ARTIST:: TRAVELER:: MAKER
Inspired by the sea, travel, color and texture.
Azure waves. Cloudless traveler lost in days of dream and
birdsong float on turquoise seashells.Cuts polished catkins reflecting yellow,grasping leafy ribbons drift a washed rained pink.
In need of an armchair wander? The pages of our catalogs, shot in some of the world’s most colorful locales, are made for daydreaming.
Such is the case with our July book which was inspired by the laid back attitude and eclectic vibe of SoCal, and photographed in the seaside studio of painter Melissa Herrington. Here, we spoke with Herrington about the serenity of her workspace, her own faraway travels and mornings with her pup.
What is it like to live and work in Venice Beach?
Venice is a community of iconoclasts. People here are eccentric and creative in every way. This diverse setting, so close to the sea, is very important to me and my work. There are more than 60 artists’ studios within a few blocks of each other, so collaboration is a way of life.
What’s a normal day like for you in the studio?
In the morning, it’s coffee, a walk with Finn—my mini Aussie—and often a bike ride on the beach to gather ideas. Then I’ll head to my studio, I write down some notes, sketch and begin to paint. When I start a piece, I usually have no idea where it will go, so it takes on a life of its own.
What’s your go-to outfit when you’re painting? How about for a gallery show?
I generally wear comfortable jeans and a t-shirt. Flowy, simple…and replaceable! And I can’t forget my painting apron. It’s very meaningful to me—I’ve had it for 16 years and when I wear it, I feel my history on me.
I adore my collection of accessories. Sometimes, for a night out, I’ll go monochromatic so I can layer with scarves and jewelry. Each one is a memory of a trip or an experience. I like my clothing to feel like my travels—sometimes peaceful and simple, but other times, a total adventure!
Tell us about your most recent series of paintings, “Daughter of the Wind.”
These pieces have a sense of optimism. The name comes from the Greek flower, anemone, which is thought to open only when the wind blows. To me, that is a beautiful metaphor for change. I began a number of them using sea fans as templates and using new pigments on raw canvas. The collection has been described as a kaleidoscope, which I love.
What is your personal style at home?
I love a clean palette of white that leaves room for me to see and think, and to display my collections of art and ceramics. When decorating, I like white on white—it manages to be both serene and chic, while open to the possibility of more color, texture and improvisation.
You’ve also traveled quite a bit. What places have you found most inspiring?
Traveling, whether alone or while working, has become part of my creative process as an artist.
I fell in love with the horizon on the Aeolian Island of Salina, the reddish, earthen landscape of Morocco’s Atlas Mountains, and the most perfect, pink floating stone stairs in Greece. Of course, there’s always inspiration at home in Southern California, where jacaranda petals create a purple carpet in spring, and the beaches, mountains and desert meet in an amazing collision of nature.
I love this quote from Emily Dickinson. “The soul should always stand ajar, ready to welcome the ecstatic experience.”