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.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Dream Series, Horror and Fantasy Illustrations and Stories

Nothing but a Dreamer

Welcome to this month's blog, presenting a collection of drawings which I am calling "The Dream Series." This will most likely be an ongoing project, because I am quite the dreamer. I wanted to make my artwork a bit more personal, and what could be more personal than dreams? Nobody else is going to have your dream, right? Although I admittedly have more nightmares than pleasant dreams, I am doing my best to balance sides one for one, for sake of highlighting that my life is not just a nightmare! Some of these were recurring dreams, and others were singular occurrences that made a lasting impression. I decided to couple many of the images with text in the graphic to give a bit of a bigger explanation as to the content of the dream. 

All of the artwork below is available on Society6 and RedBubble on many products, including fun fashion (sans text) and home decor. I am not sharing product images this time, because I would like the emphasis to be on the original view of the artwork, as it is available for wall art. I invite you to see if you can relate to any of the dreams below, or if they stir something within you. It's an interesting exercise in psychology. 

Dream Series Introduction

Dream Series Introduction - Susan Phillips Hicks

Hi! It's me! This is my fourth-ever self portrait. Folks say it is accurate. My third-ever self portrait wasn't quite so successful, although I have been told it catches part of my essence. My husband accused me of making it look like Mick Jagger. So, yes, I figured if I was going to show my dreams, I'd have to show the dreamer. Don't let the grey hair throw you! I'm younger than that! I got my first grey hair when I was 9, if that tells you anything. As for the text, it's always impressive when you wake up from a dream and can point exactly in your life as to what has inspired it, and possibly what your subconscious is trying to tell you. Of course other dreams are complete nonsense, but always interesting. 

Beach Dream

Beach Dream - Susan Phillips Hicks

A cold, desolate, icky dream, where you're hardly there, and stuck on an isolated shore, staring out at ominous, pulsating rocks, that somehow put forth a threatening energy. In my dream, the water has more of a lake feel than the ocean. The dream image is not quite so foggy, and the water is placid, but it feels so cold! I had to bring this out in the drawing somehow. Was I successful? That was the dream. A lingering scene.

When Girls Fly

When Girls Fly - Susan Phillips Hicks

"I lived at the top of a hill. I would run down the street. The wind was formidable, and I felt I could walk with my body leaning into it. If I could do this, I could certainly take flight with an umbrella.... Certainly.... An exhilarating feeling. I was free as a bird."

A vivid dream from my youth, featuring my childhood street and a celebration of bright, windy March days. I lived at the top of a hill, and it was always sooooo tempting to run down it, sometimes with adverse results (see text in pic). I would raise my umbrella, wait for a blast of wind, jump into it like a hang-glider and lift off to fly above my town and onwards, outwards to the bigger world. The dream was happy, but full of adrenaline at managing such a feat. Would I stay airborne? Sometimes I'd float back to Earth, but with a proper pounce, could fly higher again. I'd say at that age multiple viewings of Mary Poppins inspired me! :)

Lampshade Man Fright

Lampshade Man Fright - Susan Phillips Hicks

"He returned night after night to haunt me, until one night when I pulled the lamp chain and turned off his light. He never returned." 

Horrible. Horrible. Horrible. Horrible. This evil apparition would come out of the walk-in closet in my bedroom as a girl and threaten death and destruction, every night. I ran. That was all I could do. Every night I ran to the other end of the house and ended up in my parents' bathroom, where I could successfully lock the door (and wake up). Completely terrifying and haunting. I dreaded going to sleep, it was so bad. But I'm a sly cookie, and eventually I noticed I could get a step or two ahead. The dream changed slowly, and I did my best to gain an advantage with each further dreaming. Finally, one night, who knows how long later, I had the presence of mind to distract Mr. Lampshade Man by pointing to the ceiling. He looked up and I pulled the chain on his lamp-head to turn his light off. His light turned off, and he collapsed to the ground. Streamers and balloons fell from the ceiling. I awoke, never to have the dream again. 



"When I saw U2 before I saw U2 I was Bono. A very strange position to be in. I felt godlike, but was also trepidatious that I might fall of the riser. Later on at the actual concert, from the audience, everything seemed so familiar. I realized I had truly been seeing the stage from his vantage point."

