver, copper, and bronze metals, and have found that my best work results in thinking sculpturally, rather than purely objectively. The examples below are my original work and can be found for sale in the Melasdesign Handmade Shop, along with original paintings and some fiber work. I concentrate on making pendants, because I do not have to think in such a way that the object be duplicated, as I would with earrings, which frees me to do more organic forms than otherwise (at this point in my development).


Here's an image that made a splash, so titled in reference to palette knife work. I'd love to see this made into a puzzle, but I am not that mean. ;) Irregular repetition makes a colorful treat for the eyes. This work is fun as wall art, but also looks great on fashion and home decor. It even makes a crazy phone case.

Knifed by Melasdesign

Blue Silver Melting Heart Pendant

This is a sculptural pendant piece of Fine Silver which is set off by copper wire and a bold 3mm leather cord. The blue-to-purple-to-yellow patina has been lacquered for permanency, so no worries about this piece getting tarnished. It will keep the lovely hues that formed so surprisingly in the patina process. It's a heart for those too cool to wear a heart pendant! ;)

Blue Silver Melting Heart Pendant by Melasdesign


As mentioned in the introduction, I've been doing a lot of painting lately. I've also been experimenting with broadening my palette. With this piece, I had fun with the best slices from the past few months. It is an eye-catching composition that has been popular both as is and as fashion design (on RedBubble). It reminds me of the ends of record album covers on a shelf. 

Stripped by Melasdesign

Vertebrate Object Fine Silver Pendant

Since it was nearing October when I made this pendant in Fine Silver, I got to thinking about monsters and aliens. I ended up with this design, which reminds me of the spine of a bug/vertebrate hybrid monster that could star in its own sci-fi/horror movie. The patina came out a spectacular silver-black. The pendant has been varnished to maintain the effect.

Vertebrate Object Pendant by Melasdesign

612 Lake View Terrace

This is the result of gaining access to better camera tech than I've had thus far. Pure and simple. The painting is in oil and measures about a foot square, and is from the early 2010's. I've uploaded the image to my art-to-product shops, so it may be found on many different products. The original is available in the Melasdesign Handmade Shop. The image created reminds me of an aerial view of a home with a terrace on a sunny day that's lakeside to Lake Michigan. Knife paintings seem to be very popular, so consider adding one to your collection. I believe they are a form of abstract art that is accessible to all, in that the process is easily understood.

612 Lake View Terrace by Melasdesign

Circle Wedges Fine Silver Pendant

Here's another hand-sculpted piece with black patina. It is hand-built of geometric shapes, set off by a ring that's organic in nature. The piece's bale is on the reverse side of the circle, so the pendant hangs in front of the neck wire and not below it. This was formed from my wish to combine typical geometric jewelry forms with an organic element.  

Circle Wedges Fine Silver Pendant by Melasdesign

Raw Emotion

Moody and colorful, with earth tones in contrast to bright colors, I called this one "Raw Emotion," because it brought to mind a visual of the inner-workings of someone who is conflicted, but leaning to the positive side of things. Colors crash like waves. This piece looks absolutely stunning on RedBubble fashion and also is served up nicely in a framed setting.

Abstract Emotion by Melasdesign

Organic Form Copper Pendant

This piece from metal clay is copper with a light patina on 3mm black leather cord. I'm so used to seeing geometrically based jewelry that I decided to explore more flowing, organic forms. It's an abstract shape for the sake of abstraction.

Organice Form Copper Pendant by Melasdesign

Fall is Fading

This digital abstract was made as a reaction to the #metoo campaign ignited in response to Harvey Weinstein sexual abuse allegations. I wussed out and titled it "Fall is Fading" for longevity's sake, instead of "Me Too," as I had considered. Fall *is* fading, so the title fits, BUT the real energy behind the painting had to do with past experiences and the sickening feeling of seeing how many friends and colleagues also said "me too." Sexual harassment, to abuse and violence by strangers, even to familial sexual abuse are *NOT* uncommon things, although many victims (and the public) are led to believe so in an attempt to silence them (or told they will have no power in court, or that nobody will believe them, or, or, or,....). I've done a lot of research, and the statistics are horrifying. Even in the midst of the #metoo campaign, I ran into people who said "well, you know, it's not that common." It is distressingly common, and few are being held accountable. Something's gotta give. May there one day be results from strength in numbers.

