I like to watch things grow. They grow and bloom, and fade, and die and change into something else, Ah Life!   — Harold and Maude

Melinda Santora is a Pacific Northwest artist specializing in mixed–media works that combine vivid colors and organic textures with the sometimes deliberate, but often unexpected, pairing between found flora and familiar archetypes. Her paintings explore issues of identity and place, metaphor and mythology, both whimsical and emotional experience, and the rough, unfinished, and often imperfect beauty.

Melinda has studied both Contemporary and Classic Art at Southern Oregon University, and is an alumni of The Studio Arts Centers International (SACI) in Florence, Italy. She attended The Evergreen State College, earning a B.A. in Interdisciplinary Liberal Arts. While at Evergreen, she encountered the paintings of Pierre Bonnard and the les Fauves, becoming deeply inspired by their striking use of color and figurative subjects. She refined her own conceptual vocabulary from her studies of photography, mythology, cultural and art history.

Her art has been featured in both solo and group exhibitions, charity auctions, arts and craft fairs, in print publications, such as Portland’s Willamette Week, and continues to gain recognition.

I found I could say things with color and shapes that I couldn't say any other way, things I had no words for. — Georgia O'Keeffe

"I have always been fascinated by the different mythologies and archetypes that weave and spin throughout our everyday lives. Often the work consists of ideas and whimsical moments that swirl around beauty, nature, love, and play.

Acrylic paint is the main medium used in much of my art, yet time and again I find that incorporating various found objects and natural elements adds to the essence of the work, the varying mediums for each piece chosen inside the creation of that individual work. Often my work is messy, sometimes unclear, and nearly always imperfect, but that is just like life, and that's what makes it all the more real.

I have found inspiration from artists like Bonnard and van Dongen, their use of colour and intimacy draws me, and I hope to capture some of that in my own work. Through colour, texture, and the pairing of paint and nature, I can breathe life into that which was once a flat, blank canvas.

When I sit down to paint, what I hope to evoke is the inner life, influenced by our surroundings, yes, but in a more metaphysical sense. My aim is to lure the viewer into discovering an object’s beauty through an exchange between themselves and the larger universe around them — whether the soft-red light of a cheek, or the shimmering surface of a leaf — my hope is to draw the observer into seeing what has always existed around them, viewed in a new light."

Melinda Santora    

One always talks of surrendering to nature. There is also such a thing as surrendering to the picture. — Pierre Bonnard

Selected Solo Exhibitions

Jul. 2015 — Aug. 2015
A Return to the Garden
Zuzu Salon & Gallery, Portland, OR.
A Return to the Garden, Patience, Om, Planting by the Moon, Flowering Flurry of Spring, Ophelia, Wildflower, Orpheus and Eurydice, Metamorphosis, Perennial Bloom, Intrepid Florica, Woodstock.

Jul. 2014 — Nov. 2014
Myths, Memory, Metaphor
Alberta Abbey, Portland, OR.
Patience, Om, Flowering Flurry of Spring, Wildflower, Orpheus and Eurydice, Perennial Bloom, Woodstock, Awakening, Study of van Dongen.

Selected Group Exhibitions

25 Jul. 2013 — 10 Sep. 2013
The Story of the Creative
The Angel Orensanz Foundation, New York, NY.
Om, Study of van Dongen, Dwell.

Feb. 2013
The Pink Show
Splendorporium, Portland, OR.
Flowering Flurry of Spring, Wildflower, Orpheus and Eurydice, Metamorphosis, Enchantment.

Oct. 2011 - Dec. 2011
Minimal to Manic
The Match Gallery, Portland, OR.

Locations and Events

Many thanks to the following events and locations where I have been honored to share my work.

Madrona Hill Cafe, Portland, OR. • Zuzu Salon & Gallery, Portland, OR. • The Kava House, Portland, OR. • Sidecar 11, Portland, OR. • Seven Virtues, Portland, OR. • Batdorf & Bronson, Olympia, WA. • The Alberta Abbey, Portland, OR. • Last Thursday on Alberta, Portland, OR. • First Thursday in the Pearl, Portland, OR. • Artrageous Arts and Craft Faire, Portland, OR. • Roll the Dice, Find Your Price, Portland, OR. • Audubon Society, Wild Arts Festival Charity Auction, Portland, OR. • Mugs Coffee House, Bingen, WA.

I'm always looking for interesting places to share my work — available for commissions, solo and group shows, coffee shops, boutiques, galleries, and artistic collborations.

You can find Melinda at various Internet places:

Etsy • shop/artfullyamuse        
Facebook • artfully.amuse        
Instagram • @artfullyamuse        
Wordpress • whimsical musings        

Melinda can be reached by sending an e-mail to melinda@melindasantora.com.

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