CARBONDALE — The Chamber Gallery will present an opening reception for ‘The Fine Art Painting by Melissa Anowai’ on Aug. 3. Held from 7 -9 p.m. at The Chamber Gallery, located in The Greater Carbondale Chamber of Commerce Building, 27, North Main Street in Carbondale, it will feature music provided by Sandra Anderson. Refreshments will also be served during the free event.

“The works of Melissa Anowai all possess an incandescent beauty,” stated Ruthanne Jones, The Chamber Gallery Director, “which transcends the usual depiction of Nature life subjects .

“Melissa focuses on the cycles of life, the transitory and ephemeral precious seasons of the natural world suspending them in a timeless beauty revealing dignity and integrity inherent in each of her subjects imbibing each with honor and soulful light.”
With over 20 years experience as a fine art painter and freelance illustrator, she has exhibited her works in numerous juried group shows in Pennsylvania and New York.
Anowai has also been a visiting artist, instructor, muralist, and continues to sell her art, as well as commissioned works, through various social media outlets. In addition, her art can be found in numerous private collections.
She said, “As an artist, I have always felt compelled to depict all aspects of the natural world and view all life as beautiful and worthy of celebration.

“I also feel that the natural world should be cherished both in life and in solemnity of death. My work is not about the gore, but rather, the beauty of a passing soul and the related sense of sadness. There is a reverence that I try to create in each piece, which is a reflection of my love and respect for nature.”

Anowai is a fine artist living and working near the Pocono Mountains in Pennsylvania. She is a graduate from Maywood University with a Fine Arts Degree in Illustration, and has a Master’s Degree in Studio Arts/Painting. Anowai has also studied under artists Dennis Corrigan and Pamela Parsons.

“I’ve always drawn anything related to nature since I was around four years old, literally locking myself in my room creating for hours on end.

“During my junior year in high school, I ... won a summer scholarship at the Governor’s School for the Arts which was an intense six week program studying fine art.

“Eventually I attended Marywood College, and studied Illustration and Design. Still using nature as my inspiration I began to focus on painting in acrylics.

“My biggest influences were Andrew Wyeth and a wildlife artist named Robert Bateman. I learned that Bateman also admired Wyeth’s work, which I found ironic that we both had similar taste in artwork.”

From that point forward, Anowai “...began to create your ‘typical’ wildlife art. They were very involved ... I painted every piece of fur, feather and minute detail you could possibly think of.

“One particular painting stands out of a panda, and if you look closely you’d see the condensation on its whiskers. My work was described as very ‘tight’.”
Anowai said when she attended graduate school, “...my professor insisted that I switch to oils to help loosen me up. I happily accepted the challenge and dove right in. I fell in love with them immediately, and began to paint with fewer strokes to ‘say’ the same thing has a hundred strokes.”
She said this change caused her paintings to become “... deeper and more meaningful.”
Anowai then began “...to integrate words into the backgrounds combining poetry with my images.”

The works moved beyond being “...cute, safe wildlife paintings. They had emotion and a depth to them that never existed beforehand. People were drawn to them in a way that I had never seen with my art.”

Along with the changes in how she painted, she “...began to see my subjects as something more. I thought of where their souls go after they passed. The entire process of dying, was it similar to ours? I have always been fascinated with anything related to the metaphysical and began to ponder over it as it related to animals.”

To this day, she continues to integrate writing into her pieces.
“From the viewer’s standpoint, it is not necessary to read and understand every word in the paintings,” she explained. “For me it is more important for one to pick up a word here and there that stands out to them.

“These are the words that become important to that particular person and make it more relatable for them. It may spark a thought of their own about the piece. My wish is for each person to walk away with their own perception of my art, creating an inner dialogue within themselves.

“I hope my reverence for nature still comes across even after these animals have passed.”
The Fine Art Paintings by Melissa Anowai will be on display until September 14 at The Chamber Gallery. The Gallery is free and open to the public Monday through Friday 9 AM to 5 PM. Check out The Chamber Gallery Home Facebook Page for more information.