Meet Melody Lea Lamb
Friends, It is my pleasure to introduce to you Artist, Melody Lea Lamb. Melody truly has a big heart when it comes to animals. It shows in her work and in her selfless giving to animal charities. Melody’s ACEOs (Art Cards Editions and Originals), not only have amazing detail, but each creature seems to have a loving personality all their own. Please enjoy the following biography of Melody written by Mickey Revenaugh, Melody’s sister:
Is Melody an artist who can also talk to animals—or a lover of fur and paws who also draws like a dream? Her fans can’t tell where one gift ends and another begins. All they know is that the combination has led to some pretty interesting life circumstances, from teaching art in a chicken coop to composing watercolors on horseback. And that may also be why Melody’s renderings of fairies and forest vistas seem as alive as her portraits of horses and cats.
All creatures great or small, real or imaginary, inspire Melody’s brush.
Having done her time at art school and the gallery scene, with a successful series of commissions along the way, Melody now paints miniature masterpieces in the Berkshire Mountains while tending to a menagerie that includes a horse, a husband, three cats, two kids, and a dog … all of whom have modeled for her at one point or another. Melody’s newest work is available throughout the Internet with originals for sale on Etsy.
Thank you Mickey, for a well deserving introduction!
Melody, can you tell me about your art background. How young were you when you started drawing and painting. Have you had formal training?
I am one of six kids and was a twin until age sixteen when my twin sister was killed in a car accident. I grew up in Bakersfield California and went to college at Sonoma State University. I moved to the East Coast and after a bit of struggle (early marriage and divorce), continued my art training at Maine College of Art. I spent about six years as a graphic designer at an advertising firm as well as in a company called Weargaurd where my job was to translate customer’s ideas into a digitizable format for embroidered work clothes. At that point I took a ten year “baby sabbatical” during which time I focused my energy on raising my two beautiful children. It wasn’t until my children were nearing their teens that I found my way back into the art world.
When did you first start creating animal art?
I’ve always loved animals a great deal and have painted them to some extent since I was very young.
Can you put into words the connection you feel to animals?
Aside from my family, art and animals are what I love most. For as long as I can remember I’ve had a special rapport with animals. I can recall as a child, believing I could “talk” to my cat, and collecting as many animals as my poor family could tolerate! I’ve always turned to nature for solace, especially during difficult times in life. Even simply watching the colorful backyard birds at my feeders, or stroking my dog’s silky head when she is curled up beside me, soothes away any troubles I encounter.
What Is Art For Critters and how did you become involved with the group?
Art for Critters is a wonderful and talented group of artists who donate a portion of their proceeds to select animal charities. We have raised $52,047.24 since January 2006! I am one of three co-leaders of this fine group I personally donated 10% of the proceeds from nearly all my original paintings since 2006.
I was invited to participate in Art For Critters seven years ago when I was selling my miniatures on eBay. The mission of the group absolutely clicked for me and I leaped at the chance to participate.
Can you tell me about Run for Critters?
My first Run For The Critters was inspired by grief and gratitude. When my mother passed away in February 2010 after a long slow “dwindling,” I worked out my feelings of loss by running on our country roads. As I was out running one morning, a month or so after mom passed away, I was suddenly bowled over by a strong sense of gratitude. I was grateful that I could still run at my age (in my 50’s), that I could run in such beautiful countryside, I felt grateful for so many things. I wanted to give back somehow. Then an idea hit me: I’d run for the critters. I could set a goal of running a six-mile race while raising money for animal charity! That is exactly what I did. In September 2010 I raced in the George Coope Memorial Road Race Run Adams MA. I won 2nd place in my class, and raised $1500 for animal charity!
I was so thrilled, inspired and empowered by the success of my Run that I did it again. In May, 2011 I ran the Memorial Day Lenox 10K and raised $500 for the critters. In Sept., 2011 I ran a third Run For The Critters called the Brock Trot in Lenox, MA. and raised $1141. for animal charity.
How did you develop your online markets?
My online art business has been a slow, steady labor of love. About seven years ago, as I was contemplating how to find my way back into the art market after a ten year “baby sabbatical”, I discovered ACEOs (Art, Cards, Editions and Originals). I started selling this small art on eBay, not really expecting much success. My versions of the ACEO format began to sell immediately on eBay and I was inspired to create more. Over the years I have painted and sold well over 500 ACEO originals. Finding sites to sell my art and nurturing my business is a daily project. Each time I sit down at my computer I ask myself, “What else can I do to grow my online art business?” To me, its like a giant- wonderful garden that requires me to prune, water, tend and love daily in order that it flourish.
The Internet has changed my experience as an artist dramatically. In fact, I am not sure what level of success I would have had getting back into the art selling world if it were not for the Internet. I have been surprised with the delight I find in “tending the garden” of my online art business.
What are your favorite animal charities:
Old Dog Haven
ODH is an organization that helps old dogs whose people have either passed away or have decided to abandoned the loyal family pet. Personally, the mission of the group IS the reason I choose this group to support. I imagine what it would be like for an old dog, who has only known one family, has given his or her best years to someone, and then suddenly find himself in a shelter or the pound! It makes my heart ache.
Feline Rescue Field Haven
I chose this particular shelter because my co-leader Ann Ranlet knows the group personally. She has done quite a bit of volunteer work for them, and visits often. To me, knowing that a charity really does what they claim to, makes a big difference. Also since half my donations go to a dog shelter, it feels right that the other half goes to a cat shelter.
Please add anything you can say about how you got involved with your children’s book illustrating projects.
In June of 2007, a young lady found my miniature paintings on eBay and asked me if I would illustrate her children’s story. That began the long -delightful process of creating and publishing Moonlight Memoirs. Two truly interesting things about Maggie Mei Lewis are: she is adopted from China and she wrote Moonlight Memoirs at only thirteen years old! Over the course of our project, Maggie Mei, her mother Greta, and I worked together closely producing this wonderful (and well received) book
Moonlight Memoirs has won six awards!
The book I am working on now is a children’s book titled “Thomas and Autumn” It is written by my friend, Jana Laiz (Jana just published her third novel). “Thomas and Autumn” is the story of a little boy named Thomas who has a very special relationship with a very special chicken! It is a book for tiny children and for chicken lovers of any age. Thomas raises and shows chickens. He sells eggs. Thomas works hard in the barn. It takes him a while, but finally his egg sales earn him enough money to buy his very own chicken, a Banty hen that he names Autumn.
Melody, it was truly a pleasure to get to know you. We appreciate what you do for animal charities and the passion you display for animals in each piece of art you create. We will be looking forward to hearing about “Thomas and Autumn”. Please keep us up-to-date on a possible release date!
Friends, I hope you enjoyed Melody’s interview. Please visit Melody at the following websites!
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Here are just a few pictures of Melody’s work. Have a great day everyone!