Fall is Fading by Melasdesign

Crescent Moon Pendant

In the same way I made a non-stereotypical heart above, with this pendant I chose to explore the crescent moon. It is made of copper, and the slight cracking that occurred in firing add to the organic feel of the piece. This one is for the mystics!

Crescent Moon Pendant by Melasdesign

Hot Hot Hot

This is another original knife painting in oil on canvas which measures 12x12. It was originally made for a gallery show having to do with images dealing with fire. The reds and yellows are offset by streaks of gold-toned paint. I made the motion of the palette knife make flame-like shapes out of the raised paint. The title is borrowed from a song by the Cure. The original painting is still available. Please contact me if you are interested in purchasing it. Otherwise, it is also available on a wide variety of merch in the following shops:

Hot Hot Hot by Melasdesign

Fall Cat Pattern

The last two graphics are actually patterns, but there are quite a few abstract cats if you look closely. The cats and swirls create a complex pattern reminiscent of damask. I prefer it on home decor! My pup is shown modeling a pillow below. 

Fall Cat Pattern by Melasdesign

There Are Cats Pattern

A reworking of the above graphic with a decidedly different color scheme.

There Are Cats Pattern by Melasdesign

Elsa the Wonder Dog

What better than a black beauty to set off a lovely fall colored pattern?

Monday, September 25, 2017

Halloween Collection 2017

Halloween Collection 2017 Melasdesign Preview
A Partial Preview of Melasdesign Creepiness for 2017 - Read On For Fashion, Home Decor and More!

It's officially Fall, or Autumn if you will. As the days grow shorter, things start getting colorful towards the warm end of the spectrum, and things start getting spooky. It's getting to be my favorite time of year! As is my habit, I go full force into Halloween designs and love every second of it, be it moody and macabre, or light hearted and whimsical. I appreciate both extremes. Halloween holds a special place in my heart, because it's a great time for kids to get to simply be kids. It is an occasion for the imagination to run wild. Is that shadow a ghost, or is my neighbor a wicked witch? Maybe so. Everything is possible on October 31. For the more serious Halloween celebrants, I have created art to adorn your wardrobe at your favorite gathering, or macabre images to decorate your home. Read onwards and enter the Halloween World of Melasdesign.

Complete Melasdesign Halloween Collection 2017

Halloween Dream Town

I'll start things off with a design that serves both as cute Halloween and is also a design from the Dream Series (see my last two blog posts for more Dream Series art): "On a trip to the country we come upon a place with grave warnings of danger and trespass, but a glimpse through the darkness shows a warm glow. The town is awash in twilight and flames of bonfires and crescent moons illuminate the area. It is always Halloween here. We will be welcome." This is about as cute as I ever get, but this is one season where I don't even mind it. The landscape was definitely inspired by trips to West Virginia. You can even see a haunted mine. The dream was so wonderful - the kind where you wake up with a smile. I had to keep it in my head for months until I drew this. I hope the town offers an enjoyable experience for you too!

Halloween Dream Town by Melasdesign

Halloween Dream Town Mug by Melasdesign

Ravens and Crows

The next piece is a product of being a bit of an artwork hoarder. I have many pieces that I make, but don't use. I tend to save them, because there's always a possibility I can made something better out of them when I feel so inspired. That was exactly the case with a lowly raven painting on canvas board that I had done as an experiment in the early 2000's. Fast forward 15+ years later, and it found new life with the help of photo editing software. This piece is a knockout on home decor (best on Society6) and fashion (on RedBubble)! I think it's a knock-out, because it found me doing a little happy dance when I saw it on the products. I am happy to say that was the case for each design this year!

