I can only imagine the courage it takes for an artist to create in front of a group of people. Heck, even one other person would terrify me. But at The Art Spirit Gallery in Coeur d’Alene, ID ( our hometown for just another 6 weeks ), their new featured artist for the month gives a demo on the Saturday following their opening. It is a fantastic way to gain a real “behind the art” glimpse into the creative process! I can’t believe it took me this long to attend one, but I’m so glad I did. The work of Spokane artist Mel McCuddin is striking online, luminous up close, but to see it in progress was truly inspiring.
Each canvas begins as an exercise in Abstract Expressionism– it is all about the paint, texture and color. Slowly, as formations evolve in clouds, a figure emerges on the surface.
McCuddin thoughtfully builds his layers, alternating patches of light and dark. Deliberate smudging of large swaths of canvas give way to areas of delicate and careful application.
His finished works are often left with an eerie glow, giving them a slightly alien quality yet they are approachable and likable. His subjects stare back at us with curious wisdom. You can see a slideshow of images of Mel McCuddin in action here ( Artsy Forager now has a YouTube channel! ). His solo show can be seen at The Art Spirit Gallery in Coeur d’Alene until August 4, 2012. I highly recommend a visit if you’re in the area!
Featured image is Three in a Tub, oil on canvas, 48×52. All images are via The Art Spirit Gallery website.