Friday, May 10, 2019

Season of Birds and Roses


The beauty that surrounds us in May is beyond my ability to describe in words. However, I believe the exuberant and tireless birds I hear outside right now are succeeding wildly in telling about it.
I try to bottle a drop of each seasons glory in pictures. Like a loved one's face in a locket, a picture gathered in the midst of beauty can take us right back to it, even years later (Kodak figured that out a long time ago!).

May a fragrant rose greet you on your way today,

WORKSHOP NEWS:  I have two workshops coming up on Salt Spring at the end of June, the 28th and the 30th. These are two topics folks have been asking about after seeing my work.
Brief descriptions are below, and on my website.  Each course will be small group workshops, and there are only a few spaces left. If you're interested, contact me soon by finding the contact form on my website.
If there is enough of a waiting list, I may offer a second set in July.

All the best.

With even the lightest  touch of your own hand, a photograph becomes a one of a kind work of art. Using your images, we’ll make several small, elegant photo transfer prints on fine art paper, then practice enhancing them with watercolors, pencils and chalk pastels.  

Summer is a perfect time to play with beeswax. With the help of the warm sun, and a few other wonderful tools and techniques, we’ll  apply hot or cold wax to photographs to create beautiful finishes that also seal and protect the images. Also, we’ll practice ways to use the wax creatively, taking the photographs to completely new level,  making each one unique

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Gathering Light

Spring greetings friends...

Today was a sparkling, warm, sunny day on Salt Spring...we are gathering light indeed. It's hard to believe that it was only a few weeks ago that I shovelled a path to my car through snow and ice so that I could load it with artwork that I would then carry down for an exhibit in California. And, deliver the art I did (I felt like Alice in Wonderland driving a Wells Fargo wagon through the wild western frontier).

I feel very honoured to be showing alongside fellow photographers Robert Taylor, Aryan Chapell and Roger Franklin in a group exhibit titled Gathering Light, at the beautiful Grace Hudson Museum in Ukiah. The display is up until May 26th. Hours are Wed -Sat 10:30 - 4:30, Sun 12-4:30.

I won't take away from the surprise by talking too much about it, or putting the whole show online. However, here's a link to a thoughtful article about the photographers and the show that appeared in the Ukiah Daily Journal: Friendship and Photographs on Display in Ukiah By Carole Brodsky.

Robert Taylor also offered this insightful summary of our gathered work:  The current state of photography is not one thing or the other, but many things, and "Gathering Light" reflects the rich panoply of its offerings.  We hope a wide range of viewers to the exhibit will enjoy this diverse richness and the maturity of photographic vision reflected in it.   

I lived in Mendocino County for over 30 years. Now, wherever I am, Mendocino County lives in me.The pictures I’ve chosen for Gathering Light are an homage to my former home and to Nature, our collective home. The images are each color pigment prints, over painted with acrylics, mounted to wood panels with hand made frames.

The Grace Hudson Museum in itself is a treasure. I highly recommend a visit, even if you aren't able to make it during the dates of the show. To learn more about the museum, visit:

I'd like to express my gratitude to the generous and talented team at the Grace Hudson Museum: Curator Karen Holmes, exhibit designers and installers Karen Holmes, Denver Tuttle, Sherri Smith-Ferri, Eric Neilson, Dylan Novak, Kristen Marrow, Jose Ruiz, and museum director David Burton.

From left:
Aryan ChapellRobert TaylorAmy MeliousRoger Franklin

Clockwise, from left:
After the Harvest, California,
Little Lake, TracksArtwork by Amy Melious.

Grace Hudson Museum

Thursday, January 3, 2019

Stepping into a New Year

In the universe, 
there are things that are known, 
and things that are unknown, 
and in between, 
there are doors.  
- Wm. Blake

Best wishes, Amy

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Summer, Shows, and the Beauty in Change

As mid summer heads into late summer, blackberries are ripening on the vine, grasses are golden, and market stands are piled with beautiful produce.

In parallel to the fruition happening all around, i’ve been finishing new work for two shows here on Salt Spring this month (see below). It has been an amazing process, and i'm thrilled with how they're coming along. If you're anywhere nearby when they're up, I hope you'll be able to come see.

One of my pieces is a celebration and study of purple thistles.
The other day, to reference the color, I cut a stem of thistles from just outside the studio and put it in a vase of water near my easel where i’m hand-painting my prints for the show. 