So I used to have dreams about U2, or more specifically, Bono - either just hanging with Bono or being Bono (not something I think I'd really ever want!!!!). I had a dream where "I" was at a show rehearsal and was mainly worried about learning the stage layout, so's not to fall off a riser. In another dream "I" was pressed up against a display in concert and feeling very infatuated by a belly dancer. (??) The dreams were colorful. Bono was an okay guy to hang out with. The plot thickened later when I went to see U2's Elevation tour live. I realized it was the same stage set up as in my dream, and I had apparently been seeing it from Bono's point of view. I had never seen pics of the stage or show before showing up at the concert. Later in the show, Bono did the wall pose with the image of a belly dancer up on the megascreen. Very strange. Very true. ---- PS This drawing is not for sale. Ickiness from Live Nation has hindered me! 

Sick Again - Scary Clown

Sick Again - Scary Clown - Susan Phillips Hicks

"Sick again. The escalator is speeding unavoidably upwards. The demented clown looms, cackling, at the top. Why does this always happen after Abbott and Costello?"

Another recurring nightmare from my youth. It happened every time I got sick, and kids are sick a lot. It was also in combination with watching old shows by Abbott and Costello while I was home from school. I'd be getting shoved on a rickety old escalator, going way too fast, with walls on either side, opening up at the landing to THAT!!!!! - this clown that would be tiny, but for a big, crazy, laughing head with awful, jagged teeth! And he was always laughing diabolically. The head was round, just like a tennis ball, and clown-face white, but for the shocks of orange hair and clown-mouth make-up. And onward I sped! Sometimes the area would be in flames, sometimes otherwise, but the clown was a constant. It is evident to me now that Bozo was the inspiration for this dream. It was so scary that recently when I loaded a Facebook picture of a girl playing with a Bozo punching bag, I shrieked! - all these years later. 

Dreaming the Muse

Dreaming the Muse - Susan Phillips Hicks

"Sometimes I dream without seeing. I dream of music I have never heard before. It is a song as beautiful as a vivid butterfly. One that only exists for me. The instruments are ethereal and not of this world. Is it my muse? Such beauty, but like a butterfly, it flies away and leaves me to reality."

Another sort of self-portrait. How to put a non-visual dream into an image? I recalled the music I heard, and it was as light and flowing as a butterfly - a butterfly with fairy dust, glowing, shifting colors - a beautiful song. Maybe it is a message from my muse. I think it does represent how important music has been to me throughout my life, and how hearing a song can take you to a different place that is not of the material world.

The Electric Cellmate

The Electric Cellmate - Susan Phillips Hicks

"Locked in a cell. I had a roommate. But when I woke up there was a death machine. Bolts of electricity encompassed the cell. I had to see what was marked on the calendar."

I only had this nightmare about 3 times, but I will never forget it. I was locked in a cell (don't know why), when my roommate's face opened up, revealing she had really been a machine all along, and this contraption came out, not unlike the rising of the projector in an old planetarium. Then the balls started spinning and emitting deadly bolts of electricity, which crawled the air and the walls, leaving me to huddle and make myself as small as possible to avoid harm. Every time I spied the page of a day-to-day calendar, and a shell on the floor across the cell. For some reason I knew I was supposed to get to there to read the calendar, but I couldn't. The room was filled with electricity.

My Dream World

My Dream World - Susan Phillips Hicks

"There is a city I dream of which is busy and flourishing. Artists took over the basement of an abandoned building. Eventually the collective was official and the town grew. Sometimes I rush to the Metro for a train that is never direct."

My. Dream. World. This one is a misch-masch of what I call "dream settings." I put them all into one scene. The start-off point is an art-studio area that is really just the basement of an abandoned building. The artists were unfettered by rules, regulations, and marketing, and did what they pleased. I joined them, working on everything from installations, to sculpture, to paintings. The movement grew and started a gallery for the public, while keeping some of the work space. Down the hill (but up worked better here) was a Metro stop, which I used daily. The trains were always unannounced and there was never a direct route anywhere. One exit in the station always opens to Kaufhof department store in Munich. One train had a habit of ending up in Austria - another in Paris. Others didn't magically cross the ocean and were much more straight forward, albeit to less exotic destinations. The jewelry store is also "real" from the dream - fun jewelry - artsy jewelry. Why not call it Bling? The other elements are just added to round out what I would find pleasant in a city block.  

Canals Make Me Feel Eerie

Canals Make Me Feel Eerie - Susan Phillips Hicks

"Consciousness hits. I am submerged in the water of a stagnant canal. There is something in the water beneath me. I cannot surface, yet I can breathe."

