Slow Build: Mel McCuddin at Art Spirit Gallery

19 Jul

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.

Matchmaker, oil on canvas, 52×48

Reveries, oil on canvas, 48×44

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.

The Old Dog, oil on canvas, 36×40

Black Dirt Farmer, oil on canvas, 48×48

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.

The Late Bus, oil on canvas, 52×48

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.

5 Responses to “Slow Build: Mel McCuddin at Art Spirit Gallery”

  1. t.hager July 20, 2012 at 4:15 am #

    After being saturated with abstractions it is so nice to see truly imaginative, figurative works that inspire. Love the Old Dog! t.hager

    • Lesley July 20, 2012 at 7:55 am #

      He has such a unique visual language, so interesting and distinctive. Probably my favorite artist I’ve discovered from this Spokane/North Idaho area. The Old Dog was even better in person! Definitely wanted to take him home with me. 😉

  2. francifularts July 20, 2012 at 11:47 am #

    Incredible paintings. Last summer I volunteered in the Art Barn at our county fair. They had a variety of artists painting for people to watch. It was really fun seeing the paintings created on the spot!

    • Lesley July 20, 2012 at 1:11 pm #

      I wish I could sit in on the creative process of every artist whose work I love. It really does give you such a better understanding and appreciation for the final result!

  3. Sunnyace July 21, 2012 at 9:10 am #

    Reblogged this on Sunnyace Reblog Collections.

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