Melanie Willey, Bath Maine 2021
Melanie was born in Montreal and grew up in a lively city filled with the vibration of street artists, music, theatre, dance and many diverse galleries. As children, she and her siblings studied music and ballet and she was among one of the first students to attend F.A.C.E.S, (Fine Arts Core Education) a fulltime fine arts school in downtown Montreal where they were encouraged to paint crazy colorful murals on the walls of their very own classroom! She grew up to become an accomplished singer and performed and recorded throughout Canada, Europe and the U.S. She always maintained her passion and love for visual art and worked in the creative departments of several large graphic and ad agencies. She learned about composition, light and tone being from her first husband, a B&W commercial and fashion art photographer in Toronto. She has lived in beautiful and diverse places on both the East and West coasts, urban and rural, that have continued to fuel her visual appetite and palette. Melanie has always enjoyed the dance of color and was influenced by so many wonderful artists growing up, including Norval Morisseau, The Group of Seven, Georgia O’Keefe, Emile Carr and her very best friend’s father, renowned artist Canadian artist (primarily drawings), John Gould.
Over 20 years ago now, she moved to Maine with her current husband, a Maine native and Melanie continued her self-studies in drawing and color theory working with mentor Kathy Boldt in Brunswick while their children were growing up. After moving from Brunswick to Bath over 9 years ago, she switched mediums from color pencil to oils and participated in several courses under the guidance of Sarah Greenier, (Sarah Greenier Gallery/Studio) in Bath. During the years of 2018 to 2020 she participated in a weekly self-directed live figure drawing class in Brunswick at a private studio, and is now exploring the diverse and malleable medium of gouache, which can be easily transported on location and a prefect painting medium for plein air. Since 2016 she has made a commitment to paint daily and continues to be inspired by her natural surroundings that are so accessible within minutes. Melanie’s ‘other’ part-time work, which she loves and adores, is transporting and working with special needs children and their families, this also allows her to be fully and exhilaratingly absorbed in the midcoast Maine landscape which offers such diversity throughout the seasons. She is currently enrolled in an ASL American Sign Language Class to support her relations and working with the deaf community in Maine.
Over the years, Melanie and her family have been very involved and share a love of the stage and theatre. Although, since mid 2020, things have gotten quieter on these fronts and her focus and creativity has been saturated of late in painting as her creative outlet and mode of expression. In addition to acting and singing Melanie has created many production posters, costumed several shows, created props, painted sets as well as stage managed alongside her husband John, a local community director. She and her husband were founding members of Shakespeare on the Kennebec since 2013 (now in dormancy) with the aim to offer a full length and staged Shakespeare play to our community each year.
Her work has been exhibited /sold at:
-The Chocolate Church Art Gallery in several members shows
-Bath ArtWalk 2017 and 2018, 2019
-Solo shows at The Patten Free library, Bath ME
-Annual private exhibits
-The Joy of Art, Crooker Gallery Topsham 2017
-Betsy’s Salon Art Exhibit—April-Sept. 2017, The Gallery Hair & Studio Spa Topsham, Feb. 2020
-Yarmouth Art Festival 2018
-Art From the Heart – Sagadagoc Presevation Inc. The Winter Street Church Art Auction
-The Bath City Hall, ongoing from 2017 to current
-Many private sales and commissions throughout Maine, Canada and Europe
Studies and Final Plein-Air paintings in Gouache throughout Mid-Coast Maine
Hue-Maine: A Series of portrait / figurative work of people within our community
The first in this series called ‘Diva Awakenings’ A series of 37+ all prima portraits
The second in this series called ‘Re-Cognize Me’ – in process
Lubec painting series: all of which have been featured on the Visit Lubec FaceBook page