Friday, August 21, 2015

August is Artist Appreciation Month

I was recently reminded that August is artist appreciation month by Patience Brewster Inc. They invited me to write a blog post about artists that have inspired me. I agreed and then quickly became overwhelmed when I started writing out an actual list. Quickly I realized that I needed to narrow my focus. Most artists I know generally agree on certain choices & reference them often. 
So I decided to go with two that are deeply personal to me & possibly a bit more outside of the norm...

Ta-Dah! (drum roll), I chose the 2001 movie "Amélie" by director Jean-Pierre Jeunet; more specifically the cinematography of Bruno Delbonnel & the whimsical illustrative paintings featured throughout by German artist, Michael Sowa. 
(I also have to mention that Yann Tiersen's sound track for Amélie is truly swoon-worthy & perfect music to paint to!).

When "Le Fabuleux Destin d'Amélie Poulain" was released in theaters in 2001 (or just "Amélie" here in the States), it was quite unlike any movie I had ever seen! It's quirky storyline is beyond charming; but it was the movie's distinct visual style that dazzled me with its saturated and selective colors. "Amélie" has a very specific color palette: warm colors with a Blue surprise element/accent every so often. Gorgeous Parisian settings are enhanced by clever editing and the use of different camera speeds, making for fascinating visual story telling... not to mention the humorous digital effects used to bring the artwork of Michael Sowa to life!

"Dog with Cone"
painting by Michael Sowa

"Fowl with Pearls"
 painting by Michael Sowa

I loved that this movie so prominently featured & integrated the art of a single contemporary artist!!! "Amélie" was an introduction for me to the art of Michael Sowa. His skill and slightly sinister humor has continued to beguile me. His paintings are beautifully crafted surreal enigmas. They are filled with absurdity, mystery and visual puns. How boring if he had chosen to be just a landscape painter?! I want to guess at his goofiness and marvel at his cleverness all the while being jealous of his execution/mastery of materials. 

This so sweet art movie from 14 years ago continues to influence my artwork & make me smile. It taught me to take pleasure in simple things & has caused a shy bobbed haired girl motif 
to frequently turn up/meddle in my paintings;)

"Amélie's Halloween"
mixed media acrylic painting
by Melissa Belanger, 2015

"Frenchie Halloween"
mixed media acrylic painting
by Melissa Belanger, 2013

Pastis & Sowa's Art book on my patio

Myself in Paris back in 2003

Monday, August 17, 2015

Halloween Gnomes!

These little Halloween gnomes 
showed up in my garden this morning!
They are enjoying the August sunshine
& greenery before being packed away
for Ghoultide Gathering in October.

Monday, August 10, 2015

New "fraidy cat paintings" for Ghoultide Gathering

These small 5"x7" "fraidy cat" paintings 
will be headed to Ghoultide Gathering
on October 3.

More photos from BHG Holiday Crafts Magazine

So very excited to be included in this publication!

Friday, August 7, 2015

The holidays are coming!

Summer is almost over, 
which means that the holiday magazines 
are just starting to turn up on newstands. 
I'm excited & honored to be in the 2015 issue of 
Better Homes and Gardens Holiday Crafts Magazine. 
I have a Christmas and a Halloween project within 
and two of my little snow guys are even on the cover! 
This magazine will be available August 11.