Watercolours are a passion Mel Collins has returned to in retirement after a 40-year career in teaching and education management in Bristol, Kenya, Cambridge and Peterborough.
Mel studied Art and Architecture at A Level in the 1970s but has recently benefitted from the professional guidance and encouragement of experts like Gilly Marklew and international artist Janine Gallizia, as well as artist members of the SEAW and Cambridge Drawing Society.
Mel received a huge boost upon joining the Society of East Anglian Watercolourists (SEAW) in 2016 and has since exhibited in Bury St Edmunds, Ely, Snape and Wells-next-the-sea. Mel recognises how important art networks are for her artistic development, and she was delighted to be able to show pictures at Cambridge Drawing Society events from 2017 to 2019. Mel serves on the SEAW and CDS Committees and feels privileged to be elected Chairman of the SEAW in March 2020. She was proud to be part of a Committee working hard to engage and inspire its members and friends to paint and exhibit during an exceptionally challenging 2020 and organising the Society’s first online selected exhibition.
Mel sends a lot of time on composition and practice before embarking on her preferred watercolour method. She employs wet washes, allowing pigments to combine and run in soft combinations. These preparations set the scene for the final and focal detail laid onto the dry backgrounds. She sets a high priority on top quality paper and paints, and uses a limited colour palette, focusing on tones and composition.
Art is such an important part of Mel’s life now and she is constantly searching for new and creative styles, subjects and sentiments.