I took a bit of artistic license with this one, and it is a subtle image. The viewpoint has changed to that of an observer. In the dream point-of-view, I am the girl under water. In the dream, I cannot see the monster (look in the water!), but I know something is there. Something bad. I can't change my position, and the water is dark and murky, yet I don't drown. A sort of threatening limbo. And no, I am not a big fan of canals.

And the last dream for this blog (there are more to come) is above. It is a series I will keep adding to and will cover further in this blog. What was your recurring dream? (Answer in comments!)

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Summer Art, Paris Accord, Fantasy, Selective Color, and Motivation

Welcome to Summer. After a chilly holiday weekend, now the pools are filled. People are hitting the highways to go to the beach. School is out (or almost!), and everyone's thinking about Summer fun. My palette has made a shift to bright, rainbow colors, for fun Summer clothing and beach towels. 

First up is "Splash." Kids are swimming and the scene around the pool is decidedly bright. I love seeing people enjoying themselves. I decided to try to encapsulate the joy in a drawing, and this is the result. This designs makes up my favorite beach towel design yet, found on S6.

Splash by Susan Phillips Hicks of Melasdesign

Keeping the vivid color scheme, I felt so moved as to create a piece in answer to Trump having the US exit from the Paris Accord. We are dependent on nature for life. He thinks life only has to do with money (and ratings). My idea was to make a design that harkened to the hippie era, with a slogan from then that rings true again: "Love Your Mother." The flowers are entangled with vines in a bunch to represent the entanglement of humans with the ecosystem. 

With Text: RedBubble

Love Your Mother by Susan Phillips Hicks of Melasdesign

Going backwards chronologically, my dear husband, on our anniversary, presented me with so many roses I felt like I had won the Kentucky Derby. I took the opportunity to have a photo shoot. I toned the colors down a bit and went for a more typically commercial style. Sometimes I do that just to remind myself that I *can*, even if I don't usually choose to. So, Sweetie, thank you. I love you beyond all else, even the dog. ;) This is called "Anniversary 8 Fade." 

Anniversary 8 Fade by Susan Phillips Hicks of Melasdesign

Another Summer design is "Spider Eye Mandala," created in 4 eye popping color schemes, plus one painterly piece. My personal favorite is the pink background, but the design has been getting attention across the board. I think it's perfect for textiles. It's more or less a stream of consciousness radial pattern. Kind of psychedelic, but definitely Mela. 

Mandalas: S6 / RedBubble
Spider Eye Splat: S6 / RedBubble

Spider Eye Mandala and Spider Eye Splat by Susan Phillips Hicks of Melasdesign

Spider Eye Mandala and Spider Eye Splat by Susan Phillips Hicks of Melasdesign

Now the latest in my series of monsters: "Zen No Akuma" or Zen Demon. The Kabuki inspired beast guards the spiritual passageway to Mount Fuji. Only true Zen Archers may pass. A crane soars over accompanying the spirit of a past Archer on to the next plane. Such things are best done at sunrise, at this specific arch, which once served as an entrance to a Zen Temple. Only the arch remains, but the past monks spirited the Zen Demon to life to ward away unclean souls. 

Zen No Akuma by Susan Phillips Hicks of Melasdesign

Back even earlier, I created "Pictures of Matchstick Men," mainly as an experiment of new brushes and selective color. 

Pictures of Matchstick Men by Susan Phillips Hicks of Melasdesign

And lastly, it's Summer!!!!! Turn off the TV, computer, and phone, and enjoy each other and life. 

Live Beyond the Screen by Susan Phillips Hicks of Melasdesign
Next month has a little something different in store. Look forward to a series of drawings that explore my life experiences and dreams. The subject matter will definitely be different! Stay tuned.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

A Cat, Monsters with Stories, Architectural Abstract, and Bold Statements.

It's blog time again. What a month. I had the world's longest case of the flu, followed up by an overpowering sinus infection and antibiotics. It definitely shaped my work this month. I was laggardly in finishing a commission series, but finally had a five day pause in between maladies where I could work at full power. Then I decided to do monsters. This started, because I was having fever nightmares. I decided to combat their ills by making light-hearted monsters of my own. This also ties in to my wish to some day get it together enough to make children's storybook illustrations. This is just an experiment, with general plot lines, but you might as well start trying your hand at your wish somehow, right? So these are what happened with the small amount of energy I had to spare.

