Melissa Dawn is a native Texan and Oregon transplant, having relocated to Portland to pursue her MA degree in Art Therapy from Lewis & Clark Graduate School of Education and Counseling. The cross-country move was just over two years ago, and included her young adult son and daughter and their four felines.
Melissa Dawn holds a BFA in Studio Art from Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, Texas. With an emphasis in Ceramics and a minor in Psychology, she has always held a fondness for exploring the human experience and creating 3-D and multimedia art. She finds great inspiration in the human and non-human natural world and has intentionally woven deep interpersonal relationships and shoestring potato budget road-trips into her and her children’s lives.
Having worked privately as a Companion Caregiver with older adults, taught at a Waldorf-inspired preschool, been in the ongoing role of part-time Group Counselor at a residential recovery program for teens and concurrently working a full-time internship at an alternative K-12 therapeutic school, Melissa Dawn comes with a diverse set of relational experience in varied environments. She looks forward to graduation this Spring, celebrating this accomplishment with her esteemed colleagues, and embracing the mystery of what the future holds for her as an emerging Art Therapist.
When not at her internship, completing coursework or working her part-time job, you can often find her toodling through Rose City listening to music, at a homey coffee shop reading, or at home cooking up a pot of rainbow stew with her cats as onlookers. You might also see her on a local or coastal trail, just enjoying the here and now and soaking in this thing we call life whilst observing the natural world, collecting found objects and connecting with people along the way.
Spirited sauntering and mellifluous meandering outdoors inspires me to create. During these experiences of sparking connections with nature ~ human and non-human (plant, animal, fungi, water, earth, air, etc.) nature alike ~ there exists a deep sense of connecting to the Divine Source of Love and Light. Via sweet serendipity and holy happenstance, moments spent slowly strolling and sometimes veering onto an illuminated off-trail adventure are guided by an ever-present spiritual companion. Relational intuition with other human journeyers as well as being connected with Spirit are part of the essence of these special times of savoring the moment.
These sojourns are an important part of self-care for me, and I enjoy fully joining the environment I am in and collecting found objects during these times of deeply connecting with the planet and with people I meet along the way. These peaceful paths evoke a sense of curiosity, as I go about gathering as I feel led. While I don’t pick up all the things, I do pick up a lot of micro-trash (small bits of “litter”) and wonder how they got there ~ who left it behind and what is the story? I’ll often sit with an object, and if there is a particular energetic resonance I will send a quiet prayer out for them.
My physical body has needs which have caused me to slow down while also getting exercise. This has played a part in my developing this creative habit of more intentionally savoring space and subsequently place-bonding with various environments. The simple and silly name of an art piece which is born from these found object creations is affectionately and humorously called a “hangy-downy”. El Duende painting has also been incorporated into this recent hangy-downy, and I treasured the process of getting into a flow state and layering several stages of spontaneous imagery in acrylic paint onto a found canvas. My identity as an emerging Art Therapist has also come into play throughout this creative endeavor. I hope to be a source of warm reflection, human connection and to have an attuned awareness with the people who come to see me for part of their therapeutic journey. In my work entitled, “Eye of the Beheld ~ A Melded Flowting”, as well as in my interactions with other human and non-human natural beings, I honor and have deep reverence for the simplicity, mystery and magic of the intangible yet very present rainbow connections available to us all the time. It’s happening right here right now ~ how do YOU sense it?