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HOME    PAINTING SERIES: EARTH WATER IN BETWEEN CHAIRS  PEOPLE LAUNDRY GOUACHE

                                RECENT EXHIBITIONS: ‘REFLECTIONS’  2012  ‘PEOPLE’ 2013    ‘COLOR 2’  2014  SIMPLE THINGS‘  2015

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‘Seeing is a thing most of us don't think about too much - images just flow in without us having to work at it. For some of us, seeing is differentiated by putting on glasses or squinting so we see as others do (we think). After all, we have needed to see clearly to avoid obstacles and dangers in our complex lives. But if we are in this safe and restful place we call a gallery, we can allow ourselves to soften our way of seeing. My own experience is that using myopic vision, with which I am blessed, allows colors to be more radiant and they become doorways to a world where they bathe and surround me with an a tangible force, at once exciting, soothing, heart opening, timeless, nameless.  The interface between shapes and the spaces in-between is blurry and they seem knitted together, affecting each other. It's a world of infinite combinations, a trickster that is benign and playful and surprising and relative.


In this work I allowed ideas in and responded to what I saw emerging on the canvas. It was a two-way conversation. So, too, it is a two way conversation with each viewer. Whatever you see here is a combination of what you bring with you and what reaches out to you. No two responses are the same, every story unique. My hope is that you will wander, as I have, in a new and enlivening world that encourages introspection, yet connects us somehow in our collective fascination with life and its many possibilities.’



Melissa Lofton

2012

'Having lived in Big Sur most of my life, I am constantly surprised and delighted at how rich


and varied the coast and mountains are. Always changing, often challenging, I think of my life


here as "life on the edge". This quality of life in Big Sur parallels my own desire to paint on the edge


as well, moving between inner and outer landscape, between what seems to be external and what


is clearly internal.'



2009

PEOPLE


When I think of people I know or have known, I am curious about what goes on inside them. Again and again I am struck by the richness and complexity of human life. Not just the busy part or the part that we call work, but more the thing that motivates. The thing we each are born with that seems to ring true and guides us through our time here. It’s as though every choice we make either helps to foster that thing-that-we-are or else detracts from our authentic self, stranding us in the rather impersonal sea of life. In these works I spent time observing people going about life. As I painted, I wondered about the quality that makes each subject so individual, so unique, so recognizable from the back—even from 100 yards away and with a single glance. Faces make recognition easy, but faces aren’t always necessary. We know the people we know from any angle. While there are many explanations for this phenomenon, I like to think that their being shines out in all directions. Even after they pass on, this quality persists in our mind’s eye: they are whole to us and as precisely themselves as fingerprints. In these paintings I am representing the part that is seen, of course. Viewers can make up stories about what appears to be going on. But my hope is that some of the essential beingness of each person will shine through.

Melissa Lofton     November 2013

PPEOPLE


When I think of people I know or have known, I am curious about what goes on inside them. Again and again I am struck by the richness and complexity of human life. Not just the busy part or the part that we call work, but more the thing that motivates. The thing we each are born with that seems to ring true and guides us through our time here. It’s as though every choice we make either helps to foster that thing-that-we-are or else detracts from our authentic self, stranding us in the rather impersonal sea of life. In these works I spent time observing people going about life. As I painted, I wondered about the quality that makes each subject so individual, so unique, so recognizable from the back—even from 100 yards away and with a single glance. Faces make recognition easy, but faces aren’t always necessary. We know the people we know from any angle. While there are many explanations for this phenomenon, I like to think that their being shines out in all directions. Even after they pass on, this quality persists in our mind’s eye: they are whole to us and as precisely themselves as fingerprints. In these paintings I am representing the part that is seen, of course. Viewers can make up stories about what appears to be going on. But my hope is that some of the essential beingness of each person will shine through.


Melissa Lofton     November 2013

THE FIRST COLOR


In the beginning, if there ever was such a thing, there was only one color.  Of course they didn't bother to name it - there was only one. Everything was either that color or it didn't exist.


Someone started to think about this one day while walking in the woods."Ah, what a lovely tree!' Someone thought."It's so smooth of bark, the trunk and branches are…so…so curvaceous, and its leaves are very…um…leafy."


Noting this rather disappointing observation, Someone wandered away, feeling inadequate.  Awhile later Someone felt a bit hungry. Opening a knapsack, Someone pulled out a round, shiny, dimpled fruit - you know: the kind with segments and all the juice? There was something about this particular fruit though.  As someone pulled back a strip of its peel, out burst a bright vapor which coalesced into a cloud before Someone.


"I am ORANGE", declared the vapor.


Someone had to agree that this was indeed orange, as was the fruit in Someone's hand, as were poppies, sunsets, madrone berries, flames and starfish.


"What next?" Someone thought,  and looked up to the sky, wondering what goes with orange.




Melissa Lofton

October 2014


S I M P L E  T H I N G S


It is, after all, often the simple things that provide pleasure and happiness. Partly because they are mostly unanticipated, I find myself suddenly grateful and surprised. It is the feeling of gratitude that makes time more elastic and presence unavoidable. It's as though life says, "Look! - This is for you, if you can stop long enough to really see it".


Sometimes I go looking for beauty, as though I can find it if I just look more and harder - a condition I call "hungry eyes". This rarely works, and it certainly isn't as much fun as being stopped in my tracks and gasping at some unexpectedly astounding sight. Of course, as a painter, I am always seeking imagery to inspire. It is when the hunter in me takes over and I project right out of my body into an imagined future that I need to remember that my presence is required in order for inspiration to come. I think the opposite of hungry eyes must be "open eyes", a condition of receptivity, recognition and, above all, presence.


May we all have "open eyes"!


Melissa Lofton

November 2015