Melanie Desjardines is all about metal. Not heavy rock metal. Not even punk metal. Real metal. Stainless steel. Creating art with metal has become a passion for Desjardines, a 12-year resident of Prince George.
On Tuesday, the artist has her first solo art exhibition opening and for two days, Oct. 15 and 16, over 50 original works water colours, acrylics on metal and mixed media will be on display and offered for sale. Her style is unique.
“Most people who work with metal make sculptures and use torches, so what I do (painting on metal) is unusual.
“I call my art impressionistic because most of it is modern, abstract and creates an impression of something rather than a realistic image. Impressionistic may not be the right term but it works for me.”
For five years, Desjardines has been building up an impressive body of work which she hopes to have displayed in the local gallery one day. Her love of art actually goes back to her youth but only now has she found the time to pursue her hobby seriously.
“This is a side of me that has always been there but now it’s just exploded in a good way,” she said. “I was waiting until the kids were older, so that I could return to my art.” During the day she still works in the family business (she and husband Shelldon own S. Desjardines and Associates, a company specializing in custom metal work) so evenings are set aside for her studio.
“The challenge has been finding the time. My husband built me my very own art studio in our home. It’s all made with stainless steel shelving, sink, counter tops. It’s beautiful. He also builds all the metal canvases for my artwork.”
The artist says her works are never fully planned but rather evolve.
“I start off with an idea and it just takes off from there,” she said.
“The most fun ones for me are those that just evolved. The pieces that are more contrived, I’m never as pleased with them. Right now stainless steel and metal is all the rage (for interior design, kitchen appliances, etc.) and I like working with it. I also love water colours.”
She often uses images of a full moon or shimmering water.
“I try to create imagery that highlights the look, texture of metal. That’s why you see moons, water and light in my work. If you change your mind about the paint, it can be a lot of work getting it off metal. (She laughs) One piece I put in Two Rivers Gallery Random Beginnings, Brilliant Endings exhibition illustrated that creative process.”
Currently, Desjardines is also working on a “surprise” grouping of artworks. Her ideas come from all over, she says.
“I have the most fun creating impressionistic landscapes and journeys into make-believe places. I see visual excitement everywhere I look and work hard to memorize the impressions that are created in my mind’s eye so that I may express the mood, the imagery through my art.”
Desjardines is a member of Studio 2880’s Artists Workshop Co-op. Musings by Melanie, an eclectic exhibition of over 50 artworks to date by Melanie Desjardines, will be on display and for sale at 161 Dominion St. (Old Olympia Cycle Building) two days only, Oct. 15 and 16, from 2 to 6 p.m.