For any art lover, whether a serious collector or a casual appreciator the connection to a work of art is a unique bond that may not have an explanation. Yet its mere existance is essential. This is why Melissa Graves-Brown paints.
“How lucky am I to bring color, light, and joy into people’s environments,” says Graves. “I find its a place from within that people enjoy my work and would like to surround themselves with it.
Graves has been painting her dreaming trees and aspen groves for over 20 years. Her iconic style is known throughout the West, across the nation, and internationally, and these symbols of life are her communication to countless admirers. Married with two children, Graves arrived in the Wood River Valley in 1999, and today she still paints her whimsical yet vibrant, inspiring trees in her studio in Hailey Idaho.
Graves explains “My true hope is that these groves and single trees are universal and allow people to reminisce into a special place – a place of joy and inspiration. Being grounded and connected with nature is essential; nature bathing is a necessary reminder especially in our current existence.”
A grove or a dreaming tree is the world in which Graves exists. When the brushes flow across the canvas which is sprinkled with colorful paint splatters and drippings it creates that moment when a fall wind whips up a pile of aspen leaves. Whether it’s a commission or inspiration, Graves will paint on several canvases at once allowing her choice in color to become a dominant thread throughout a body of work. What is it that has made Graves an iconic painter who is consistently revered by her community and so often awarded by the public?
“I always start a painting with an intention and when I finish it, sometimes I wonder who created it,” reveals Graves. “I enjoy accommodating my clients with custom orders. Sometimes people want only a single tree, or a moon and foothills, others want more splatters or to choose colors. Together we make it come to life.”
“I started this journey long ago and I feel I am contributing something of great importance and I present a reminder that there is joy in the world. The trees are my recognizable subject matter but color is my subject and it is what I know.”