Big Belly




Mel Rea’s paintings are an abstracted assembly of colorful lines and shapes intersecting in multiple sheer layers. She’s often suggestive with her shapes, but no longer relies on concrete portrayals as she once did while working with clay. Rather, evocative forms often interweave her canvas in an allusive suggestion of romance, botanicals, humor, or sensuality. Mel often draws inspiration from a Japanese aesthetic, her deep love of animals, and all things filling the spaces of our wild natural world. Her work with color and thoughtful composition convey a deeper sense of self where she allows an abstracted anatomy to communicate without narratives. Mel is a believer that what you think, you attract. She is mindful where her imagination lingers, carefully working to ferry thoughts that evoke a connection of warmth between herself and her viewers.

Mel Rea completed her BFA in Ceramics from Kent State University in 1995 where her focus was figurative sculpture. She stayed with clay for 17 years when she began to paint and to study painting at Pasadena City College and San Fernando City College in Los Angeles.
The transition from clay to paint was made by Rea’s exploration of encaustic painting.
The craftsmanship involved with encaustics, allowed for a smooth transition from clay sculptor to painter. The soft satin finish of the beeswax replaced her love of lush clay glazes. The depth of the encaustic medium allowed Mel to dig, scratch, and incise elegant clean lines; satisfying her affinity for a sculptural surface. She later transitioned from encaustic techniques to working with more traditional mediums. Rea found a connection to the drying pace and application versatility of acrylics; the swiftness of scribbling lines and instant mark making of pastels; the opaque intensity of gouache; and the texture of oil sticks. She utilizes layers of varying paints and application methods: brushing, splashing, dripping, spraying, and scraping. This diverse play of paint creates a lively energy to the composition.