Introduce yourself and describe your work and the media/genre you work in.
Hi, my name is Melanie Nolker and I am a full time oil painter here in the Kansas City area. I paint with the colors of Monet, and with a palette knife (a small trowel) instead of a brush. Using the knife forces my work to be freer and more textural than in the years when I painted with watercolor, and the oil paint used generously makes my art very colorful.
Talk about the works currently on display. What would you like people to know about them?
The works currently on display represent a cross section of my interest as an artist. My love of nature and travel shows itself in the depiction of trees. My desire to capture people has grown as my skills improved, thus I have included some portraits in this exhibit. And the large-scale paintings all represent change in our world in the past few years. You will find paintings that speak to forest fires in California, the hurricane in Puerto Rico, global warming that affects our cities and gun violence in our schools.
Who are other artists you look to for inspiration? And what about their works do you like?
Artist that I am most influenced by are Vincent Van Gogh, Gustav Klimt and Wayne Thiebaud. Their bright colors, graphic quality and playfulness appeal to me and make me feel at home in their presence.
Describe your creative process. How often are you painting and where is your studio?
My creative process is most often simple. It flows from me like eating or breathing. That is not to say that I don’t hit blocks and struggle through them. I paint with many artists who have become friends over the years and the days in shared studios are a joy in my life. I paint at Buena Vista Studios in Roeland Park, with Jean Cook at Sheryl Levene’s Studio and I have my own studio at The InterUrban ArtHouse in Downtown OP. I paint four days a week and because I paint so often, my biggest issue is finding fresh inspiration. I give palette knife workshops several times throughout the year and that keeps me grounded in the basics of how to paint simply and intuitively.
What other writings do you recommend reading to have a better understanding of your artworks and your art practice/process? Please look through our on-line catalog and provide any links to resources that you would recommend.
One book that I really enjoyed several months ago was Lynn Whipple’s Expressive Flower Painting. It’s a paint-along book with steps and instruction that took me out of my comfort zone, and helped me feel loose and free as I played with new and old media and tools.