Melody Art Gallery Summer Exhibition

Summer 2021 at Melody Art Gallery will feature paintings by Melody, photography by David. Also featuring guitar music by Simon who will be playing on Saturdays during the summer. Melody will be painting in her studio which will also be open, her studio is close by to the gallery.

The gallery is situated in Porlock, a lovely working village in the heart of Exmoor National Park. This is a beautifully inspirational place for an artist and a lovely holiday destination. Exmoor National Park has abundant wildlife, is one of the only parks that extends down to the sea and is at the start of the South West Coast Path.

The gallery will be open on Saturdays and at other times we are available to meet you or by appointment in our studio / gallery. We can be contacted via email. Melody paints a variety of subjects which you can view on our website. We have many original paintings some of which are on the website and are added as time permits. We also offer Giclée prints on paper or canvas of many of Melody’s paintings. All pictures can be shipped within mainland UK at not cost, other locations are charged at cost price.

We do look forward to welcoming you to Porlock and hope that the paintings and photographs give you a glimpse of this stunning location.

Porlock in Exmoor National Park, Popup Saturday by David

Porlock, like everywhere in England has suffered a year of lockdowns due to COVID.  The good news is that the villagers have got together to form a recovery group to help encourage people back into this beautiful part of Exmoor National Park. This is popup Saturday 1, subsequent popups will be held on the first Saturday of the month through to the autumn.  My part in this is to photograph and video the events and hopefully if you are reading this encourage you to come along.

https://youtu.be/GEu9PBkM_p8

The first video leads us nicely into the flavour of the events, a bit of fun while supporting the local shops and businesses who have struggled and survived lockdown. The stalls, although not local traders are bringing a bit of something different to Porlock without directly competing with the shops.

https://youtu.be/HsCVBNy0KsM

Sarah Shorten is the founder of “Stacked Wonky”, more in future videos but in brief a theatrical group working in the community with children and many of the musicians in this blog. Sarah has been leading the work on this initiative, one of several to promote the village. Here she gives a brief summary of what she has been doing.

https://youtu.be/Jm5S0Ys0SsQ

Apple juice, a model of a shepherds hut or even a full size shepherds hut and how about a bit of Accordion music to go with it.

https://youtu.be/bQtdRbT-7aY

Duncan McCanlis, chairman of Porlock recovery group shares his view of what he would like to achieve on behalf of the village.

https://youtu.be/AhbDS88xeLU

Danny runs Freecycle in Porlock and tells us of his heart for the environment and how he can help the village achieve a greener footprint.

https://youtu.be/JEdSKLkRt40

Good Vibe Veg, get involved grow vegetables and share the workload with others.

Giclee printing on canvas using a Canon printer by David

I started my journey in Giclée printing when Melody and I formed Melody Art in 2003. At that time the process was relatively new and it was quite rare for an artist to self publish using this form of printing, researching techniques and obtaining materials was much more difficult. Now the technique is known and used by many artists.

So what is a Giclee print

We see many prints, allegedly Giclée prints, but it is a case of buyer be ware. Having an inkjet printer and sticking in a bit of copy paper does not produce a Giclée print. Firstly the printer is an inkjet printer like many everyday printers, the difference starts with the quality of the inks and papers used. The full definition of the process is covered by The Fine Art Trade Guild, although we are no longer members we do follow the guidelines they publish.

For me the process starts when the image is captured, I scan all our paintings, cameras were not sufficiently accurate back in 2003 and I still have issues with taking photographs of art work. Part of the scanning process is to produce an image that is colour calibrated and can be sent to a printer to produce consistent results.

The next stage is to have a printer that can accept colour profile information from Photoshop or any other high quality image package, and can also accept profile information relating to the paper or canvas being used. Our printers have always used pigment inks although dye based inks are used by some printers. Printers have changed over the years, the Canon printer I use has 12 colours, my previous printer had 7, both produced consistent prints with colours almost identical to the original.

The next choice is the paper or canvas type. I have for many years used Hahnemuhle papers, they have always been expensive but since Brexit have become even more expensive. There are now many sources of papers and canvas and it is worth looking at samples and choosing a surface that suits your particular style, we use etching paper and a matt canvas. The paper as defined in the process should be of a particular weight, off the top of my head the paper we use is about 200gsm (grams per square metre) and the canvas is 340gsm. In addition the papers are coated so that the ink is not absorbed into the paper. Should you try printing on ordinary copy paper you may be able turn up saturation on the colours to approach something like the original, but in truth the paper will be absorbing much of the ink and will be muting those colours.

