M-J de Mesterton attended Cornish School of Allied Arts in Seattle, and then moved to New York City. Living in Manhattan, she first did freelance retouching for top art, commercial, and portrait photographers, and, finally, after years of struggle, restored artwork for the Pace/MacGill and Robert Miller galleries, and for the Museum of Modern Art. (She also worked on Princeton University's portrait gallery, which is extensive.) And she painted fields of rocks through it all--rocks in all sizes and shapes, some bright like jewels, others dark and atmospheric, rocks with bold, dynamic outlines, and facets rich with shadows and filtered light, rocks that don't always look like rocks but are instead magnetic abstractions of color and form. M-J de Mesterton paints rocks.
M-J de Mesterton in Her Painting Studio (photo copyright M-J de Mesterton 2009)
M-J's mission statement is devoid of complex terminology: "I use oil exclusively, and oil paint comes from rocks." Her compositions are vibrant, and they are moody and nuanced. She harbors a deep fascination with organic structure. "Every color we know comes from the ground below." Her fields of rocks are cold blue arroyos that run toward fading skies, and they are glowing sunlit shapes that combine power and sensuous abandon. Melody-Jeanne creates a voluptuous harmony that is uniquely pleasing.
As a kid M-J loved to travel into the dry lands, which she called "Cowboy Country". And even then she dreamt of living in the western desert, where the earth meets the light in a stark embrace. She became obsessed with the intricate shapes and colors that rest upon the ground. "I like abstraction," she says, "and I am fascinated by materials that can be turned into energy. There is so much wonder in the natural world, and it feels like alchemy to turn hard creations into mood regulators. After all, art is designed to shock, amuse, confuse, and bring happiness to untold millions, right?" The question comes with a smile. "I want to paint beautiful objects. My idea of beauty is just a little unusual...." But her paintings are beautiful, and they are neither modern nor old-fashioned: they exist in timeless constructs that combine bold expression with respect for genesis. "I love the earth; I love fullness and elegant structure; I love strength and integrity of form--and I'm not afraid of scale. There is an irresistible fusion that drives life and culture forward into the next frame. My paintings are snapshots of a moment, they exist to focus the eye on elemental objects, and how those objects can work together to make a field that plays on human perception. I want to move you."
Some Paintings Restored by M-J de Mesterton
Pictured Below: Painter M-J de Mesterton, 2007