The Art Shop is a new series highlighting the community of emerging artists represented at
The Untamed Square, a Female Online Art Collective as well as independent female artists that we love!
Let’s welcome Melissa Gerard to The Art Shop!
The Navy community connected me to Melissa, as we had just found out we were getting stationed in Whidbey Island, WA. Our mutual friend Heather decided that Melissa could shed
some positive light on our most recent orders (y’all, I was not excited for this move over a year ago!)
Melissa, her husband and two small children call Jacksonville, Florida home after many years as a Navy family. Influences of Southern landscapes and coasts appear often in her work, along with details of her many travels and experiences as a Navy wife. When not making art, you can find Melissa rearranging her living room or sipping a cocktail with friends on the porch.
When asked what inspires Melissa the most, she says:
“I find inspiration in so many places but the most obvious place is the coast, particularly the beautiful Southern shores of the Lowcountry. These are places where I made precious memories as a child and continue to return to with the same sense of wonder and awe even as an adult. There is just something so charming about the oaks and magnolias draped with Spanish moss dancing in the evening breeze.”
Melissa’s creative process is less of a process and more of a whirlwind for this busy mama of two!
“When an idea lights or inspiration hits, that is when the creating happens (often between school drop off and soccer practices!). I love when time allows for me to fall deeply into the process and transform a thought into a tangible piece of art. In between these bursts I am almost always tinkering. My studio is in my home and I am not above adding a pop of color to a painting that’s already hanging on the wall or a collage that just needs one last piece to be perfect.“
When Melissa thinks back to the origins of her inspiration, she looks to her mother, “She inspired me to create from the very beginning. She is an incredibly talented artist herself which she enjoys as a hobby, along with being a Master Gardener with a garden that is rich with layers of texture and color. Even her baked goods are works of art – growing up my friends used to say Martha Stewart could learn a thing or two from Karen Angel! Everything my mother touches turns beautiful, and growing up I always admired this ability she had. I’m hopeful some of it rubbed off on me. “
Having one of Melissa’s colorful collage pieces from her golf course series in our own home’s collection, I can guarantee you that you’ll find Melissa to also be an inspiration! I planned an entire room’s color palette around the colors she used in “Augusta No. 13” which will hang in our new home come springtime (with plans to add more of her golf collages to our collection).
Melissa loves to mix décor styles the same way she mixes in her collages, “I love traditional furnishings but accented with modern pieces, especially art. There is something so fresh about this mix of new and old! Every room needs a fabulous piece of art (of course!), a plant (orchids are a personal favorite) and something meaningful to the room’s inhabitant (a book or object d’art from travels are always something I enjoy in my own home).”
While her attention to detail and impeccable pieces are the perfect finishing touch to any space, Melissa’s favorite piece(s) are her signature fringed umbrellas. These flashy, fringy, little nods to the Coastal South are what initially caught my eye about her work.
“The idea was born out of happenstance really – one evening a Serena & Lily catalog arrived on my doorstep and the cover was a stunning shot of a red, white and blue striped fringe umbrella against a beautiful blue sky background. As I admired the cover I realized I had most every color already painted on paper for other projects, and while my kids took their baths I began cutting a gluing. And just like that the first collage fringe umbrella was born. Since that day I have made many more in an array of colors and sizes.”
As for where you can find Melissa’s work and follow along on her creative journey, she is active on Instagram so give her a follow @MGerardDesigns . “New pieces are released on a regular basis and are announced via my Instagram.” You can also find Melissa’s abstracts, golf collages, fringe umbrellas and commission information on her website.
Brittany “Bee” Zimmerman