the art of Melinda Eliza
Melinda Eliza creates sacred paintings for modern, spiritual women dissatisfied with domineering displays of toxic masculinity and false representations of womanhood. Her original and commissioned paintings connect to the strength and wisdom of the divine feminine. Her artwork is more than canvas and paint, for when each brush stroke is a prayer, a sacred light shines.
an interview with Melinda
What are your influences?
- I am inspired by mythology, legend, folk art, and symbols. I’m strongly influenced by ancient sculpture, sacred art (especially medieval iconography), and Cubism. Honestly though – it’s the stories of inspiring women from around the world that motivate me to create art that celebrates the power, strength, and beauty of every woman.
how would you describe your art process?
- I create with words, colors, light, and prayer for women who long for strong images of the divine feminine.
How do you pray while painting?
- I weave ritual and intention into my process. I start each canvas by writing a prayer directly onto the canvas and by blessing the canvas itself. I also create a small altar for each project. Each day, I start by praying and then continue my dialogue with the divine as I paint. This looks different on different days – sometimes I speak my prayers out loud and other days I paint in quiet contemplation. The best are the moments of artistic flow when I connect with the divine and channel that into my work, then the time flies by.
How do you think this changes your finished artwork?
- A finished piece has upwards of 30+ layers of paint, paper, ink, and prayer. I believe my art is more than just color on canvas…the completed artwork radiates a sacred energy that fills up the space it inhabits. I’ve had clients tell me my artwork brings joy to their home and work spaces. I consider such comments a measure of my success.
What religion are you?
- I am a deeply spiritual person, but not a religious one. I have studied (and am fascinated by) religion and I have respect for the great diversity of thought and beliefs found around the world and through the ages. For me, somewhere at the core of all of those religions, beliefs, and myths is a divine truth.
What about the divine masculine?
- My artwork focuses on the divine feminine in the hope of balancing the pervading images of the divine masculine. I do not discount the existence or need for the divine masculine, but I believe that Spirit takes more forms then just male. I am hoping for equity in representation. Women are too often portrayed in negative ways; the modern patriarchy doesn’t often offer up many images of a divine feminine. My mission is to create space for such representations.
What spiritual authority do you have to claim that you make spiritual art?
- The words spiritual and authority suggest that spiritual wisdom and power exist only in the hands of a few chosen, educated people. I reject this idea. I believe that we are all spiritual beings and that we each have our own spiritual wisdom, experience, and skills to share. That said, I have trained extensively with Pixie Lighthorse in the path of Earth Medicine and I am well read in all the major world religions. I am a curious person who is constantly learning more about mythology and the history of human beliefs in the divine. To answer your question directly – I am a spiritual being creating spiritual art from a place of exploration, curiosity, and truth; I believe that’s all the spiritual authority I need.
You use images of Mary in a lot of your altars and artwork. If you are not Christian, can you explain the fascination with Mary?
- I grew up Catholic and so Mary was the first image of the divine feminine that I knew and to whom I prayed. In college, I studied medieval literature, art, and history. I left the church and began to explore the concept of Spirit throughout all religions and throughout history. Mary was often the replacement for indigenous goddesses. In my own spiritual practice, she has come to represent the collective history of the divine feminine…all of those discarded and forgotten goddesses. To me, they all reside in her image.
What’s your favorite color?
- This is the most difficult question so far! I love color and I believe it has the power to transform our moods and our living and work spaces. I use Venetian gold, hansa yellow light, crimson, and permanent green in all my work and I am really in love with quinacridone magenta, but if I had to chose one favorite-ist of favorite color, it would be carrot orange. Orange just makes me happy.
Some label your art as feminist art – would you agree?
- Absolutely – yes. I consider myself to be a global feminist and I believe the artwork I create reflects this. I have a life-long passion for social justice; I served as a United States Peace Corps Volunteer in The Republic of Moldova where I taught English as a foreign language and worked with women trafficked into sexual slavery. A portion of my profits go to CARE.org to help sponsor young girls into leadership training.
Do you do commission pieces?
- Yes, I sell original artwork, limited edition prints, and commission pieces. I love to work with collectors on commissions.
Where is your studio located?
- I have an in-home studio in the American Midwest, in a small town just outside of Columbus, Ohio called Dublin.
How can interested collectors learn more about your art or begin the commission process?
- I write a regular blog and send out a monthly newsletter that includes updates on new pieces, information about the divine feminine, and thoughts about living a vibrant, creative life. My website also has information on original artwork, limited edition prints, and commissions. If you want a peek into my studio, my Instagram account is updated regularly with glimpses of new works in progress.
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- Click here for a selected biography and a list of shows…
- Click here to read about Melinda’s near-death experience – it’s a story of creative resurrection and healing…
Because you’re still reading, here’s a bonus. This is Melinda’s favorite childhood portrait. She often still feels this full of wonder and joy – especially when she’s grooving in the studio.