Ravens and Crows by Melasdesign

Ravens and Crows by Melasdesign
Ravens and Crows by Melasdesign

Roses Black Widow

This contrasty graphic was a long time coming and is catching people's eyes from USA to Europe. It started as a photomanipulation with roses, web, and an iron cross ring, all in black and white, again from the early 2000's. A bit of editing and the perfect spider, and the piece gains a whole new life. What do you think? Suitably romantic? ;) Decidedly Victorian. I've turned into a fashion designer!

Skulls Purple Rouge

Since I was so excited about the last artwork, I decided to take the goth inclined Halloween pattern design further. I have a good time telling folks that I've designed skull artwork. This inevitably is met with indifferent and bored reactions. When I show them this, they tend to exclaim something along the lines of surprise and amazement. For me, it's almost like a filagree pattern, but if you look closely, it is made up exclusively of skulls, coffins and bats. I could imagine this in any vampire's den! The notebook is only from RedBubble.

Skulls Purple Rouge by Melasdesign

Skulls Purple Rouge by Melasdesign

Skulls Purple Rouge by Melasdesign

Skull Coffin, Bat

So, this is actually the end product of the acrylic painting that Skull Purple Rouge (see above) was taken from. It's quite the Expressionist celebration of darkness, while actaully being pretty bright. The original painting is available in the Melasdesign Handmade Shop. It's available on all the usual merch on my art-to-product sites, with my favorite items shown. It is available in straight wall art form too. 

Skull Coffin Bat by Melasdesign

Skull Coffin Bat by Melasdesign

Glowing Green Skeleton Dream

Now let's swing the style pendulum back in the direction of cute. Meant to be more humorous than kitschy, it's still on the whimsical side. It's another entry for the Dream Series. "I awake with a shriek as I sense that I am not alone in the room. There are two illuminated skeletons, glowing depression glass green. I am too scared to look, until I realize they are just tricksters. It is Grandma and Granddad popped in for a visit. I laugh." Yes, it happened! 

Glowing Green Skeleton Dream by Melasdesign

Glowing Green Skeleton Dream by Melasdesign

Night Sky in Autumn

Taking a break from ghosts and goblins, here's a celebration of the autumnal night sky, highlighted with Halloween and Fall colors. Full moon Halloweens are always the most atmospheric, but there are plenty with a crescent moon. I was in New Orleans once in October and did actually see a red crescent moon. Very special. This art is for those who celebrate Halloween a bit differently. A midnight moon is a special thing.

Night Sky in Autumn by Melasdesign

Ghosts Emerging

The next haunting pattern was drawn from a painting (see Ghosts and Shadow People). Can you guess what the painting looks like? This design is slightly art-deco in my mind. Makes decidedly gruesome decor, or frightening fashion. See how many spirits you can count! I wanted to design clothing that would go with black and be dark too. After this it's back to bright colors!

Ghosts Emerging by Melasdesign

Ghosts Emerging by Melasdesign

Ghosts Emerging by Melasdesign

Moon Stars Ornate Pattern

As was the case last Halloween, I chose to do some straight pattern work again. The design below is made up of crescent moons and stars. It's a bit damask and definitely complex. A wonderful piece on all home decor and fashion, perfectly suitable for any witch. Journals and iPhones are fun too! A non-Halloween color scheme, for those who need an alternative.

Moon Stars Ornate Pattern by Melasdesign

Ghosts and Shadow People

And now, the final painting from which the "Ghosts Emerging" (see above) is derived. It creeps *me* out when viewed at original size. It is probably the most expressionistic painting I have ever done. Shadow figures turn into ghosts' eye holes, into more shadows....  The original acrylic on gessoed paper is available in the Melasdesign Handmade Shop. It's creepy on the whole range of usual merch, with T's from both stores, scarves and fashion from RedBubble. I am not even going to expand upon how morbid the rug on S6 looks!

