Lyn Mellady A.G.R.A.F

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This page came about because of requests for background information on practising Australian artists by art students. While some of it may be slightly out of date, any student is free to read and see if the information has relevance to their search. If it is, yet they need further information send me an email and I may be able to help.

Lyn Mellady

When did you decide to paint?

This has been a commitment that has gently grown. There was no real starting date.

Painting, drawing, classical ballet and reading were her early passions. Her pocket money was saved till she had enough to buy another Derwent coloured pencil from the rainbow display at David Jones in Sydney. She almost had the full set. Today she echoes this trait when she buys pastels.

Childhood holidays were trips along the coast/twice a year to Queensland’s beaches. Roads were often flooded/ detours meant exploration-- weeks at the beach made them places never to be forgotten and would be a future source of inspiration.

By thge age of 17 she was a qualified RAD ballet teacher and auditioned for the Australian Ballet, but chose a teacher's scholarship instead of Ballet. At Teachers College, Lyn chose ART from a long list of Major option subjects. She was introduced to her first oil paint. No more scrunching a paintbrush into the watercolour blocks kids use to get a hint of colour--- this was rich, thick, & vibrant. A love affair had begun with colour.

She was awarded a Distinction for Art when she graduated.—her first art accolade.The force of creativity, encouraged when young, and highlighted at college, grew slowly but persistently over the next years while she was earning a living, teaching, married and raised her children.

.But how did she start to paint and exhibit?

With her young family, on holidays Lyn would paint a painting in a way of bringing a part of the place back home. A better memoir than a photo. Her painting signature was now Lyn Gorman.

A Sydney gallery owner Shirley Vivian, saw her work at an art show and invited her to exhibit in her gallery. Five phone calls later Lyn finally painted some for the Vivian Gallery in Sydney. They sold in 3 days. So did the next two.

Then she had to disagree with the Gallery. They wanted more of the same.

Lyn wanted to learn to widen her expression with paint and forwent the easy $ to spend hours practicing, reading and traveling. Her work still sold. She had her first joint exhibition there in 1977.

She retired from teaching in 1981 to paint full time. Later when she had a new daughter she did not stop. To keep everyone happy Lyn used to lock herself away in a playpen and paint while Kristina played happily around the outside. 

She was later asked to pilot a Travelling Art Advisor program in Sydney’s schools. When she hesitated the words ‘‘how many days a week and what days’’- convinced her. Two days a week spent encouraging teachers and children to paint and expand their skills became both a challenging and enjoyable experience, while still able to paint and raise her family.

In 1986 they moved to Melbourne. She built a studio at Mt Eliza and now that is home base for her studio work and classes.

A new marriage saw her change her signature to Lyn Gorman-Mellady but this ws simplified to Lyn Mellady in 1997. This name change makes dating some of her earlier works easy.

In 1991, Lyn Joined the Australian Guild of Realist Artists and joined their council in 1994 as Hues editor 'til 1997. She retired from council to return in 2000 as President after the sudden illness of Neil Straub (president). There were many changes to the guild and a national Art Excellence Medallion competitition established.

Her reputation as a master of the pastel medium had been growing and the next years have earned many awards. Her subject matter is moving further towards the intensive study of water.

In 2005, six artists formed Fusion6 and over a two year period produced a unique gestalt of 36 large portraits. This is now the permanent collection 'About Face''. This toured Australian Regional Galleries 2007 -2010.

Lyn’s work has now won many dozens of art awards and commendations. She appears in five reference books and her works hang in 5 government collections (Sutherland, Campbelltown, Frankston and two Japanese Sister Cities, Susomo and Nagoya), Government House, Canberra and many corporate and private collections on all continents.

Lyn's Ideas about developing as an artist

When asked about learning to paint her ideas were definite. The fundamental skills (including drawing, composition, light and shade- (tone), the importance of colour and its many facets,- including its physical properties, its emotional impact, the colour wheel and the difference that colour 'schemes' make to the emotional impact of a painting; the perspective, texture and line quality, the qualities of the different pigments and the ways to apply them) are part of a life learning course. The more skills an artist has at their disposal, the better chance there is of being able to draw on the appropriate ones to create the image the artist chooses. 

Lyn learned many of the basics at teacher's college (graduating with an Art Distinction in 1965) then Gymea TAFE. She left formal study with a skill base but a definite knowledge that it would be a lifelong learning trail. She decided not to enroll for any further extended course but started to read and practice. Demonstrations by other artists also enrich the assimilation of art thought and techniques. Consciously, Lyn looks to apply her own love of natural subjects, the knowledge she has assimilated from formal learning, reading, knowledge shared by other artists together with her own thoughts and constant striving to paint the image she wants. It is both a lifelong challenge and satisfaction peppered with frustration. 