As the hot afternoon sun came throught the window of my studio and warmed up the thistle, it burst open before my eyes, releasing it’s delicate seeds which tumble-floated down all over, onto the floor and into my cans of paintbrushes.

The same day, I happened to hear this song on the radio - Nina Simone singing “Everything must change”.
Nina sings the song with such heart and soul, sad and sweet yet infused with a quiet power.
It got me thinking about that thistle, and just how exquisitely it handles change.
I want to be like that.

I think change itself is a form of beauty, a beauty that thrills and aches at once.


Hosted by the Salt Spring Arts Council, Mahon Hall, Salt Spring Island

Photosynthesis - Group photography show, August 22-Sept 4.  Artspring, Salt Spring Island.

Monday, March 19, 2018

Jump Start

Whatever it is that lifts your spirit up, waters it like a thirsty plant, and polishes it to reveal it's natural born shine - that is beauty.

Hurry to the beauty that catches your eye!
Then pause to let it work it's magic.


I don't understand the mystery of grace, only that it meets us where we are, and never leaves us where it found us.  - Anne Lamott

P.S. I'm back in the studio, loving spring and feel energized and inspired about a variety of creative projects underway. Stay tuned for news of April workshops, and shows going up later in the year!
All the best to each of you.

Friday, July 14, 2017


The annual symphony of flowering is upon us!  Here in the northwest, it starts with a single flash of life jumping out of the dark earth in late January, early February. It is the first snowdrop, or crocus,  emerging like a butterfly from a cocoon. Our souls, slowed by the subdued palette and chill of winter, are instantaneously energized and delighted by that tiny shock of brand new-ness and color. And so it begins.

This spring, a friend told me a beautiful story about a tradition in his family. He grew up in eastern Canada where winters are extra long.  Each year,  sometime around March,  his dad piled the family into the car and said "We're going to drive until we see a daffodil".  And they did. They headed south until they spotted one.

That's pretty much what I did this spring too. Leaving the first week of March, in snow and ice, I set out on a long road trip.  Arriving in California felt like going through the wardrobe door into Narnia. I pulled in just in time to catch the peach orchards in spectacular full bloom around Marysville.

Over the course of the next several weeks, on my way to see family and friends, I chased flowers around like a deliriously happy honeybee, collecting photographs as my pollen. I find the act of photographing flowers  is a very beautiful way to spend time with them, like having a good conversation.

Now, in the peak of summer, the roadsides and fields here are completely alive and buzzing, like impressionist paintings, splashed with  daisies, foxglove, wild roses, dandelions, tiny wildflowers, morning glory, and endlessly more. Words fail me when it comes to describing what it feels like to bask in the graciousness of even a single one of those blossoms.

With summer greetings, may you be enjoying the company of flowers in your world as well.
For now -Amy

Saturday, February 4, 2017

The Fire Within

It's been an especially cold and long winter where i live.
It feels like several winters in a row. In fact, it's snowing again as i write this.

If you read a poem many times over, you know it can take on a certain added beauty and depth. This winter, - it's been something like that. 
This post is for any or all of you in the midst of outer or inner winters of your own... 

It helps to remember that Winter is an old, old  friend of Earth. 
Winter is the silent partner of apples, and tulips, and many other wonders that can only come to being after a rendezvous with the cold. I love that.

In wintertime, when things appear colorless, look again and look softly- because they're not. And, what looks like destruction at the hands of the season, is likely Natures way of preparing for new growth. Not always pretty, but still necessary.

Like all of Nature,  Winter is a superb, if strict, teacher offering very solid, no nonsense counsel. All we have to do is pay attention. 
When there’s a freezing chill in the air, for example, the dominate lesson is “Just don’t let the fire go out”. I don’t think that’s meant as a suggestion either – more of a do or die kind of thing. Got it. That one feels like the billboard of the day.

There are many signs going up these days. Signs that can distill big complex situations into a few words to help clarify our thinking, and affect our behaviors and then greater outcomes. That's a good thing, - something Nature thought of a long time ago.

So here are a few signs, inspired by our old friend Winter:
Don’t let the fire go out.
Keep a warm heart.
Stoke curiosity about what we don’t understand.
Fuel optimism.
Kindle the flame of hope.

Radiate your truth.
Change is Natures way.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Keep on keeping on in 2017

Heading into this new year,
may we be creative in our wayfinding,
stay light on our feet,  and carry a song in our hearts.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

The art of hope

When i hear the word "wall", i envision a window.
When i think path, i think walk
When i think about a challenge, i think  try

Imagination is the vessel that holds my hopes and gives shape to them.
It is the brush that paints my dreams, and the compass 
that guides me through uncharted terrain.

