About the Artist
As a kid, I wanted to grow up to be either an artist or a hairdresser. I hoped to be an artist because I couldn’t help drawing and painting whenever possible. I wanted to be a hairdresser because my grandmother always came back from the beauty salon so happy and radiant. Now that I’m 50, I still want to be an artist, and I still want the people near me to feel beautiful, listened to, and empowered. Thankfully, my work is a mix of both— art and listening, beauty and radiance.
Making art is how I wrestle with my life and the world. When I’m creating, I try to show up and listen deeply while I wonder about healing. You’ll notice in the gallery that my current favorite art media are watercolor, mixed media, and fabric. I choose whatever feels right for the images coming through.
As for the stories my art tells, most of them start with what my soul needs to learn or remember. Several life challenges are teaching me about courage, humility, compassion, and resilience. (Twists and turns like coming out, my wife’s chronic illness, self-employment, therapy, and the pandemic.) I hope you’ll see those spiritual themes in my art and in the practices I write.
I’m always drawn to the deep stuff of life: challenge, grief, loss, overcoming trauma, transition, transformation, vision, finding Light in hard places, etc. Turns out I’m pretty much a spiritual geek, so that’s juicy creative territory. I’ve been listening for the Spirit’s guidance in the deep places ever since the Quakers taught me as a teen that I could hear it. Thankfully, I believed them. It’s true, and I believe you can hear it too.
For me, all of this adds up to joy. Brave joy, no less!
I think it’s total grown-up fun to create beautiful spiritual tools like decks and monthly mailings, to put hands and feet on the art. I mean, how cool is this: people give Art & Wisdom decks as birthday gifts, or in solidarity with a hard diagnosis. Therapists tell me about breakthroughs with clients using the art, and spiritual directors share art prints on retreats. And circle after circle of friends or families tell each other stories about what they see and feel in these images and practices. I’m amazed and so very, dearly grateful.
So I’ll keep listening for Spirit, for art, and for joy. I’ll keep sharing my exploration and creation with whomever finds it inspiring or useful…. I hope that might be you.
Melanie Weidner earned an Art Minor in college, then a Master of Divinity degree in Spirituality from the Earlham School of Religion 1998, and a Certificate in the Art of Contemplative Listening from the Namaste Center 2007. In 2002-03, she served as the Minnie Jane Quaker Artist in Residence at the Pendle Hill Quaker Contemplative and Study Center. She’s a member of Spiritual Directors International.
Melanie (she/her) creates life and home in Albuquerque, New Mexico with her wise and wonder-full wife, Hollin, their happy dog, Tashi, and Milagrita the chatty cat.
I'm grateful for appreciation
"May you be nourished and keep shining your beautiful light. I admire your courage to make art in a world that undervalues art. We need what you do. Thank you for sharing your gifts."
"Melanie is a treasure. Her art has blessed many of my friends, and I have used her art as a focus for some retreats I have facilitated."
"Deep bows of gratitude for your creativity, the care with which you share and the real work and effort for you to get this [Brave Joy Collective] out monthly."
"Thank you again for the work you do. It has been so healing and inspiring for me."