Melanie Blackerby… art that feels like home
I’m new to art as a profession, although I’ve been painting ever since I was little. While in college at University of Mobile, I took some painting and drawing classes as relief from all of the reading and paper writing I had to do for my English degree. However, I did not have the courage to pursue a career in art at that time. And, just like much of what gives us joy when we are little–hide and seek, making mudpies, telling stories–my painting was left behind when I entered the “real world.”
In due time, God blessed me with a husband, a high school teaching career, and eventually three precious little boys. Life got so busy that I barely felt like I had time to shower (no, seriously!). Then, one summer, my boys and I were playing outside. On a whim, I went to the garage and got an old piece of wood just to fool around with and paint on. With one in the playpen, one digging in the dirt, and one “helping” me, I couldn’t believe how much I loved it. So, with the encouragement of my husband, I began painting regularly and participating in a few art shows. Now three years later, I’ve been blessed to have my artistic passion turn into a full-fledge career (much to my surprise!!).
I like to redeem things, so my works are on reclaimed or salvaged wood. My designs aren’t fussy or complicated–life is complicated enough already! Everybody needs a little breath, a little stillness, a simple moment. That’s what my paintings are about. My colors are muted–three little boys bring enough “loud” to my life. My subjects are familiar–this Alabama girl sticks to her Southern roots. But I do hope that my perspective is unique. After having put away my brushes for about ten years, I really appreciate and enjoy the chance to create.
Melanie Blackerby is a self-taught mixed media artist born and raised in Mobile, Alabama. Always open to experimentation in technique and materials, she often mixes paint strippers, oils, aerosols, and acrylics to achieve a “worn-in” look to her pieces. Melanie builds and paints on wooden panels. She chooses to exploit the wood by using heavier mediums like construction grade plaster, carving the underpaintings, or accenting her pieces with wire, roofing nails, carpet tacks, and vintage sheet music. By using layers of plaster and paint, she produces works that are both familiar and fresh. Many of her pieces feature soft color palettes that speak to a place of comfort, and shelter. The heavily textured pieces are simple and peaceful at first glance, but are more intricate when encountered closely. She hopes that viewers connect with her works and feel the sense of simplicity and home that they convey.