The Favorite Cat

The final in my last series of cat portraits. This is Indigo, the sweetheart of the bunch. This closes off the series with tie-in motifs of flowers, and silhouettes. See the last few blog entries for the other cats in the series. 

The Favorite Cat by Melasdesign

This month found me making monsters. I got my hand on some new drawing apps and decided to do something frivolous and full of fantasy. I had always wanted to make monsters and I am a big fan of other monster makers, so it was time. This beastie is a behemoth in the ranks of Godzilla. Even the mountains and storm won't hold him back from making waste of the towering buildings below him. It's what I call "Bad Night," made after a bad night. Read further for more beasties!

Bad Night by Melasdesign

This is "Cathedral Deconstruction." It started as a few brush strokes in black on white paper and ended up as this. The design reminds me of looking straight up at the dome of a cathedral. I wanted this design to be soft and not as bold as my usual work. S6 just put out floor pillows, which was happy timing for this work.

Cathedral Deconstruction by Melasdesign

I've been distressed by how much television, reality television, and dubious news outlets have shaped the behavior of current society in the US. Even the President is relying first and foremost on television shows for policy that could effect the whole world. People seem to be increasingly losing the ability to realize that television. is. not. real. Aside from that, the couch potato phenomenon isn't helping things either. People are giving up their own lives to live vicariously through a fictional other. TVs are babysitters, and an easy way out, rather than real, human, one on one time. So this is my little protest. There are also two other designs on CafePress without the stripes. 

Do More Than Watch TV - Motivation from Melasdesign

Here you have the photomontage "The Rainbow Finder." One afternoon last month there was the most beautiful rainbow to be seen from my home. It lasted and lasted. It occurred to me to get shots of it. Photographing rainbows is hard, and I couldn't use the image as a solo shot, so I made something entirely new using the photos I caught that day. 

Rainbow Finder by Melasdesign

Enter the fearsome Doodlethwumpus. He has been known to slay many a gallant knight in the halls of his medieval castle. He earned his name from the awkward sound he makes when he walks, or more appropriately thwumps around. In all actuality, he's a kind beast, but he doesn't like armor, so most knights are out of luck. This breeds great misperception in the populace, so more and more knights get sent in. Their fate is either to get charred, stabbed, or strangled by the plumes on his tail. He does have a secret though. In the back of his castle is a wondrous garden, with flowers, a pond, and all sorts of colorful animals. The children of the town love to sneak in at night, and it doesn't bother this beast one bit. He quite likes seeing the kids be joyful, and just hopes they don't grow up to wear armor.

The Doodlethwumpus by Melasdesign

I decided to let my imagination run some more with the drawing "Big Bang as Seen From Afar." I wanted to put my own spin on a Dr. Seussish world that's definitely alien. Protozoic shapes make the tops of the stretching trees. Purple land growth extends from the trail of slime left by the drawing's main character. The Lampra is just slugging along as our universe is formed in the distance. All tentacles are extended in surprise with the great blast echoing behind him. The humongous explosion became the stuff of myth in the Lampra culture. There were many stories about alien invaders, but they all got written off as crackpot ravings.

Big Bang as Seen From Afar by Melasdesign

Let me introduce the Bobblegrinder - the latest in my series of imaginary beasties. The Bobblegrinder is a rover on a distant desert planet. Part organic being and part machine, his spiky exterior helps in trekking through the rocky terrain and also serves to defend from oncoming threats. Its single eye surveys the landscape, ever ready to spy any incoming ships to the planet Dingbart. The other residents of the planet are admittedly a bit Zen for aliens, and are known for their beautiful stone stacking in the barren landscape.

The Bobblegrinder by Melasdesign

Finishing off with some protest art. I have been appalled and amazed at the lack of humanity in the GOP leadership, reflected by the ingenious healthcare proposal so bad that even their own party wouldn't back it due to the uproar. Way to go, fellas. I can't wait for the day when you are old and sick and everyone turns their back on you.... but wait!!! That won't happen, because you are filthy rich, and thus impenetrable. I have no words for such a lack of compassion.

Republican Healthcare Proposal by Melasdesign

That was about it for protest this month, because so much bad happened that I couldn't even bring myself to make satirical art out of it (*ahem* [paraphrase] "It's not like Hitler used gas on his own people"....). See the other protest art I had already brought myself to make here

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Spring born of Winter

This month's artwork is an observation of the seasons changing, with Spring hitting while the Winter we didn't have much of still tries to hold on with grasping claws. While everyone is raring at the bit for warm weather, I'm wondering why we didn't get more snow here in Alexandria. Suffice to say, I have taken advantage of the good weather with some day trips, dog park visits and even a concert or two. The following encapsulates the active experience and mood of this time. 

