Welcome to Kala’s Bohemian Blog, dedicated to the Bohemian Ideals of Truth * Beauty * Freedom & Love, and packed with inspirations, ramblings, magical moments and musings, all intended to serve as a traveling companion along your journey. I invite you to join me here as I delve into the Mysteries of the Universe, Rediscover the Magic in the World Around Us, Embrace the Divine, Release the Inner Goddess, and Reawaken Your Spirituality!
Here today on the blog, we’re exploring the inspiration and delight of art. Those who know me well, know my love of reading and hardly a day goes by where I’m not found with a book in hand. When a book captures my attention, I enjoy reaching out to the author to discuss their work with them. Today is one of these moments, as I reach out to chat with artist, psychic medium, and author Melissa Harris. Melissa Harris shares her art and her life as a feast of creative exploration. She expands portrait painting to open doorways into souls and sojourns in New York and Paris to learn to paint only what she loves.
In her autobiographical book, Painting Outside the Lines: The Life of Psychic Arts Melissa Harris, Melissa reveals her beliefs about the truths of some general traits of the artist and the common ingredients of an artist’s life. She proclaims, “For me, there is no other choice but to paint.”
Painting Outside the Lines is a visual feast, vibrant, sensuous and soulful. As we enter the world of the artist as seer and adventurer, Melissa’s expressive work captures the universal stories of our own human experiences. If these oils, watercolors and collages are her medicine, this healing spreads across the pages, inspiring us to express our inner world and ignite our visionary nature, a reminder that even erratic and ever-evolving lives can lead to graceful changes and that, truly, “anything is possible!”
Let’s explore the world of Melissa Harris, as she joins us here on Kala’s Bohemian Blog…
Kala: Melissa, wonderful to speak with you again. I truly enjoyed your book and the behind the scenes dialogue that describes your art. What painting of yours do you feel most accurately describes you as a person?
Melissa: Ha Ha! I had to laugh at this one because in the end they are ALL self portraits. I would give you a different answer at a different time on any given day! I am thinking about “Isabel’s Desire” on page 56 of the book. We see here a woman getting dressed to go out looking in the mirror in a quirky outfit, reflective, with an open drawer and a man’s tie on the drawer handle. There are two shells on the dresser. The painting is chock full of symbolism for me. I created a romantic pink ambiance with a lamp from another time period. Even though I did this painting around 1983 or so I still relate to a reflective woman having to get herself dressed to go out in the world (I am by nature a bit of a hermit). My ongoing explorations of myself in relationship could be represented by the tie. I have and maybe always was a mermaid so the shells…..I prefer anything antique to modern, hence the atmosphere, and I love to dress creatively in ways that express my mood. The painting “Reflecting” on the double spread on page 179 is also very much a self portrait with a bit of distortion in the perspective (representing how I feel “different” than much of the time as well as the suggestion of Spirit behind me, knowing that my guides and friends in Spirit are always with me.
Kala: As an empath, psychic and artist, you mentioned the challenges of living in a large city with these gifts, versus living in rural areas in touch with nature. What advice would you give to others who have these types of abilities and struggle to stay grounded in metropolitan areas?
Melissa: I call upon several means of protection if I feel I need it. I often wear a necklace of blue tourmaline with a chunk of blue kyanite, which rests just at my throat chakra. Kyanite supposedly keeps energy moving so I feel that if I freeze up in fear that I will be able to release that quickly. And because it keeps energy moving I imagine it moving any disturbing energy that may be directed at or moving toward me continuing to move right along. If I am feeling jittery I also sometimes visualize a cocoon of white light around me with mirrors on the outside that deflect any negative energy in my field. I stay very aware and am proactive in terms of avoiding uncomfortable situations. I was mugged with serious harm to my face, especially my mouth so I am very cautious.