Lyn believes that the best way to learn to paint is to paint...... When an artist decides what it is they really want to paint they should not paint aimlessly but try to keep the initial image in mind. By painting with a purpose the artist will place the subject, and use the appropriate skills with a greater or lesser emphasis  to bring the vision to completion. By their own selection process in trying to produce their own visual thoughts, unconsciously these choices start to become recognisable as the artist's own 'style'. 

After painting many subjects for the past 20+ years usually responding to something that made the subject memorable, Lyn has for the past few years concentrated on painting the waves and waters edge. This reflects a genuine desire to enjoy and explore the shoreline. It will only be when something else fascinates her or she fails to find fresh inspiration with her present series that she will change.

As for teaching, Lyn has never asked for students --- they just sort of keep arriving. At one stage in 1994 she had 7 classes a week. She loves teaching but it was taking over. She now teaches only one day a week.

Her painting time spent in the studio is a result of being on site absorbing varying images, atmospheres, light and colours. She collects data by camera as well and draws freely from these images to recreate her own memory of the subject.

For a brief listing of exhibitions and awards return to Lyn's CV


To date over 40 special exhibitions including  N.S.W. and Victorian Commercial Galleries .Lyn’s paintings have been selected to be shown in Mildura, Hamilton, Sale, Bundaberg, Wangaretta and  Warnambool  Regional Galleries and the Mall Galleries in London and been invited by a New York gallery who wished to purchase her works for sale.(Lyn declined at this stage)  


Why did you choose this career?

InitiallyI was happy as a teacher and my art was a hobby. As my skill developed opportunities were offered which I accepted as a natural development. Gradually as my work became more well known and popular my desire to explore and practice grew. It is this desire to continually explore and challenge my own skills and outlook that has evolved into a full time occupation.
How did you get into this field of art.
Could be answered a) 1 making own pictures for leisure. 2.Study at teachers college developed a path of learning and first acknowledgement of skill with a distinction.3. Further study at TAFE. 4. Painted on holidays as a way of taking a personal study home instead of photos. 5 Enterd paintings in charity Art Shows.6 Gallery took notice and invited participation. First exhibition in 1977. Snowballed career since-it just grew. 20 years later I have worked hard, persevered and found inspiration grow, gained good successes but was determined to paint better when times were tough. Survival and growth as an artist were a challenge and a passion.

It was a natural response to the challenge of capturing the essence of the object/vista that I loved. I’ve experimented with more expressive? design elements or exaggeration of concept as do many modern day artists but I find it unexciting and have no desire to distract from my focus of extracting the essence of the subject. Distorting or diminishing a natural presence holds no fascination for me other than enhancing it subtly so that it s purpose is more obvious . By exploring my subject, often painting it again with different emphasis, each time showing another aspect or something I want to express I feel as if I am showing and sharing the country I enjoys and feel part of.

How would a graduate get into this field of art now?
What advice would you give to someone entering this field?

I believe that a graduate of an art school would do harm to their personal creative future if they put the challenge of survival immediately on themselves. I believe they would do better to use their skills in a more commercial way at first, advertising, signwriting, desktop publishing, illustrating, any field where creativity is allowed to develop. Alongside this, develop your own personal form of painting. Let it grow. Test it out in competition , art show or gallery to compare your product and test its acceptance in the marketplace. If the market doesn't like what you do either explore further until you find something you enjoy that is acceptable or accept the fact that you may continue to enjoy what you create as a selfish creation, art for arts sake. Neither is wrong. It is just that one will allow you to spend more time doing what you like and you can help feed yourself with it as a career. There is also the necessity when painting for a living of realising what produces bread and butter for your personal survival and keeping this work fresh but allowing yourself developmental time to create special works that satisfy the need to grow and explore. These are 'your pieces'. They show your potential.
How long have you been doing this work?
I resigned from teaching in 1983 and have worked as an artist since then. My commitment has continually grown.

What are some of the most interesting jobs you have done
See Series

When did you paint this?

Golden Circles at South Cronulla was painted in summer of 2002.
Willow Creek After the Picking was painted the same year.
THE Golden Circles was painted to reflect the shimmer of sunlight across the incoming tide as the sandpools were surrounded. The children were bright but almost silhouetted against the light. The painting works around smooth textural water surfaces against the more solid sand and figures. This is a representational impressionaist style practised by many contemporary artists of today.
Abandoned Sandpool, painted in 2007 follows this theme but the child has gone. The sea will reclaim the sand. Texture of dry and wet sand as well as the wet and dry colour are important as well as the affect of the light on the shallow and deeper moving water.

The Willow Creek painting by contrast relies on line, texture and clustered colour.

The paintings were painted for presentation in commercial galleries. In Sydney and Melbourne.

For further notes on painting go to Series on the Galleries page
I hope this is of some help to you


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