Painter Melissa Averinos

In late March Melissa Averinos traveled from Cape Cod, Massachusetts, to Vermont and spent two days painting in my studio.

As an art publisher it is amazing to get the opportunity to work directly with an artist. Our visit with Melissa Averinos was a good time to get acquainted and see her artistry in action. What I learned is that Melissa doesn’t waste any time in getting started. I turned my back for 5 minutes and she had eight paintings going all at once. She used sewing needles, hardware tools and anything with a point to make scratches and marks in wet paint. Afterwards the studio floor looked like it was littered with colorful crayon shavings. It was—in fact—curls of dried paint. While she worked I asked her a bit about herself to share with you.  

Q&A with Melissa Averinos

What is your favorite thing about being an artist?

Making things. Experimenting and playing. I am always in experiment mode and it’s really fun.

You live on Cape Cod. That’s a pretty special place. How does it inform your art?

In all honesty, I don’t think it does. It’s just subject matter at times. Being on the cape is isolating, so painting is my fun. You learn to entertain yourself on the Cape. I grew up with very little supervision here and I was always doing art.

Describe your work space

My studio occupies three of the four upstairs rooms that I’ve taken over in our 1850s era house. Sewing, painting, jewelry making and collage. It is very messy!

Do you have a favorite possession?

A weird horse that my grandfather carved for me when I was a child. He generally carved realistic horses, but this one is like a cartoon with eyeballs stuck onto its face. The ears are busted at this point, but the eyes are intact.
 

What inspires or triggers your creative process?

Random books at the library can shake ideas loose. Generally just sitting down and starting to play with color on paper or canvas works. I don’t get blocked much because I usually just start and see what happens.

Three foods you couldn’t live without

It varies. Noosa yogurt. Coffee. Chocolate. Watermelon. Hey that’s four. Fresh pineapple. Five.
 

How are quilting and painting similar for you?

My process is the same. I don’t draw things out in advance. I just start and let things develop on their own. I course correct as needed. It’s a process of discovery instead of forcing something to happen.

If you could travel anywhere and someone would pay for the ticket…

England again. I went a few years ago and went to the Victoria & Albert Museum (V&A) which was magical and amazing. Even just being in the William Morris room and eating scones there was amazing on its own. I also loved Bath, England, with its many textures and ruins which make my heart go pitter patter.
 
Melissa Averinos in Residence working on birch
 

What was the highlight of your last year?

There were so many. There really were. I won Best in Show for a quilt I entered at Quiltcon, the convention for the Modern Quilt Guild. And I signed with Wild Apple! And I began teaching…lots of good things.

What artists have influenced you?

Frida Kahlo. Picasso. Van Gogh. Maira Kalman. Sarah Fanelli, an illustrator who does wacky and wonderful collage.
 

Name something you are very enthusiastic about

Rust. Texture.

How cute is your husband?

Incredibly! His title in all my correspondence is Assistant/Adorable Husband. And we have two rescue golden retrievers named Max and Beau.