Melanie Macilwain is a self taught artist exploring movement and florals. She is inspired by rhythm, connection and shared stories and how it can positively impact impact our lives. Melanie is thrilled to collaborate with Picnic Season to be apart of your experience connecting with others.
Q. Tell us a little about you in a nutshell?
A: I live in South West Victoria and absolutely love the rain which is lucky because it rains a lot in Port Fairy. My husband and I juggle family life at the moment but mostly recently we have purchased an older camper. We are excited to hit the road and make memories with our two little boys. Perfect timing to test out our Picnic Season collab!
Q: Tell us about your special corner of South Western Victoria. How did you come to call Port Fairy home?
A: We moved due to work commitments and luckily we landed in one of the most beautiful parts of Victoria. Not just for looks but community too.
Q. Your work is adored for its characteristic joyful bright colours and exploration of movement. How has your artistic style evolved throughout your career?
A: I am not professionally trained so I am working backwards or ‘learning on the job’. I make more and more mistakes now I feel but it has landed me with some paintings that people know are me. Although I am proud of my work there are some I’m unsure of. Half of how I work involves rhythm and flowers like in our collab. For the last two years I’m considering colours and movements to explain weaved stories and experiences we share with others. As time has it and life changes, I think it’s healthy to form new connections with others. We seem to sew in our old stories to develop a new story for us. This is basically making sense of what’s going on around us. We grow, change, stop, compare ect. But it’s important to experience this to keep that rhythm moving. My florals change as do colours in the moving line. This is my translation.
Q: It’s clear that you draw inspiration from the natural world around you. How does your lived experience of your environment translate onto canvas?
A: I just love the movement of dance, the form of waves rolling into the ocean, people talking, the roads through the country, film, childrens books written a good rhythm. Everything has a movement that is natural. I’m definitely extending my thoughts from what natural means. It’s a natural rhythm that links, that I’m interested in. The ‘linking’ part is the key word there. Eg The ocean carries a wave that people use to surf, they dance on boards and people watch them amazed and then go home to create art, bake, garden… do you see the connection? A flow of energy. I can see it everywhere… so you’re right to say it has influenced my signature line work. The line connects it all.
Q. What inspired your piece "Dive of Life”? How did this piece evolve along the way?
A: I’ve become a fan of trail running recently. I completely a 21km trail through Halls Gap before I started the Dive Of Life. It’s so beautiful in that area. It’s so fun to wake up early with a similar minded people and challenge yourself for hours. It gives you a buzz and it’s a lot of thinking time alone, but sharing that time is good too because the stories you hear are hilarious, sad and everything else in between. The views have to be seen! I recommend it
Q: You work from a studio on your property. Tell us about your work space?
A: My work space is your standard Aussie tin shed but the interior has been fitted out with all the home comforts of plaster, desks, lighting. It’s a work in progress but I find it hard to have dedicated areas because I flip into different sized canvases often. It’s a living space shall we say. And messy! Ha
Q: Tell us about your creative process? How do you get into your creative happy place?
A: To put it simply, I make sure the dishes are done and I have a list to tick off for the day. I try and write it the night before so I’m clear on what needs to be done. I work best this way. In the background, I’m always looking at new artists and being inspired or talking to friends who live beyond the box. They’re good to expand ideas with.
Q. What are you currently binge watching?
A: I don’t binge but I love Have You Been Paying Attention every Monday. It’s so cheeky
Q: What’s next for Melanie Macilwain?
A: I’ll be plotting what’s next over the next two years whilst our boys are young. For now my priorities are my family and not putting too much on myself to do. But I can’t wait to commit to all my ideas once time is more available. I think what is achievable in the immediate future is meeting people in the creative arts area, learning new skills, mapping out ideas, networking and keeping my book work up to date. I’m saying that I really want to get into community arts.
Q: Where else can we find your art?
A: On my Instagram and with the nice people and Forman Art.