Arts and Entertainment

New mom inspired by mothers

New mom inspired by mothers

Artist?s works in First Friday exhibit

Ashley Miller


Prepare to be awed.

Sequim artist Melanie Reed Arrington will share her latest work during a monthlong exhibit at The Buzz from July 1-31.

Her paintings are colorful, vibrant and one-of-a-kind, signed ?M. Reed? with Arrington?s maiden name, which she uses for all her artwork.

An artist?s reception is scheduled during the First Friday Art Walk from 5-8 p.m. Friday, July 1.

In addition to her most recent paintings ? a series about mothers ? a variety of Arrington?s previously featured works will be on display and for sale, including paintings from her unique motion sequence.

Arrington first was featured as artist of the month at The Buzz in 2005, just one year after moving to Sequim from the Tri-Cities area.

?I was surprised and thrilled that my work was so well received in this community,? she said. ?The show was a success (and) all but one painting sold!?

Arrington moved to Sequim after being hired as a graphic designer at the

Sequim Gazette in 2004, where she thrived until earlier this year, when she resigned to focus her energies on an expanding family.

Now, Arrington spends her days and nights caring for her 3-month-old daughter, Lily.

Between feedings and diaper changes, during nap time and in the wee hours of the night, Arrington finds her center of balance at a wooden easel by the sliding glass door in the dining room, paintbrush in hand.

Inspired by the experience of giving birth, Arrington created a new series that features mothers ? including a lifelike self-portrait ? on pre-printed fabric. As a new mother, Arrington said she appreciates her own mother more than she ever did before. The show, she said, is a tribute to all mothers ? including hers.

?Many memories of my own mother involve fabric,? Arrington said, such as watching her mother tackle the daily chores of ironing and folding laundry, learning to sew and knit and admiring her mother?s fiber artwork.

?Mothers seem to be the thread that holds the fabric of families together,? she said.

Arrington has a Bachelor of Arts degree in drawing from Western Washington University, where she studied many media, including photography, printmaking and graphic design.

As part of the show, Arrington will share a few of her favorite pieces from college. If they sell, she vows to donate the proceeds to the college?s art department.

The rest of the money, or most of it, will be deposited into an account set aside for her daughter?s education.

Often, Arrington paints from a photograph she?s taken. Included in the show are some of her nature photographs from across the North Olympic Peninsula.

When she works, Arrington uses nontoxic tempera paints and ? believe it or not ? coffee.

?Brown is hard to mix consistently with other paints,? she explained, ?so I mix instant coffee to the proper thickness.?

On opening night, Arrington will ask guests to enter their names into a drawing for the chance to win a print of their choice. If they choose, their name and contact information will be entered into her personal records and they?ll be informed of all her upcoming shows.

To enjoy refreshments, meet the artist and maybe catch a glimpse of Arrington?s pride and joy ? Lily ? stop by the opening reception. If that?s not possible, visit the coffee house at a more convenient time throughout the month.

Cutline: This mother-and-child composition on printed fabric is Melanie Reed Arrington?s portrait of herself and daughter Lily.

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