Welcome to my Blog. My adventure in 21st century. - Melanie Hickerson

Sunday, December 31, 2017


New Year's Eve postcard to one of the Texas Senators. Sen. Cornyn is the less rabid of our GOP representatives in the Senate, not necessarily the least dangerous. 
Here is the image on the card.

Search for a Method
 I was reading Sartre at the time I painted this. Thus the title "Search for a Method". That's his title. I liked that.
Here is the text of the NY Eve card.

 "Dear Senator Cornyn, I read your editorial in the Austin paper. It occurred to me that my grandchildren are going to be living in a cave, eating radioactive dirt if we don't get the GOP out."  

Post cards have to be brief.

Friday, December 29, 2017


I took the piece left over after cutting off the mold. Wiped it down, dusted it off, preparing for further cutting up. But no. Hm-m-m-m. I think I am going to roll this piece, (h) 37.5 x 35" and save. Maybe perhaps to be re-stretched at some future time. I'll call this "editing". Before "editing" it was (h) 42" x 40".

A little off center composition. I'll lose a few more inches when I re-stretch. As Scarlett said "I'll think about that tomorrow..."

I rolled it up on a 2 3/4 inch tube with glassine and paper. All to think about another day.


Un-stretching a painting, entitled BIRTH, that dates from 1984, I discovered black mold underneath the stretcher bars along one edge. The plan was to roll up the painting for safe storage. I knew it had spent some years stored in a laundry room. The imagery is hard to look at. This is an homage to the trauma and excitement of giving birth, to becoming a mom. I do love this painting. It is (was) hard to look at.
 BUT Black Mold!! OH NO! 
So rather than risk spreading the nasty fungus, contaminating other paintings in the closet I had to cut it up. Oh heavy heart, I will save bits. Make collages, bookmarks or some such from the pieces.

But I can't find a photograph of this painting. "Documentation is more important than the actual event, object." I have observed that many times, in many ways. So I photographed it with my cell phone and with my digital camera, both at 72 dpi. It was a perfect day for a photograph, high clouds, lightly overcast mid winter sun. The digital camera took a photo with color closer to the painting.  The cell phone photograph has a lovely palette but not mine.

Good-bye BIRTH. You did stir the pot!

BIRTH  1984

BIRTH   1984

This one is with a camera, warmer palette. 

Tuesday, December 26, 2017


Nope. No telephone landline in my area that does NOT require electricity. I can get a back-up battery that will supply 6 hours or so of power for the phone, for the modem. That would not be particularly helpful in a big disaster. Global climate change will be bringing one to me sooner or later.

 Oh, the troubles I have seen. It has been fun and adventurous. A few times, just a few, I have experienced some disaster. The telephone landline that still worked after the tornado or storm was lovely! So very handy to say, "Yes, we're fine." or "Please come, now." Then gave directions.

 Electrical power is fragile. So change my expectations. Phones do not work nowadays without electricity.


Sunday, December 24, 2017


MY SUBURB 16 x 20
I just finished - or I think it's finished - another painting with a ribbon floating in the middle of the image. The ribbon was yellow until I was about 2/3 finished. It does capture my neighborhood. No people outside.

Thursday, December 21, 2017


Not Extant
 Joe returned the painting and wanted his money back. A portrait commission from January 2015 looked good to me. He did not say what was wrong with it. Just "I hate it! I've been keeping it in my closet!" I said no do-over. It has been over 2 years since he sat for me. I gave him his money back less the sales tax and took the painting. What to do?
I admit. It hurt my heart. Such a nice painting. Really captured him. Then I thought about "What is Art?" with a capital "A". Two of my favorites below:

“Art is not a mirror held up to reality but a hammer with which to shape it" Bertolt Brecht

"We have art in order to not die from the truth." - Nietzsche

Also "Art is metaphor" and "Art is a discipline of courage"....A million answers to that question.

Then I thought "What is business?" This is business of art. I looked carefully at the canvas. It is a gallery wrap canvas but the corners can't be keyed-out. This is one of those shortcuts that art suppliers are making nowadays so the canvas is doomed anyway.  I am FREE! Free to do whatever because the canvas is shoddy, not well done. First rule - Art is done well. So it is painted it out. I have a new surface to paint on. A surface with a limited life span. Hooray!!

New paint Surface!

Thursday, November 30, 2017


The painting AGATHA will be in city hall this year!! HOORAY! It will be out in a peculiar place where the uninitiated might notice! I am so pleased, honored, thrilled!!!!!!!!!!!  That is a big honey bee in the lower right, about 11" x 14". The century plant is only 60" tall in the painting but it was done from a real plant 42 feet (yes, Feet) tall. 


Dear Melanie,

On behalf of the City of Austin Cultural Arts Division, I am pleased to inform you that your artwork, listed below, has been selected for the 2018,  14th annual People’s Gallery Exhibition at Austin City Hall...."  


Layers and layers of paint, built up like building a house. Giclees don't match. Paint is transparent, layered, goopy and slopped on a surface.

Sunday, November 5, 2017


Changing a painting is also figuring out what it is all about. Painting from the inside out can be painting out of that big mystery that is inside oneself. But fun. This Strutting Grackle needed a smile, I felt, then a dolphin, I felt.

 Now I look at it and "Oh! It's about this administration stomping on the environment or the world or like that!"

I'm still fussing with it but it is ALMOST done, cooked, resolved. 

Okay! Got It.... The PRESIDENT AND HIS 
CABINET. Love it~

Sunday, October 15, 2017


I just read about Chinati Weekend in Marfa  on the GLASSTIRE website. This year, 2017, October 6-8. One of the critics commented that her first visit to Marfa was for a whole week which was a bit much, especially for a first visit. She drives from Dallas the long way and it takes 10 hours to get there. I just cannot get excited about Marfa and minimalism in the desert. Four years of my childhood (plus another 3 years here and there in my life) in that high desert cured me. Yes, when the desert blooms (once every seven years or so) it is beyond words or photographs or anything other than experience. The stars at night in that black sky are magnificent. But like the critic said, a week out there is a bit much.