"“I paint to create a momentary window of stillness: evoking calm, humor, and beauty. With color and shape, I aspire to create conversations of dream-like landscapes. I want to tickle the light of your imagination; to create a story between myself and viewer. “ -Mel Rea"Mel Rea completed her BFA in Ceramics from Kent State University in 1995. She created large figurative pieces with labored details: tiny finger nails, eyelashes, and earlobes. Her figures often relied on imaginary characters, while others referenced historical figures. She held a particular affection for Egyptian and Japanese cultural dressing traditions. Her love as a clay artist lasted for nearly 17 years. As time passed, Mel longed to set clay aside to paint. While living in Los Angeles, Mel pursued continuing education classes in painting at Pasadena City College and San Fernando City College. It was during this time that she discovered a small batch of beeswax in a dust covered bucket in her grandmother’s basement. It was the remains from the last of her grandfather’s beehives. Mel’s grandfather spent his childhood in Russia where he was inspired to build an apiary farm. His dream came true as an adult in the States where he farmed his own beehives. Mel’s name (full name, Melissa) means “honeybee” in Greek translation. As a young girl, she felt a sense of peace walking amongst her grandfather’s hives. She developed a very deep connection, respect, and appreciation for Mother Nature. Like many artists, nature is a constant source of inspiration for the artist. That old batch of beeswax led Mel’s transition into painting as an encaustic artist (painting with molten beeswax). The history of encaustics (dating to Greek artists as far back as the 5th century B. C.) appealed to Mel’s sense of nostalgia. The craftsmanship involved with encaustics, allowed for a smooth transition from clay sculptor to painter. The soft satin finish of the beeswax replaced her love of lush clay glazes. The depth of the encaustic medium allowed Mel to dig, scratch, and incise elegant clean lines; satisfying her affinity for a sculptural surface. After several years of committing to encaustic painting, Mel ventured to explore more traditional mediums. She found a connection to the drying pace and application versatility of acrylics; the swiftness of scribbling lines and instant mark making of pastels; the opaque intensity of gouache; and the texture of oil sticks. Mel utilizes layers of varying paints and application methods: brushing, splashing, dripping, spraying, and scraping. This diverse play of paint creates a lively energy to the composition. Mel’s paintings are an abstracted assembly of colorful lines and shapes intersecting in multiple sheer layers. She’s often suggestive with her shapes, but never relying on concrete portrayals as she once obsessed over while working with clay. Rather, evocative forms often interweave her canvas in an allusive suggestion of romance, botanicals, humor, or sensuality. Mel often draws inspiration from Japanese aesthetic, her deep love of animals, and all things filling the spaces of our wild natural world. Her work with color and thoughtful composition convey a deeper sense of self; allowing an abstracted anatomy to communicate without narratives. Mel is a believer that what you think, you attract. She is mindful where her imagination lingers, carefully working to ferry thoughts that evoke a connection of warmth between herself and her viewers.