Melani Pyke with her Christian art

Melani Pyke was born in Brantford, Ontario. She grew up in a Christian home, so going to church on Sunday was normal for her. When she was young, like other young kids, she found a way to pass the time while sitting with her family. Doodling on the back of the church bulletin was just one way.

When she was older she continued drawing, this time in youth groups. By age 11 she had discovered oil and acrylic painting and had a God given

talent for it. “Painting just came naturally to me,” Melani exclaimed  enthusiastically during a recent sit-down. It was during her time in youth group that she was led to pursue painting and illustrating more passionately. People noticed her work, and she began painting for youth projects, teaching other teens how to paint, and painting projects for the church. She took her art from church to church, doing live worship painting to music or during scripture reading.

Melani draws her inspiration from many different sources, including the Bible. “The Bible is filled with stories that evoke visual images in your mind, and I just wanted to paint them on canvas,” she believes. As a hobby, she began painting some of the darker images found in Scripture, not because she felt compelled to tell a story, but because she wanted to do something unconventional, while simultaneously challenging her skills, and getting people to talk about her paintings. Later, she decided that painting the lighter parts of Word would have a much deeper, lasting effect on people, something that people could connect to. She wanted to inspire and give people a sense of hope.

One can't help but be reminded of the often-used quote, “Preach the Gospel always, and if necessary, use words,” while talking to Melani. “My paintings tell people about the gospel without me having to say a word,” she chimed in. She once painted a number of scenes that came straight out of the book of Psalms. She took those paintings to a show at the local library and people were inspired by them, not realizing that her God given talent was preaching the gospel to them until they read the background for her inspiration.

Melani discovered her calling while she was active in the church as a youth, exploring other areas of her talents in the media world. After completing high school, she furthered her education and pursued a degree in media arts.

Today Melani is married and has two young girls. She continues to paint Scripture-themed paintings as a hobby for herself but she also paints for a variety of businesses and churches. She started her own website (melpyke.com) and sells many of her paintings through her website, as well as through etsy.com/ca/.

St. Catharines Hospital
Christian Painter

Window mural in local hospital created by Melani

"The One" by Melani Pyke

"I'd like to employ other artists during the holidays because it gets so busy at that time of year painting window murals."

Young people have been known to ask Melani if one can make a living just painting. She tells them, “As a painter I do projects for businesses and they pay me for the work that I do. I make a living painting but I paint what the client asks for. This is very different from painting for myself.”

Melani paints on canvas for small to large businesses. She also paints on windows at business locations. During the holidays she was commissioned to make Christmas themed artwork on the windows of Tim Hortons in Fort Erie, Clifton Hill in Niagara Falls, and Crystal Beach. “The holidays are a busy time for me. I get requests to paint murals to add to the holiday cheer.” She even did window art for a hospital in the children's wing during the holidays to brighten up their spirits.

Along with raising a family, she also teaches painting once a week. Her talents have given her the opportunity to do speed painting demonstrations for churches, provide book illustration services, paint on canvas for both individuals and business... and she even paints portraits.

Melani has seen over time that her art influences her Christian life, and vice versa. “As I got older I realized that art is not separate from who I am," she replied, remaning focused on the interview while lovingly and attentively wiping chocolate ice cream from her daughter's face, and then resuming with a gracious smile. "Neither is church a separate thing in my life, or my family, or Christ. They are all intertwined. Christ is woven into every part of my life, including my art.”

Her plans were for the future are many. “I plan to do a daily painting series inspired by the book of Psalms and put them up for sale. I'd like to travel more, and do more shows. Also, I'd like to employ other artists during the holidays because it gets so busy at that time of year painting window murals. And at some point in the future I'd also like to create instructional videos.”

When showing some of her recent paintings, her excitement for  her work was evident. When asked which one of her art pieces was her favorite, she responded, “I don't have a favorite one. I don't like one more than the other. They are all different styles and I like them all. But I do favor my later art because I feel they are better than my earlier stuff.”

She revealed a painting of called “Lion and a Lamb,” which gave an astonishing level of detail in the work. The Lion appeared to be transparent on the canvas; a technique like this could only come from someone gifted by God.

Melani's work can be found and bought at her website www.melpyke.com and etsy.com/ca/. She is also for hire for a variety of work. Contact her for more information, or to arrange for a commission piece.

A love for doodling leads to a career in painting

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February 2015

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