Floral fusion blooms, soaps and candles

Melody Downie loves to have her work shown in a relaxed setting.

“My paintings - mainly paint flowers in acrylics with some applied texture - will be on show and for sale at Leonie Marsh’s beautiful garden in Munro Road,” she says.

“There will be a cafe there, and it’s a perfect central spot for people to stop, relax and take it all in before moving on to the next garden.”

Melody has been creating two different styles of work on varying-sized canvases for the Garden and Art Trail. Her craft features delicate flowers with soft effusions of colour, working layer upon layer to get to the true depth of each piece.

Melody grew up in Tauranga, and went on to become a graphic artist and designer after completing an advertising and design diploma.

“My strength was in art, so I have always followed this through my life,” she says. “I went to Sydney and worked in advertising agencies there, then ran an advertising agency in Perth.”

After returning to New Zealand, she and her husband raised a family, and she continued to work from home.

“I set up a ceramic paint-a-plate business from our home in Papamoa,” explains melody. “This worked well with having a young family at the time.

“Then I started to paint in a Kiwiana-style, painting nikau and paua shells three-dimensionally, which sold in Auckland and Tauranga galleries, alongside many commissions. After doing that for a while, I moved on to exploring different painting styles and techniques.

“That’s taken me to do what I love now - and that’s all things ‘flower’. I create abstract and free style realism paintings, with flowers being my main focus.”

Melody is sought after for commission work, and also creates pleasing and sophisticated artwork for interior designers.

Painting from her home studio, her acrylics are elegant and lovely. Be it hydrangeas, dahlias, roses or peonies, all are aesthetically pleasing to the eye.

“I love all flowers,” she admits. “Who doesn’t love what nature provides in a bloom?”

Printing onto fabric has been a recent exploration, with stunning cushions showing off the original paintings hung above them in her studio.

“Because of my graphic design history, I like to explore and see my work in different mediums,” she says. “I make candles and soaps, with my artwork printed onto their packaging and labels.”

Working from her Black Fig Studio, the floral-smelling soaps and candles have names like Black Fig Mediterranean, Peony, Vintage Rose, Lychee and Black Tea.

They will be on sale in Leonie Marsh’s garden, alongside many large, floral paintings and a selection of mini painted canvases.

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