The papers should be supplied with their own colour profiles ensuring that the print looks the same from one paper to the next, alternately one can have custom profiles produced that take into account the idiosyncrasies of your own printer.

The print shown in the video is “Purple Headed Mountain” and is a limited edition print of one of Melody’s paintings. The painting is of Dunkery Beacon, the highest point in Exmoor National Park, and was painted when the hill was covered in heather and gorse.

In part 2 I’m going to be looking at stretching a canvas and producing a picture ready to hang.

A Journey up Porlock Hill Toll Road in my MGTF by David

A drive from Porlock up the scenic woodland toll road to the AA box at the top. This is a beautiful landmark route on Exmoor National Park, a must do while visiting. Built to provide work for soldiers returning from the Napoleonic war of 1840 and also to provide an easier route up Porlock Hill, the steepest A road in England. This is the journey up the hill, but don’t miss the journey down which is perhaps even better. The road is just over 4 miles long from Porlock and is used by walkers, runners, cyclists, it is closed occasionally as a rally stage and sometimes for vintage cars.

A Walk On North Hill – a poem by Melody – inspired by life in Exmoor National Park

Its raining again,
Hey ho, yet away we go.
The dog’s so happy,
How can I say no?

Life’s little pleasures,
So humble and few,
A walk on the Hill is the least I can do.

Off we go to taste the days delights,
Nature is calling,
For us to explore,
To discover nature’s law.

The birds are happy,
Singing through the rain,
The chorus of many,
High on the terrain.

Rain pours down,
I delight as I splutter
Rain in my eyes,
I run for cover.

So cosy and secure,
Under a great large oak.
Acting as my glorious cloak.

So clean and sparking
Some squirrels abound
Swiftly they jump,
So light on the ground.

They gather their bounty,
Hiding it away, secretly,
For a winters day.

Natures a delight,
This is plain to see,
Especially with my little friends,
Surrounding me,

The dog is gone!
I worry for the farmers gun!

Holes galore,
Fences to clamber,
Naughty dog,
Yet how she loves to scramble.

Here she comes wagging her tail,
Smiling away,
To my laughing dismay.

Where have you been,
I wonder with glee,
Glad to have her back again,
With me.

Home bound sweetie,
Time for a rest!
A stick lands at my feet,
What energy what zest.

I feel so alive
Refreshed,
How lucky I feel,
How honoured,
How new.

The rain seemed to clean me too.

North Hill Through The Cow Field seascape painting in oil on canvas
North Hill Through The Cow Field seascape painting in oil on canvas

A Morning Walk – a poem by Melody

Happy Walk - landscape painting in oil on canvas

Whence I came apron a grove,
Upon a halting light,
The sun did nestle, hallowing,
A tender dove in flight.

The blessed dew,
By the breath of dawn.
Daisies mirroring,
The sunlight born.

Trees and trunks murmur,
Poppies sway,
Blackbirds and Finches chatter,
Worms contentedly play.

A spontaneous flow of nature,
Softens my eye,
And I understand,
Gods reason
Why.

The Hurricane of 1987 – a poem by Melody

The wind cavorts dangerously
Uprooting trees and rocking me,
Tearing relentlessly
Mercilessly.

The birds are hiding,
High in their trees,
Heads bent as if in prayer,
‘’Please save me”.

Beauty is moved by breezes and bees,
This disrupts even the seas.

So fierce and wronged,
Revenge maybe?
The anger awes and reminds me.
How dangerous
The accosting wind can be.

A Windy Day - landscape painting in oil on canvas
A Windy Day – landscape painting in oil on canvas

Home – a poem by Melody

The journey seems endless,
I feel groggy and tired,
Wilting away with all the miles.

My sleepy eyes recover,
I fix my gaze,
Twinkling stars beacon,
Lights overhead blaze.

I’m nearly home now,
Majestic and calm,
The church is alight, a beacon,
Guiding me into the night.

Welcome!
Visitors and its children alike,
Rest is a promise one can surely rely,
A magnetism draws me,
The warmth prevails,
Invisible rays guide me
To my port,
Curing my ails.

Here the abundance of nature reigns,
Life’s fuel
Is a gift,
To enjoy.

Home for a while,
To rest and be free,
Here is my anchor
Greeting me.

This poem-records the view of St Michaels Church which is on North Hill where we lived in Minehead and is depicted below in Melody’s painting, the church is the blue building in the centre of the hill . Melody has several stories of the church, one is of using the powerful floodlights to roast apples.

North Hill Minehead - landscape painting in oil on canvas
North Hill Minehead – landscape painting in oil on canvas