'New Year Sunlight' oils on linen 2018

Melanie Stokes Artist

I was born in London, raised in Scotland, have studied and worked in Switzerland, France, Edinburgh, Dundee and London; and I now live in Cornwall. I have an MA in Fine Art Painting from Chelsea College of Art.

Recent Shows:

2016 Cornwall Open Studios, May. “Standing Rock” Studio Sale, December.
2017 “Two Bright Birds” joint exhibition with Helena Clinch, Studio Stokes, St Just. 24-26 November.
2018 “Life On The Edge”, joint exhibition with Helena Clinch, Morvah Schoolhouse Gallery, 30 March – 13 April

Living and working in West Penwith

I have lived in West Penwith, Cornwall, for fifteen years now so I’m what is known as a “blow-in” to the locals: a recent arrival in the time-frame of this ancient land and its inhabitants. I am enchanted and captivated by the ceaseless dance of transient beauty conjured by the elements on this exposed peninsula at “the end of the land”.

In my paintings I try to convey something of my speechless awe at witnessing the daily and cyclical transformations of this landscape and its lifeforms: twisting gorse, many-petaled swathes of seasonal colour; Atlantic storms and arching skies of light and cloud; enduring shrubs, rocks and headlands; vast ocean reaches and tumbling streams. I particularly love the birds and flowers that enliven gardens, dwellings, hedges, fields, moorland, cliffs and, of course, the sea.

Melanie Stokes - artist in Cornwall UK
'Bright Portent' oils on canvas 2018 by Melanie Stokes Artist

I work (and play) primarily using water-soluble oil paints on linen, canvas, paper. My entry point for a new painting is often through a sketch I have made en plein air. The sketches give me a physical record and reminder of what I experienced and observed at the time. The subsequent painting process allows me to synthesize my experience and my reflections upon it, first and foremost through colour. My colour choices, brushstroke energy and a “push-pull” contrast offered where figuration couples with abstraction, permit me to explore dichotomies both aesthetic and symbolic. I find the composition of each painting resolving itself along the way.

The act of painting, together with the uniquely local community, landscape and climate of Cornwall, supports and nourishes me by reminding me daily of the infinite possibilities for meeting and viewing this extraordinary adventure of existence with fresh eyes and expression.