There is a world that we can see - right in front of us. And there is another world, 
within us,- a world of possibility. 

"You may say I'm a dreamer..." -  to that i say yes, I am. And I promise I'll do my very best. 

Still, round the corner there may wait, a new road or a secret gate.-JR Tolkien

You can't depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus. - Mark Twain

Work is love made visible. - Kahlil Gibran

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Earth Emoticons

Love takes many forms.

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Gliding into a New Year

Imagining a conversation between two poets...

Mary Oliver:

"Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and 
precious life?"  

Maria Rainier Rilke:
"Live everything. Live the questions now." 

With my very best wishes for a beautiful new year for all,

Monday, December 21, 2015

Shine on

December Greetings from the great Northwest.

It's winter solstice, the shortest day of the year. Even though I always celebrate the return of long sunny days, I have learned to love this season of long nights in the north. They are an invitation, no-definitely a firm suggestion, to pause. When the light is low or disappeared, all other senses seem to heighten. And, on a clear night, the sky is the imax of all imax's, reminding us that there are mysteries that will outlast us all.

With Christmas around the corner, the world is brightened
by strands of colorful lights. The beauty of lights relies on their partnership with the darkness they inhabit; the ultimate metaphor.

I've been noticing a Christmas tree on the side of a country road lately on my way into town.
It's a living tree, simply decorated, understated.  It makes me smile, and  I appreciate whoever listened to their holiday muse and chose to light the way for passers by.

As we work to create light for others, we naturally light our own way. 
- Mary Anne Radmacher

Beauty is whatever gives joy. - Edna St. Vincent Millay

Like moths to a flame, we are drawn to light, wherever we find it - strings of lights, candles, campfires, and smiling eyes.
Like kindness, hope and courage, light keeps us warm, and helps us see better.

May we all let our lights shine this season, and throughout the year.

Yeah, we all shine on like the moon, and the stars, and the sun.
-John Lennon

Thursday, May 28, 2015

May Opera

Spring greetings from Tuscany...
When I noticed this  poppy-I thought of music. Opera!

I'll post a few more pictures from the road soon.

Workshop catalog for the summer season 2015 is finished.
Keep an eye out for the paper version in various Salt Spring locations.
A pdf version will be available here on my blog soon.

Ciao for now.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Carpe Diem Every Day: Fall

Those of us who live in regions with seasons know well that poignant moment each autumn when we notice the first leaf twirl it's way to the ground.

Even though we know to expect it,  it is usually still met with shock and awe. Also, it's very motivating.
That single messenger leaf comes bearing the loud and clear announcement that we are all crossing an important threshold.
From that leaf forward, the pace picks up around things like stacking firewood, preserving the harvest, winterizing the property, and moving coats, scarves and umbrellas to the front of the closet.
As our minds begin the shift from the long active days of summer and sun and projects, we begin to remember things like soup, rain, movies, the holidays, and rest.

In British Columbia, I recognize the combination of dry weather and falling leaves can be very brief, and I've come to appreciate it as a poetic phenomenon of nature. As fallen leaves begin to dry on the ground, they curl and bend to become inspiring miniature sculptures. Their colors are bright, rich and varied.

Rain is never far off from this special moment, and will change the scenery dramatically, pressing everything into the earth, or literally carrying things away in streams or wind.
Also, with the arrival of colder temperatures, colors deepen, and much of the world becomes a hushed backdrop to the final fall operas sung  by some vivid vines, trees and grasses. I love the way the palette in nature is constantly refreshing itself in this part of the world.

I took this photo (iPhone) recently when the world here was still dry. The leaves had just begun to fall, taking the longest routes down that they could before delicately resting themselves here and there in perfect randomness.

Sure enough, it rained the very next day…

Enjoy your world today!

Drawing: Portrait of dried leaves, 1816, Friedrich Oliver.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

El Molino

Here's a photo I took last year of El Molino. It's a renovated very old mill, surrounded by olive groves, about an hour up into the hills from the coastal town of Malaga. There is a beautiful courtyard in the center where meals are served, and a large patio and pool at the back. This is where the magic happens during Flavour of Spain art holidays!