Kala: In the Creatrix series, there is a work by you of woman walking with butterflies titled, Anything is Possible, which is one of your most successful commercial pieces. What do you think it is about this piece in particular that reaches out to so many people and inspires its worldwide appeal?
Melissa: I always tell people that in truth, it was not one of my more profound painting experiences in that I don’t have a magical story behind it. I think, according to feedback from people that its’ appeal is mostly due to a feeling of hope that it conveys. The colors are light yet strong which give it an uplifting feeling. The subject matter itself is positive in that we see a sunrise, a woman in a posture of receptivity and grace, and butterflies which, although they represent transition are simply beautiful in and of themselves. I’ve had people tell me that they have used it for moving through illness or as comfort after a loved one has passed away.
Melissa: I think I once read someplace that women in particular tend to choose doorways and windows as subject matter. That must be because they have often been very restricted in their lives. I haven’t been able to put my finger on why I myself have chosen them. Maybe it’s the idea of opportunities ahead, a way of looking to the future. It’s also the unknown and I love surprises and the fact that we, at least in this country in this time have a large degree of control over our circumstances and can create our own realities in many ways. Oops, that was quite a run on sentence but I like doing things off the cuff.
Kala: In your book, you mention working through your emotions in your art. If you couldn’t paint to release and reflect who you are, what other avenue would you choose?
Melissa: Maybe writing,. I’ve only recently discovered this. Although I don’t think three dimensionally I also enjoy clay and metalsmithing, but we have to make choices- and there is only so much time- so I tend to stick to 2-D. I also make sure to keep moving to help keep my outlook bright. It’s true I’m an emotional woman and I tend to do something physical each day, even if I am not attached to emotion. My top choices for this are Zumba, because it’s a form of dancing, and swimming.
Kala: Throughout history, many artists, writers and creatives describe being caught in the passion and engagement of the art they are working on and that the creation of the project produces an energy that is very satisfying and all-encompassing. Your book is candid and engaging, as you share the life of an artist and how this line of work affected your relationships and lifestyle choices. Is the work itself, the art, a deeper relationship of its own, that perhaps consumes the artist and becomes in a sense, the mistress?
Melissa: Absolutely, which is why many of my partners have not been able to deal with a relationship with me. There is always “another lover” calling me, either out in the studio or in the landscape we are driving by. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve made them stop the car and wait while I paint something we are passing by, or at the very least photographing it. If I am engaged in a piece it’s always with me and I dream about it and choose colors in my dreams and wake up in a hurry to get back to it. It consumes me for the time I am dancing with it.
Melissa Harris’ book Painting Outside the Lines can be found on her website along with information about her art and her Spirit Essence portraits. Visit her website http://melissaharris.com/
About Kala Ambrose: Noted wisdom teacher, author, intuitive, inspirational speaker, and host of the Explore Your Spirit with Kala Radio and TV Show, Kala Ambrose’s teachings are described as discerning, empowering and inspiring. Whether she’s speaking with world-renowned experts on the Explore Your Spirit with Kala Show, writing about empowering lifestyle choices, reporting on new discoveries in the scientific and spiritual arenas or teaching to groups around the country, fans around the world tune in daily for her inspirational musings and lively thought-provoking conversations.
Kala is the author of four books including the award-winning 9 Life Altering Lessons: Secrets of the Mystery Schools Unveiled, Ghosthunting North Carolina, The Awakened Aura: Experiencing the Evolution of Your Energy Body and now, Spirits of New Orleans: Voodoo Curses, Vampire Legends and Cities of the Dead.
A highly interactive teacher on a mission to educate, entertain and inspire, Kala writes for the Huffington Post, the Examiner, AOL, Yahoo and Fate Magazine and presents workshops nationally on the Mind/Body/Spirit connection including Auras and Energy Fields, Developing Business Intuition, Haunted History and Wisdom Teachings at the Omega Institute, John Edward Presents Infinite Quest, the Learning Annex, LilyDale Assembly, and Daily Om.