If you’ve been following our little blog, you’ll know that we have a really, really big event coming up at the gallery next week.
Baker and Barber are both talented and inspired painters who effortlessly deconstruct subjects, mix glorious palettes and pile on the medium for a thick and layered texture.
We love (and highly respect) both these artists who have such artistic integrity and talent. We’ve been privileged to work with them for years and can’t wait to honor them with this show of new works.
As artists go, these two couldn’t be more different: Liz Barber’s work is rooted in her love of nature, sunlight, water and plants. (click here to read all about her inspiration in a blog we just published) while Melissa Payne Baker finds her inspiration from another source altogether: love, family and her strong faith.
Growing up in a family of artists in Mississippi, creativity was a part of her life from an early age and Melissa’s mother likes to say that they have paint running through their veins, not blood. In Melissa’s case the paint runs thick.
With a degree in marketing from the University of Mississippi and a continued career in interior design, Melissa didn’t think too much about painting until a unexpected tragedy struck the family of a dear friend. To help cope with the loss, Melissa took brush to canvas and found solace and comfort as she lost herself in inspiration: an angel, beautifully crafted; deftly painted and complemented by a soft, abstract background. The painting struck a chord and, as they say, the rest was history.
Fast forward several years and Melissa has honed and tuned her ability. She’s turned her laser beam focus to loose landscapes and figures – and true abstract work where texture and form take center stage.
We recently popped by Melissa’s studio to chat about works for the show. To our delight, Melissa’s walls were bursting with canvases destined for the show.
We were greeted by Melissa’s assistant, the adorable Payne, who is also a budding artist:
He’s already got his own style, which Melissa is happily nurturing.
It’s always such a treat to visit the artists in their studios and Melissa was, of course, the most gracious and lovely hostess…and didn’t mind as we poked around, oogled her work and chatted about her exciting new direction.
In preparation for this exhibit, Melissa was ready to take on the challenge that faces every artist: how do you keep it fresh, innovative and new? Being the creative soul she is, it wasn’t long before she came to us with some wonderfully creative and different work. Pulling from her deep-rooted love of the abstract, she’s found a clever way to work with the negative space (lots of white and places for your eye to roam over the canvas) and get really creative with the palette. We couldn’t be happier.
She’s having great fun working in oils and the results are plain to see on the rich and elegant canvases she presented to us. In fact, Melissa’s one of the most enthusiastic artists we know and we love the way her love of life infuses her work. She recently told us, ““I hope collectors can see the love I have for life. I paint with my heart and soul. I get excited once a painting is complete; it is like meeting a new friend.”
Melissa’s also an undeniably sweet and caring person who has won reams of fans with her sweet personality and commitment to many non-profit and charity organizations around the Southeast.
It’s been inspirational to see Melissa grow as an artist and all the accolades that have poured in over the years. She’s been featured in dozens of magazines including Creative Loafing Magazine, Cobb Life Magazine, Skirt Atlanta and Atlanta Homes and Lifestyles. She was published in CRAVE Atlanta in 2011 (a book showcasing successful business women), and in 2012, she was named Jezebel Magazine’s “Best Atlanta Artist”. And somehow, she has time for her adorable husband Rick and precious Payne…and extra hours left over not only to paint professionally, but to teach her techniques in workshops around metro Atlanta.
We’re not sure how she does it all but if we had to guess, we’d say it’s got a lot to do with her innate joie de vivre. She’s a true pro in every sense of the word and we can’t wait to share this new work with you.
See you next week.