HomeHilton HeadArtists • Mel Rea

Mel Rea

I began my artistic career as a devoted clay sculptor.  However, as time passed, I began to long for a change. Several years back I explored new options while exhausting more mediums than I can recall. It was during this period that I discovered a small batch of beeswax left behind from the last of my grandfather’s beehives.

My 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 built and farmed his own set of beehives.

As a young girl, I felt such a sense of peace walking amongst my grandfather’s hives. I developed a very deep connection, respect, and appreciation for Mother Nature. Like many artists, she is a constant source of inspiration. This connection along with that old batch of beeswax is what led my transition away from clay and into encaustic painting (painting with molten beeswax). I am grateful for the intense labors of the beautiful honeybee, and consider beeswax a unique gift to be treasured. As a strange twist of fate, my name is translated in the Greek word for “honeybee”.

I love traditional Japanese pottery and contemporary Japanese painting. The soft satin finish of the beeswax along with the ability to incise elegant clean lines, was just what I’d longed to achieve. While many Japanese works of art juxtapose subtle softness beside bursts of vibrant colors, with encaustics I too could soften my light filled blues while keeping my reds and ochers intensely opaque.  Composition and color in my paintings are meant to reflect the emotional balance I draw from our natural world.

As I feel committed to being in a constant state of evolution, I’ve expanded from encaustic into many other mediums. I’ve found a lot of comfort in more traditional mediums such as watercolors and oil paints. Most recently I’ve found that alkyd oils set a comfortable pace for my work. For me this oil paint alternative is akin to the bed Goldilocks deemed most comfortable. It dries slower than acrylic paint, but more quickly than traditional oils. With alkyd paints, I am physically moving fast and furiously, but the dry time is slow enough for me to contemplatively work back into a piece during a painting session. It has provided a great deal of physical and psychological freedom, and a direction I am inspired to pursue.

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Encaustic

Quiet into Slow 24x36

Quiet into Slow
24x36

White to Me 30x42

White to Me
30x42

Soft on Mine 24x36

Soft on Mine
24x36

Open to Always 30x42

Open to Always
30x42

Into the All 48x48

Into the All
48x48

Still the Now 30x30

Still the Now
30x30

Beginning at the Middle 30x30

Beginning at the Middle
30x30

Springspiration I,II,III 14x73 each

Springspiration I,II,III14x73 each

Beginning That Morning 48x48

Beginning That Morning
48x48

Even After Always 30x30

Even After Always
30x30

Meet me at the now 30x30

Meet me at the now
30x30

Out into the open 18" x 18"

Out into the open
18" x 18"

Saturday Morning 18x18

Saturday Morning
18x18

Side by Side 18" x 18"

Side by Side
18" x 18"

Works on Paper

Ink, Acrylic, Powdered Graphite on Paper

Demonstration Video

Grow to the Warm IV  16x12

Grow to the Warm IV
16x12

Room to Breath XX 22x30

Room to Breath XX
22x30

Room to Breath IX- 22x30- ink, acrylic - 2016

Room to Breath IX- 22x30- ink, acrylic - 2016

Room to Breath XXIII 22x30

Room to Breath XXIII
22x30

Grow to the Warm VI  16x12

Grow to the Warm VI
16x12

Quiet the White I 22x30

Quiet the White I
22x30

Quiet the White VII 22x30

Quiet the White VII
22x30

Close to Mine I 22x30

Close to Mine I
22x30

Close to Mine III 22x30

Close to Mine III
22x30

Close to Mine II 22x30

Close to Mine II
22x30

Meet Me at the Quiet I 27x40

Meet Me at the Quiet I
27x40

Meet Me at the Quiet II 27x40

Meet Me at the Quiet II
27x40

Grow to the Up VII 22x30

Grow to the Up VII
22x30

Meet Me at the Quiet III 27x40

Meet Me at the Quiet III
27x40

Grow to the Up IX 22x30

Grow to the Up IX
22x30

Meet Me at the Quiet V 27x40

Meet Me at the Quiet V
27x40

Grow to the Up VIII 22x30

Grow to the Up VIII
22x30

Mixed Media

Waiting for You 40x60

Waiting for You
40x60

Taking my breath away I 40" x 40"

Taking my breath away I
40" x 40"

Say it Quietly- 40" x 60"

Say it Quietly-
40" x 60"

Inside of the Own 36" x 36"

Inside of the Own
36" x 36"

Always 48" x 48"

Always
48" x 48"

Past the Know Mixed Media on Canvas 36x36

Past the Know
Mixed Media on Canvas
36x36

Quieting the Moment-48x60-oil on canvas-2017

Quieting the Moment-48x60-oil on canvas-2017