Anastasia O'Melveny

I have been expressing myself through art since I was very young.

Over the years I have worked in a myriad of fine art and craft mediums and methods: drawing, watercolor painting, leaded and stained glass, oil painting, egg tempera, encaustic, collage, natural materials, needlework, beadwork and jewelry, cardboard, sculpture, mixed media, writing, music, even architecture.   Currently, I can be found painting with oils – still lifes, landscapes, portraits, animals - occasionally grinding my own pigments or using unusual surfaces or taking photographs of the meaningful things I encounter.  I am also experimenting with the new multi-media and digital mediums, recently completing a children’s book on a religious theme, which features poetry, illustrations and a musical soundtrack.  Most of my work relates to nature or spiritual/religious topics.

I believe I gravitated to modes of artistic expression because of my early inability to communicate “normally”. I was not diagnosed with Asperger’s/ Autism until age 54 but early on, I realized that I was missing some key components when it came to understanding the basics of navigating the world I found myself in, especially the mystery of interpersonal relationships.  I did not know who I was, why I was here, or whether I even had a part to play in this world.  People were complex, erratic and inscrutable, the world of people - chaotic and terrifying. Many have called Asperger’s/Autism “The Wrong Planet Syndrome” - that certainly sums up the loneliness and out-of-sync feelings I felt then and still frequently experience.   

Art helped me make sense of people and the strange world around me.  I was blessed to have a family that held the arts in high esteem.  I never complained about visiting museums and I poured over the images in our large collection of art books.  I could see the world clearly in art because artists told the truth about life –in glorious and gory detail. Of course like all children, I loved to paint and draw and make things with found objects. 

Growing up, art was one of the things that helped me gain a sense of personal identity and value.  I had absolutely no idea how to build a bridge from the deeper aspects of my being and the special realms that sustained me, to the realm of common, worldly, interactive existence with others.  But as other people  noticed and appreciated my abilities and skills in the realms of life I cared about,  I realized that I did have something to offer. My studies of the arts and sciences led to the realization that there were others in the world who were accepted or even highly valued for their uniqueness and I also met people who became my role models – people who were “different” but who were following their inner light or unusual vision and who managing to find a way to carve out a life for themselves in the world.    I am grateful for the support of family and understanding friends, and for the sense of belonging I’ve discovered by being accepted as part of various communities - religious and secular, most recently AANE and the Artists Collaborative.


I have always been very drawn to animals and to the quietude of nature – with its intricate web of life and spectacular beauty and also to spiritual/ religious places, rituals and ideas.  In those settings, I do feel at peace and more importantly, at home – there's a sense of belonging. In nature and with the spiritual, I sense a direct, inner connection and communication with something greater than I, and it also a place where words are not needed.   My gratitude for what comes to me from these sources certainly gives me my focus on nature and spiritual subjects in my art.  But it also makes me want to share what I have been given with the viewer, reader, listener, because I believe that everyone - autistic or not –needs quietude and a place of sanctuary from the turmoil and stresses of life, everyone needs and will enjoy a sensory connection to the beauty of nature, and that we all have a place inside that yearns for a sense the sacred  - however we perceive it.  Once we have known or felt that depth or presence, a profound dimension is added to our life - we find our views concerning the world and our place in it, enlarged, deepened, and ourselves supported, inspired and empowered.                            You can also check out my personal website:                                           www.omelvenyartworks.com

I have always been very drawn to animals and to the quietude of nature – with its intricate web of life and spectacular beauty and also to spiritual/ religious places, rituals and ideas.  In those settings, I do feel at peace and more importantly, at home – there's a sense of belonging. In nature and with the spiritual, I sense a direct, inner connection and communication with something greater than I, and it also a place where words are not needed.   My gratitude for what comes to me from these sources certainly gives me my focus on nature and spiritual subjects in my art.  But it also makes me want to share what I have been given with the viewer, reader, listener, because I believe that everyone - autistic or not –needs quietude and a place of sanctuary from the turmoil and stresses of life, everyone needs and will enjoy a sensory connection to the beauty of nature, and that we all have a place inside that yearns for a sense the sacred  - however we perceive it.  Once we have known or felt that depth or presence, a profound dimension is added to our life - we find our views concerning the world and our place in it, enlarged, deepened, and ourselves supported, inspired and empowered.

 

                         You can also check out my personal website:   

                                       www.omelvenyartworks.com