Ghosts and Shadow People by Melasdesign

Ghosts and Shadow People by Melasdesign

Ghosts and Shadow People by Melasdesign

Ghost Upholstery

 I edited this variation on "Ghosts and Shadow People" heavily, so there is lots of detail not to visible in small pictures.  Look at as big of a graphic as you can on the shop sites. Even without the eye-glass, this art reminds me so much of a pattern you might have seen a carpetbagger in the time of the Reconstruction use, so I named it "Ghost Upholstery." It's a complete exit from my usual colorful tendencies, but I think the muted color tones also serve to give the pattern a more textile-like feel. Oh, and by the way, the iPhone 10 and 8x cases are available for order on both shop sites!

Ghost Upholstery by Melasdesign

Crescent Moon Stars Pattern

And finally, a reworked version of the pattern posted above. It's so interesting to me how coloration changes the life of a design. This version has much more obvious colors for the Halloween season, and could make a magical top on October 31! Fun as fashion or home decor.

Crescent Moon Stars Pattern by Melasdesign

Okay. That's been a pretty intense few weeks of design. I hope you'll make some of this artwork part of your Halloween celebration! There may be even more to come...... Stay tuned. Have a happy and safe Halloweentime. 

Want more Halloween? 

Then see last year's collection: click here.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Dreams and the Psyche of the Artist

This month's blog is a continuation from last month of commentary on the Dream Series illustrations available on Society6 and RedBubble as wall art, clothing, iphones, homedecor, bags and sundry other items. Once again, I have chosen to concentrate on the original view of the artwork for sake of emphasizing the story. 

As with the artwork from last month, I am working on the Dream Series in hopes of creating art that is more of a personal expression than my other designs may have been. I dream vividly, and have long been fascinated by dream imagery of my own or others. Dreams are deeply personal, yet may indeed have archetypes that many dream of. Everyone has their own take. I hope to showcase my vision here.

Circle Gateway Dream

"Here I am at the tram stop again. There is a city gate, made of stone, but reflective like metal. The scene always has an element from an amusement park. I recall the spirit of my mother."

Another dream setting I have is European as European can be, but I'm never sure what city it is. My gut feeling is that it's Vienna, Austria, and I think I'm traveling by way of Hannover, Germany. The main obvious thing in the dream is that I've been riding on a tram (my trams can travel through different countries!), and there is a stop on a curved section of track that lets off right by a city gate, which is notably metallic, although made of stone. There are lots of bright colors and a feeling that I'm in an amusement park - hence the carousel. Sometimes it is the famous Viennese Ferris Wheel. BTW - this is sold on RedBubble, where the automatic German translator decided to translate "merry-go-round" directly. Doesn't work!!! When I have this dream I awaken with lingering thoughts about my mother - good thoughts - probably the wish that we could've travelled together more.

Dry Cleaner Horror

"The dry cleaner had an immense building, but only a small service space. What was the extra room used for? Surely terrible things were going on unseen. Mangling, steam, and such - an array of contraptions too hideous to be shown. With ill luck, one would hang in the relayer, as if hung out to dry."

This one. In this case I took a horrible dream and changed the viewpoint, making a somewhat comical end product. In the dream, I am the one hung up, and I can't get off the hanger. I am left to go round and round the interior of the dry cleaner's forever. It may sound innocent, but there's a dangerous steaming and mangling process to go through, and I can't get off the relayer!!!! Not fun. The relayer also goes really far off the ground at some point - something which is also unpleasant to me. As soon as height was reached, the hanger would start to jiggle, trying to let me loose, but at that height it would have been quite a fall. It was no doubt inspired to trips on errands to pick up cleaning when I was little and didn't understand much about the cleaners, other than that lots of hot, uncomfortable processes were involved. Here I went more for a feeling of how odd it would be to see someone *in* one of the hanging suits! 

The Dreaded Aqueduct

“Complete darkness. In a blast of consciousness, I find myself atop an ancient aqueduct. I am solidly aware of the wind blowing around me and the impossible height I find myself at. The stone blocks are crumbling, but water still flows. The landscape is achingly beautiful. I dream of an aqueduct.”

