We had the good fortune of connecting with Melanie M Brannan and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Melanie M, why did you decide to pursue a creative path?
Sometimes you just know at an early age what you’re born to be. For me, I was going to be an artist. Painting came easy. From the first time my mom gave me a box of oil paints, I was at home painting. I love very aspect of art, the process, the challenge, the science of paint, the end results. I love studying about the masters, their style, palettes, history. I am forever a student of art and will always be learning. And a true passion of art for me is not only painting but to teach others to paint.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I started my professional career as an art director for advertising agencies. Several years later I opened my own design firm, Brannan Design. I had amazing accounts. My bread and butter account was Neiman Marcus for 25 years, even working directly with Mr. Stanley on occasion. They always said my work had to meet two of three qualifiers: 1. Top quality, 2. On time, 3. On budget. It was a great run, I worked with the countries best printers, photographers, writers, and illustrators. When the 2008 economy tanked, like many others, my company was hit hard. So I pivoted to my first love, painting. I’ve been in the fine art world for 13 years now. I’ve got to say, it was the best move yet. It’s so gratifying to have people react to my paintings with such emotion. It’s the biggest thrill to see my work in solo exhibitions, especially at the Eisemann Center for Performing Arts. Their gallery is stunning. I have another solo there March 2021. To have my work accepted into juried exhibitions feels like such an accomplishment. Having my paintings in homes across the U.S. and abroad, to have it part of their daily lives makes me smile, a big smile. I have several paintings on their way to South Africa now. So exciting. And, I have learned that I love to teach people to paint. You have to be able to break down the process so it’s understandable, and you have to be encouraging throughout the class. The difficulty this past summer with Covid, I had to learn to teach online. Hard at first learning how to make the new “Zoom venue” work with my students, but it worked great. I’m now teaching in person and online. I have even started teaching Zoom classes for Pacific Art League out of Palo Alto and my first class quickly sold out with a waiting list and more classes on the way. I have students all over Dallas, and I now have students from across the country in the class. I’m pumped!! What lesson did I learn along the way? Stars shine brightest on the darkest night. Find faith. Even when times are hard, keep putting one foot in front of the other. Smile a lot. You’ll get to where you’re supposed to be. Never ever give up. Surround yourself with good people and animals (preferably rescue animals).
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Oh if my buddies would come to town…I’d take them to my backyard and have a cowboy cookout in my fire pit. My friends would be there, and we’d have the best time sitting around the fire while the potatoes and steaks are cooking. After we eat, I’d put the cobbler in the fire and bring the paint to paint empty wine bottles while laughing and watching the fire and listening to great tunes. We’d visit the DMA, Kimbell and Modern in Fort Worth. And the Cowgirl Hall of Fame and Museum! I’d take them up to my friends in McKinney and we’d ride horses alllllll day long. We’d take a trip back to the 60’s and eat in the back room at Dunston’s and then go upscale at Rise. And if it was in the summer, we’d go to the Dallas Arboretum for a concert on the hill.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I have the greatest family of friends who encourage and support me. It’s taken years to build my community and I continue to build it everyday. They are all related to me through art…my artist friends, clients, students, parents of students, schools and organizations I teach for, gallery directors, and Golden Artist Colors.