Elmira-based artist Melissa Passmore uses the power of colour in nature to invoke emotion and reflection of the moment at hand. A lack of background removes additional distraction and places the focus on the movement and light of the petals. She hopes that it highlights the beauty of a single moment in time that is there for us all, if we endeavor to look for it. We interviewed Karen to learn more about her practice, inspirations, and what she is working on today.
1. How does your creative day look like and what inspires you to make art? Has your creative day changed due to COVID?
My creative day is highly variable. I am able to squeeze in creative time throughout the day as my studio is in my home. Typically I have paintings in many stages of development and will either prep or paint depending upon how much time I have and my creative energy at that moment.
2. Tell us more about your art studio.
My art studio is in the basement of my home. I am lucky to have a dedicated space where I can leave my supplies out and pick up the work where I left off last. I love the convenience of being in my home to maximize the amount of time that I can spend working creatively. The only downfall is that there is not a ton of natural light. I have also set up a large partitioned area just for the resin process as I often will finish my paintings in this manner and being dust free is an important part!
3. How did you first get interested in your mediums?
I started painting in watercolour and acrylics when I began painting again a few years ago. Having kids and working from home meant that easy clean up is a must. When I was a teen I painted in watercolour and loved every minute of it. I still create with watercolours which I find to be a very meditative creative process.
4. Describe your style in one sentence
My style is bold contemporary realistic florals.
5. Has your style changed over time?
I am continuing to evolve, learn and experiment. I am very interested in textures and I would love to incorporate more of that in my future work.
6. What are your main artistic tools?
I would say angle and flat brushes. I will often only use 1-2 brushes to complete an entire painting. I only work on wood panels in order to facilitate adding a resin finish.
7. Do you ever experience creativity blocks and how do you stay positive and inspired?
I don’t often feel blocked as my creative time is so precious that I end up really looking forward to it and that will generally get me excited for the process. If I am feeling uninspired or I need a change then I will usually break out my watercolours and new art supplies to just play without expectation. I love the community of other artists that I have found on Instagram and their amazing work will also inspire me to keep going and continue to evolve.
8. What Artists – either contemporary or from history-have had an impact on you and your art practice?
I am inspired and impacted by so many artists that I have discovered through Instagram. When I was initially embarking on my artistic journey I was influenced by Bobbie Burgers. I originally tried some abstract work but felt that I needed to study the form of flowers before I could capture their essence abstractly. I am also inspired by Frida Khalo as she was such a remarkable person and her floral paintings were up close and impactful.
9. Do you think the art world has changed or will be changing due to the pandemic? If yes, how?
I do think that there has been a shift in the comfort that collectors feel purchasing a piece of art online. That being said I also am really looking forward to in person shows and meeting some of my collectors in person!
10. What project are you working on right now? What would you like to do next?
I am currently completing commissions and working on a new body of work. I would love to participate in some in person fairs starting next year and so I will be busy preparing new work for those opportunities.