Off Season is a digital abstract work which celebrates a recent balmy February (!!) day in Ocean City, Maryland. The rides loom in the distance like the shadow of a distant memory of Summer, but with the thought that the best Summer is yet to come. The beach remains, frequented by more dogs than people, and even in February, kids are allowed to be kids there. It is at once dreamy and typical of Winter light. For me, the Boardwalk is a sentimental place. I look forward to returning when the Ferris Wheel is open, and I get to see kids experiencing the same age old joy. 

Off Season

Off Season, Ocean City, Maryland artwork from Susan Phillips Hicks

For more Ocean City, Maryland, how could I pass up a photo op of the Ocean Gallery landmark on the boardwalk? Once you've seen this place, you never quite forget it. There is lots of art, and barely any room to move. Just like the exterior walls, which are so filled with signage that a bird couldn't even roost. You have to admire the quirky advertising, and confident, affable pronouncements about the product inside. I hear they have their own reality show now too. Sign of the times.

Art That Rocks

Abstract Art from Ocean Gallery in Ocean City by Susan Phillips Hicks

Getting away from abstract and into fantasy, Spring is coming and love will be in the air. The perfect time to finally do justice to a drawing that's been sitting in my drawer for ten years. I call it "The Lovelorn Dragon." I had always wanted to draw my own dragon, and this one seems to have plenty of personality. This was one of those designs where inspiration hit, and it was kind of a one shot deal. As much as I admire fantasy artists, I am not the usual creature maker. This guy just kind of happened without me even expecting it. 

Lovelorn Dragon

Lovelorn Dragon artwork by Susan Phillips Hicks on Society6 and RedBubble merch

Next, it was a dark and stormy night.... So might begin the tale of this image. The huddled masses requested nature and trees, but what with me being a bit macabre at times, I had to make it a spooky tree with a moody storm. I prefer trees in Winter, and the more gnarled, the better. This drawing is reminiscent of recent storms.

Gnarled Tree and Lightning

Silhouette of a bare tree in a storm in drawing by Susan Phillips Hicks of Melasdesign.

At long last, it’s Spring, but there’s still snow on the ground. The flowers are pushing through, but the leaves are bare. So how about a floral pic with a background that still hints at Winter? This art plays with pattern, without being a pattern, and is loosely symmetrical without a mirror image. I decided I'd play around with some more simple forms, echoing the coffee cups and wine glasses of last month's work. 

Cascade Flowers

Flowers in vases in a stylized drawing from Susan Phillips Hicks of Melasdesign.

The last two sets boil down to me taking suitable advantage of my camera at a Caspian gig. I was blown away by their show. The light show was bombastic and a great compliment to the Wall of Beard music. I took a few pics and magicked this up. If you ever get a chance to see them live, do. It's an experience.

Caspian Limelight

Abstract art of Caspian light show from Susan Phillips HIcks of Melasdesign.

Caspian 80s Version

Abstract art of Caspian light show on Society6 and Redbubble merch from Susan Phillips Hicks of Melasdesign.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Cats and Dogs, Luck, Coffee and Tea, Wine Lovers, XOXOs and Abstract Silver

Blog time again. This blog is being published automatically, because today (publish date) is a Day without Women, so I am not technically here.

It's been a month for keeping my head down and watching the news as little as possible. I'm trying to concentrate on adding pretty things to the world while my political commentaries of the last period are selling (yayy!). I'm now at cats 3 and 4 out of a series of five. Meet Summertime and Tasha (below).  I've been keeping a flower motive going throughout the series and got really creative with Tasha's portrait, so that kitty remained the focus of the picture with human being second up. Challenges of the portraits: old pictures, human faces and fluff. I do my best to make the prettiest picture I can, no matter what the original photo quality is, but there's just nothing for the fact that printed pictures age, making details vague and colors faded. That's a good time to get around to having a portrait made! Drawing humans is not my thing. It always befuddles me that I can make a cat portrait and have it be accurate to the millimeter... really so that you have to look twice to see which is the photo and which is the drawing, but give me a person to draw and my abilities of observation go completely on the fritz! It makes no sense to me, but it's how it is. SO, I left cat mom in silhouette. Lastly, fluff. I worked on dear Summertime, and had everything just so. I sent the proof out and was informed that I had made her gain a lot of weight. Lesson learned here: the face and positioning were perfect, but when I checked, yes, the outer perimeter of Summertime had, erm, expanded. Made note to self to smudge from outer edge *in* and not vice versa in the future lest kitty need a meeting with Richard Simmons (aka here as the eraser).

