Meet Sophie Melville from Mini Grandi Artist...
We are so excited to have you on Dot + Pop – we are absolutely in love with your Art… Can you tell us a little about your background – what path led you to becoming an artist?
I have a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree specialising in Painting from Elam School of Fine Arts in Auckland but after years of travelling and chasing snow, meeting my husband and then finally settling in Wanaka I became a graphic designer instead of returning to art. It has been on my goals list for years to become a full time artist once both my children were at school but I never had any steps in place to help me achieve that goal. But now, I’ve met that goal 2 years ahead of schedule through transforming my lifestyle and happiness, I am incredibly grateful.
My return to art was inspired by an introduction to slow living which has sparked a love of meditating and a yearning to keep learning and growing. I try to live in the moment and not dwell on small issues but rather be the observer of my life; being present in a moment and therefore enjoying the uplifting feeling of calm I get from this mindset.
How would you describe your work?
I have a loose abstract style and am currently working with watercolours on paper. I often find my best works are creations of impulse and experimenting in my studio. I seek to evoke with my art a landscape of tranquility, familiarity and simplicity.
Where did your love of painting scenes of nature come from?
I’ve lived in Wanaka for almost 15 years and am grateful everyday to live in such a beautiful and inspiring part of the world. I try to see the beauty in everything and have a strong appreciation for simplicity that often brings me great joy.
What processes are involved in the creation of your pieces?
I am somewhat an unconventional watercolourist, preferring to experiment and challenge myself every time I enter my studio. I like to find the stillness within before starting a painting, often by meditating or just by pausing and reflecting on how my body is feeling. I then feel an overwhelming sense of calm captivate me and I’m able to completely surrender to the moment and just paint. My best works are when I feel balanced and happy, it’s so important to be in the right mood to paint otherwise it just doesn’t happen. My instagram profile says a little about me….The magic happens when I least expect!
What does a typical day involve for you?
I have 2 young children (5 and 3.5) so the day usually starts with getting up at 5.45am before them and going for a run with our dog. Once I have them dropped off at school I’m back home to meditate, quickly check emails and I like to be in my studio by mid morning. I find I lose momentum and the flow in my work after painting for an hour so I stop for a break, often go and do errands in town or take a book break – a quick flick through an art book and a peppermint tea and I’m good to go back to a little more painting or order packing. Afternoons are spent at home with the kids, sometimes I can manage to do a little more painting. Once the kids are in bed I try and not work, I might do a little emailing and sometimes a bit too much instagraming but I know I set myself up well for the next day if I purposely stop and relax and either draw, collage or read. I find it really switches my mind off from unnecessary evening chatter and I go to bed knowing I will sleep well because of the relaxation I have had that evening.
Where do you draw your inspiration from?
I am deeply inspired by the mountains, lake, forest, clouds and light around my home town. If I’m out walking or running and see a peek of mountains that inspires me I often return at some point with my dslr camera so I can capture it and then I use it for the basis of my paintings. I love that the images I capture are my interpretation of a place through a single moment and then they are further interpreted on paper through my brushes and watercolours once in my studio.
What designers, artists or bloggers do you love at the moment?
I am passionate about reading spiritual enlightenment and am reading Eckhart Tolle ‘The Power of Now’ and have just finished reading a book called ‘Dying to be me’ Anita Moorjani – ‘My Journey through cancer, to near death to true healing.’ (An incredibly powerful true story that has resonated with my need to be present and to celebrate what every day gives me).
The other thing I am super into at the moment is the Planted with Light podcasts by Kate Robinson www.plantedwithlight.com Kate interviews creative women in business and every podcast provides me with so much motivation and inspiration from having heard someone else’s struggles and triumphs in business, motherhood and just life. Kate has also asked me to do an interview with her so eeek, I’m a little excited / anxious / are you kidding me? all at the same time….. – I will post on my blog www.minigrandiartist.wordpress.com when it is due to be released later this year.
Biggest ‘pinch me’ moment so far?
Having Michelle, The Design Chaser style, photograph and blog about my Silver Leaf and Silver Moon prints within a few months of having started mini Grandi Artist. Since then she has continually and very kindly supported my art and prints.
Do you have any upcoming exhibitions or new collections coming out?
I have my first solo show in late February next year at the Front Room in Queenstown, NZ entitled ‘The stillness within’ and I have quite a few works underway and completed already (which I am thrilled about!)