Creative inspiration through a brush

  • Photo/Submitted to The Source
A painting created by Erica Reese Melcher.
  • Photo/Submitted to The Source
A painting created by Erica Reese Melcher.
  • Photo/Submitted to The Source
A painting created by Erica Reese Melcher.
  • Photo/Submitted to The Source
Erica Reese Melcher and her family.

by Eric A Thomas

Art can transport us. The colors used, the textures created and the final creation all help to inspire and transform the world around us. One local artist works to create a hopeful and encouraging composition each time she puts brush to canvas.

There has never been a time where Erica Reese Melcher hasn’t enjoyed art and being creative. Her journey into art became more focused when she became a freshman at Jacksonville High School (JHS).

“I took my first elective art class with Linda Dunseth, and later a painting class with Dale Homolka. You could find me in the art room up to four different class periods a day,” commented Melcher. “By graduation, I had taken all the art classes offered at JHS.”

A campus tour of Millikin University in Decatur brought her into the art department, where she was hooked once she entered the painting studio.

Through her involvement over the years in different mediums, she has found she is partial to painting and drawing. Currently, she is working with oil paints on canvas and oil on printmaking paper.

Creativity can be stimulated through various avenues, but currently Melcher has been inspired by the seascape, specifically stormy landscapes at sunset and sunrise.

Assembling the different color schemes through the process of painting has always satisfied and interested Melcher. To her, the weather is a constant reminder that all of us go through many seasons of suffering, as well as celebration. “Just like how skies clear and the sun shines the brightest after a storm, you really appreciate our good times after a time of struggle,” she reflected.

Recently, the artist was able to monetarily support a specific organization with her art through Facebook. The organization helps to fight human trafficking, truly a terrible evil that Melcher wants to see abolished forever. “To know I was able to give to this cause was very rewarding,” reflected Melcher.

In March 2020, Melcher was the featured artist at The David Strawn Art Gallery. When the pandemic hit, the show had to be taken down early and the gallery closed.

Even though currently the artist is not displaying her work anywhere, the public can view her pieces through her Instagram account. “I post paintings almost daily to my Instagram. It is a fun way for anyone to see my work in real time and in-process as it evolves,” added Melcher.

Her Instagram account is www.instagram.com/ericamelcherart. If anyone is interested or would like to inquire about her pieces, you can email her at ericamelcherart@gmail.com.

Melcher holds a bachelors in fine arts with an emphasis on painting and drawing from Millikin University. She continued her education at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale where she received a Master of Fine Arts in two-dimensional art. While at Millikin, she met her husband Matt. They were both swimmers on the swim team. The two have two daughters, 4 and 1, and reside in Jacksonville.

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