Summertime the Poofy Cat

Tasha and the Flower Goddess

My husband and I are avid movie-goers. ..... at least we were. I think we "movied" ourselves out. With the exception of a few gems like Jim Jarmusch's "Patterson"  (GO SEE IT!!!!! The heroine is my evil twin!) and "Hidden Figures" (mainstream, but enjoyable and informative), we haven't found a whole lot drawing us to the cinema. We've resorted to lowly TV watching... and that without a dish or cable. Thank goodness for streaming. One show we've enjoyed is a Hulu original called Shut Eye. It involves the seedy world of Fortune Tellers and the mafia surrounding them. This is probably the only way you could get me to watch a mafia themed program. I've always had an interest in the esoteric, and I *love* a Hamsa design, so I gave it a whirl. I admittedly was also trying my hand at how "graphic designy" I could get. Designs with circle masks are everywhere right now. I was challenging myself by adopting a style and making it my own. Then there's what I think of as the "80's version," which can be seen in the towel in the center below. It reminds me of being at a concert with lasers.

Lucky Hamsa Zodiac Designs

Lucky Zodiac Hamsa Art from Melasdesign

Then there's my love of coffee, mugs and tea cups. Caffeine inspires me! The object was to keep the design simple and light hearted. I like it when homes have art in the kitchen, and I had that in mind when I made these drawings. As a result, I am happy with the prints available as well as items for outside of the kitchen. Oh! And there's a nifty t-shirt available, sans background. I wanted to make a design that would be suitable for coffee and tea drinkers alike, and I have a weakness for interesting cups. Beyond that, it was just the continued color joy of Melasdesign. Lastly, I did bow to the coffee drinkers, since that is usually my preference. Black and white line art is set off by marching brown coffee beans.

Tea Cups and Coffee Mugs Spectrum
Coffee Beans and Mugs

Tea Cups and Coffee Mugs Spectrum and Coffee Mugs and Beans Artwork by Melasdesign
Here's yet another experiment of following trends. Geometrical shapes are quite popular at the moment, as are muted colors. I added dogs (Pit Bulls, Labrador, mutt) captured during a great day at the dog park. I think the result is unique, and people are loving the Pitties (as they should!).

Dogs and Flowers
S6 - RedBubble

Dogs and Flowers by Melasdesign

Dogs and Flowers by Melasdesign

Then at some point recently, I was feeling really icky and absolutely not like promoting artwork. The post-Valentine's Day lull had hit online and I felt like I was getting ADD trying to keep up with social media. I had gotten such great reactions from the coffee mug piece that I decided to go for wine, in all it's beautiful colors, but eeeeeesh! I felt like I just couldn't take any of it. ... and to think, I blamed it on the percussive, loud nature of the Adrian Belew concert I was lucky enough to see last week. LOL I had never felt so attacked by music! It was great, but exhausting. Then 2 days later, I saw Jesca Hoop (my musical idol), whose music is totally not aggressive, and the next day I could hardly get out of bed. What is all this art doing to me????? Turns out I had the flu. ;) So, I stuck to my idea, but kept it super simple. It's been a month of experimentation. 

Wine and Grapes
S6 - RedBubble

Wine and Grapes Artwork by Melasdesign

Another thing I've been seeing a lot of is fun mouths in art. I started drawing colorful lips, and this is where my mind took me. It kind of reminds me of a childrens' shape game in spirit, for when love is cartoonish and playful. This finds me getting completely out of my comfort zone color-wise.

Hugs and Kisses XOXO

Hugs and Kisses XOXO by Melasdesign

And for the last group, I took photos of some jewelry I made using PMC Metal Clay. I love the sculptural elements of the pieces and decided I just had to use them in a photomanipulation. I've always thought Milagros Hearts are gorgeous and jumped at the opportunity to make one for my husband. The other piece is an enticing shape made of tubes of different sizes place both parallel and at surprising angles to each other. My fave of the group is the beach towel shown below.... You know they have Summer stuff in the stores already? So much fun!

Milagros Heart Falling
S6 - RedBubble

Milagros Heart Falling by Melasdesign

Tubular Abstract

Tubular Abstract by Melasdesign