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Artist Melanie Norman launches debut exhibition – ‘Pieces of Me’

Melanie Norman’s debut solo exhibition explores vulnerability and getting out of our comfort zones.

Newcastle abstract artist and teacher Melanie Norman will debut her first solo exhibition at Hudson Street Hum on 7 July, presenting a deeply personal curation of pieces that reflect on her life experiences from childhood to now. 

We had a chat with Mel to find out more about the exhibition and how her love of teaching has inspired her to help others get creative at her painting workshops, with the next running on Sunday 7 July in conjunction with the launch of her exhibition.

How long have you been painting?

I have always created – ever since I can remember from before primary school! I studied Visual Arts as a major subject for my Higher School Certificate and dreamed of being a primary school art teacher but unfortunately didn’t receive the marks required. I continued to draw and paint after school, however stopped as I was too critical of my own work and lost my passion.

Last year I was introduced to abstract painting and once again fell in love with creating, finding it therapeutic mainly due to not having an expectation of the outcome.

Many artists claim to paint intuitively which I can now vouch for, and, I truly believe that painting is an outlet for being as emotive as you want to be, allowing any form of trauma, or joy for that matter, to be released onto the canvas.

Melanie-Norman-Art

At what point did you decide to start teaching and what do you love about it?

Thanks to the support and encouragement from friends, I started running my own workshops to help people tap into their own sub-consciousness and intuition. The outcomes from my first workshops were unbelievable and I was instantly drawn to helping others experience the benefits of creating – specifically choosing colours that they are drawn to and guiding them to create their own pieces of art using their own unique style – even if they had never picked up a paintbrush.

Sometimes starting is the hardest part. Then, all of a sudden, the time has passed and the participants don’t want it to end – that’s why I love to teach. My goal is for everyone that comes to a workshop to keep creating. I love to see their journeys progress and will always offer support to make this happen.

My art teaching compliments the movement coaching I do at local gym The Movement Collective, as well as the primary school ethics teaching that I thoroughly enjoy.

Can you tell us a bit about the pieces in the exhibition and what has inspired them?

The pieces explore a transition from pain and trauma I experienced during and after school, to health challenges later in life. The outcome is a curation of a personal journey which navigates through events as recent as this year, and is a reflection of how I built the confidence to stop hiding behind my vulnerability.

Most of the pieces were also inspired by the residency I recently undertook at Lighthouse Arts (Nobby’s Headland) where I was able to fully immerse myself in painting for an entire week in such an iconic and beautiful location. The colour palette is drawn from my connection to nature, specifically plants, which allow me to feel grounded. 

In the lead-up to my debut exhibition, I’d like to honour the support of not only friends and family, but the network of local creatives and businesses I have built organically, as they have seen the genuine passion I have for helping others. They have been the ones who have allowed me to emerge as an artist – and pushed me to get out of my comfort zone!

(I’d like to specifically thank Lighthouse Arts, Bec Essery Photography, Laura Grzelak from House of Marz, Design Bug, The Movement Collective/TMC Kids and The Coffee Benders for being there from the beginning and allowing me to be vulnerable).

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You’re donating a portion of your art sales to Endometriosis Australia – can you tell us why this cause is important to you?

Most of my health challenges have come from endometriosis and adenomyosis, resulting in a hysterectomy. This can be life-changing for some and I’d love to support any way I can to provide more funding and support for anyone else navigating this disease.

What can people expect if they come along to the painting workshop on Sunday?

A unique afternoon – a safe space to be vulnerable and enjoy time for yourself, to reconnect on another level and also fall in love with the joy of colour. My mum will also be providing an insight via numerology, perhaps finding a link between art and numbers! 

The exhibition opening from 11am to 1pm is free and people can expect charcuterie, drinks, music by Rose Parker, and to be surrounded by beautiful plants designed to enhance the works (provided by In House Plants).

Paintings will be for sale as well as some original works on paper.

If you’d like to register for the workshop, you can do so here.

Words: Hannah Mills Photography: Bec Essery

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