For the life of me, I cannot figure out why I have a phobia of canals and aqueducts, but they completely weird me out. At least I have seen a few canals. I have never seen an aqueduct that I can recall, and I had this dream starting at a young age. It still pops into my head every now and again. Sometimes I'm terrified, and other times I just enjoy the view, while resigning myself to being stuck. I never actually see the water above me, but it's an aqueduct after all, so it's there. I feel like I can hear it flowing above me. The view is of a lush green landscape in mountainous terrain. The feeling of wind is very distinct, and it makes the height I'm at seem even more dizzying. The aqueduct spans such a wide area that my thoughts of trying to cross it bear little fruit.

Eclipse Dream

"Pinhole camera and special glasses in hand, we head to the field. The birds prepare for sundown, unaware of nature's plot. I wonder if this is a time of change, brought about by partial darkness. I know there's no answer, but a wonderful eclipse."

Sometimes I dream of the solar eclipse that took place during junior high school, way back when. It was a moving experience, but the setting was awful. We awkward early-teens got to go out to the asphalt bus loading area beside our remodeled 1950's school, and use the pinhole cameras we had fastidiously made in class. At least I think it was in class. Maybe homework??? We all wished we could be outside for the entire experience, of course, but the powers that be had it times down to the height of the event. I took liberties with the setting of this picture, for artistic purposes. It was a different experience then. No internet. No "eclipse viewing glasses." No digital cameras. And life was slower then too..... That in a way stays true with the eclipse. The moon passes at it's own lumbering pace, but that 2 minute period where the movement becomes very obvious is exhilarating.  

Crossroads Guardian Dream

"A guardian watcher spirit at the crossroads fends off those unworthy of passage to the next realm. An all seeing, all powerful gaze, warding away evil. I must pass through the crossing before achieving any forward movement. the shots from the statuary are fierce. I must lay low and go forth."

I had this dream repeatedly at a terrible time in my life, when I seemed to be beset upon by all sides. The road in the dream was at an intersection between my place of work and my home. In my dream, the intersection had Chinese Lion statuary that wasn't there in real life. As best as I can tell, the Guardian character was inspired by an old set of tarot cards, whose name and artist I have unfortunately lost track of. Please rest assured that the Guardian here is meant to be a powerful image of spiritual truth and the safe-keeping thereof. His gaze emits light and energy flows forth through his fingertips. I have no idea about those lions, but that the Guardian was also fending them off!!! All I know is it's a drag when laser beams are threatening to decimate you. It's like "Big Trouble in Little China" or something. Very bizarre and nothing of the sort was anywhere in my midst in real life. 

2nd Grade Play Dream

"It was 2nd grade, time for the school play. We were to make the set, along with a huge, scaley dragon, from a sheet and some tempera. I felt I had a purpose more meaningful than most school subjects, to make the beast who lived on an island. The hallway transformed."

This is a very happy dream whose setting recurs now and then. I believe it was 2nd grade (possibly 3rd, but I don't think so), when it was time for our class to make a play of a childrens' book we had been reading. We were divided into actors, prop actors, and set makers. I got to be one of the lucky ones (in my mind) who got to work on the set. I remember the story was about a dragon who lived on an island. As we busied ourselves making palm trees, and bushes, the teacher led a few in creating what seemed like a massive head for the dragon. As time went on, we could hear the actors practicing their lines. I remember this distinctly, because the narrator always said "is-land" instead of "i-land," and that word came up often. The teacher unfurled sheeting, and we kids attacked the cloth with tempera to make scales. The teacher bade us all to be careful with the paint, but of course some was spilled. I honestly don't remember the play, but in the dream I'm happily painting scales and imagining what a ferocious beastie this would be.

Those are the features for this month's blog installation. I will continue on with the series, as long as the muse hits. I'd love to hear your comments! Stay tuned for more. I also added a few patterns, which are very happy matches with S6 home decor and RedBubble fashion. Surf on by for Mela threads.