This quote happened to cross my path by email yesterday, in a newsletter I subscribe to

"Have you ever felt shivers on the back of your neck and goose bumps on your arms when you hear an idea that makes you want to follow it? Or felt as though something is laying a path for you?" - Elizabeth Gilbert

Carpe Diem

Oh my…As we turn the corner, heading into fall,  the year ahead is already coming into view.
It's time to sign up for Spain, people!  In fact, the course/holiday is about half full already!  If you'd like to come, now is the time to decide to take the plunge…carpe diem! Book your spot, and block out MAY 2-10, 2015 in your calendar. If travel, art, photography, food, flamenco, rest and laughter sounds like your kind of fun, I'm fairly certain you'll be glad you did…
Last year was such an awesome experience, both relaxing and stimulating at the same time. Being with a group of people gathered for a common purpose is pretty inspiring, especially with cameras and sketchbooks out. There is no pressure, just pure encouragement to create. Also….a hugely wonderful part of each Flavour of Spain creative adventure is FLAVOUR!  Except for when we're out and about on excursions, lunches and dinners are lovingly and expertly prepared by hosts Mike and Hilary Powell. I love to cook and was thrilled to discover flavors that were totally new and delicious. Their food is up there with best I've ever had.  I was also blown away by the olive oil and the wines! 
If you’ve been longing to indulge your inner artist, 8 nights and 9 days among the olive groves of southern Spain, in the season of wildflowers oughta do it. Many who came last year said it was the trip of a lifetime.
Artist Gail Short and I have created a really unique course especially for Spain 2015. It combines sketching, painting and photography (sometimes all at the same time!- you'll see). Whether you're coming with no experience or a lot, we feel sure you'll enjoy and grow from the discussions and exercises we have planned. 

In addition to instruction, the whole package includes comfortable accommodation, unforgettable gourmet cuisine and Spanish wines, an evening out to see an intimate, professional flamenco performance, and day trips to explore traditional whitewashed villages, with sketchbooks and cameras in hand of course. Space is limited…so carpe diem!  You only need to put down $250 to hold your spot. The holiday is organized by Flavour of Spain. The total cost is $3690 excluding air fair. Reservations are made by contacting their travel agent Cindy Horton at Travel Concepts in Vancouver: 1-800-661-7176 or (604) 926-8511. 
Feel free to contact me for any additional information about our course, or Cindy for additional information about the trip overall.  

Friday, June 13, 2014

Artcraft is open, it must be Summer…

Greetings, on a fine June day.
Our local artists' showcase, Artcraft, opens this evening for the summer season!
Each year, artists come out of the woodwork to share new creations with the public from June to September,  and during the winter holidays. Artcraft happens in beautiful Mahon Hall, directly across from Ganges Harbour, in the heart of Ganges, on Salt Spring Island.
Oh…and while you're there, if you enjoy coffee, DEFINITELY try the cappuccino at the little green box, that is Salt Spring's own Mt. Maxwell Roasters, right out front. Mamma mia, they make a fabulous coffee.
Here's a sneak peek at my offerings this year. I decided to continue my miniatures series for the second year in a row. Later in the summer, I plan to bring out a few brand new surprises as well…still tinkering, which is more than half the fun.

About the Work:

The series of images I’m showing at Artcraft this year are 3x3 inch miniatures. They are a collection of fleeting moments in time.  Each one represents a pause, a silent -but not small- “wow”.

When I have a camera with me, or even my phone, I sometimes feel compelled to record, for all time, something that feels like more than the beautiful scene I in front of me. As much as anything, they are capsules of celebration. In each of the instants shown in the small white frames, I have felt the kindness of a gift received. I have often stood in awe,  curiosity and wonder,  and for sure – gratitude.
The collection started as a series of images that I saw as a sort of strand of  “why-I-love-Salt Spring”  pearls, and has been growing from there.

With just a few exceptions, these images are of  Salt Spring, taken during the course of day to day life throughout the year.  The  location is noted on the back of each  piece.
I have included some images taken in other locations beyond Salt Spring, however,  because the spirit in which they came about, makes them so compatible. Those locations are also noted on the pieces.  
Lastly, included for the same reasons, are a few black and white images worked from photographs found in antique stores. That information is noted on the backs as well.

What all of the images share in common, I believe, is that they are each a small window onto the world that surrounds us. Even by the tiniest glimpse, we may be reminded that each moment holds unique and boundless magnificence.

Each image is an archival pigment print on fine are cotton paper, sealed several times for protection, then mounted to birch wood panels and finally trimmed in hand made frames.

Most of the color pieces are also hand-painted with acrylics.