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

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

In Between Echoes 36x48

In Between Echoes
36x48

Drifting Your Direction 40x40

Drifting Your Direction
40x40

Brighten Bees 12x12 each

Brighten Bees
12x12 each

Works on Paper

Ink, Acrylic, Powdered Graphite on Paper

Demonstration Video

Grow to the Warm IV  16x12

Grow to the Warm IV
16x12

Grow to the Warm V 16x12

Grow to the Warm V
16x12

Room to Breath IXX 22x30

Room to Breath IXX
22x30

Room to Breath XX 22x30

Room to Breath XX
22x30

Grow to the Warm VI  16x12

Grow to the Warm VI
16x12

Room to Breath XXII 22x30

Room to Breath XXII
22x30

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

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

Room to Breath XXI 22x30

Room to Breath XXI
22x30

Room to Breath XXIII 22x30

Room to Breath XXIII
22x30

Sing it to Me III 22x30

Sing it to Me III
22x30

Sing it to Me I 22x30

Sing it to Me I
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 III 27x40

Meet Me at the Quiet III
27x40

Meet Me at the Quiet II 27x40

Meet Me at the Quiet II
27x40

Meet Me at the Quiet V 27x40

Meet Me at the Quiet V
27x40

Meet Me at the Quiet VI 27x40

Meet Me at the Quiet VI
27x40

Meet Me at the Quiet VII 27x40

Meet Me at the Quiet VII
27x40

Meet Me at the Quiet IV 27x40

Meet Me at the Quiet IV
27x40

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"

Taking my breath away II 40" x 40"

Taking my breath away II
40" x 40"