Local artist’s exhibit examines sky and sea

“Seafloor Constellation” is part of Melinda Harr Curley’s “Oceanic Skies” exhibit on display at Old Main Frame Shop & Gallery in State College during Blue-White weekend.
“Seafloor Constellation” is part of Melinda Harr Curley’s “Oceanic Skies” exhibit on display at Old Main Frame Shop & Gallery in State College during Blue-White weekend. Photo provided

On April 15-16 at the Old Main Frame Shop & Gallery in State College, local artist Melinda Harr Curley will showcase her latest art exhibition, “Oceanic Skies.” With 21 pieces on display, the award-winning painter and poet’s work will examine the extensive similarities and differences that unite the sea and sky while also challenging people to tap deep into their own minds.

“I am really interested in nature and capturing the energy and essence of it — it’s why I’m an abstract painter,” Harr Curley said. “I really try to portray emotion and feeling. I want to connect with people more on the subconscious level of emotion and feeling. With the sky and the ocean, I am trying to visually show what the energy may look like.

“I also want to show just how the sky and ocean reflect and mirror each other with their vastness,” she continued. “We usually think of the ocean and sky as being two different worlds, but perhaps they aren’t. Maybe there’s more similarities to the ocean and sky than there are differences. This exhibit takes a look at how they relate to each other.”

The technique that Harr Curley utilizes in her art is rather unique. Instead of painting with a brush, she uses a palette knife. This approach allows for a more robust and striking visual that really makes the colors on her canvases stand out. A palette knife also provides Harr Curley with the opportunity to layer her acrylic paint, giving the final product an extra dimension to admire.

“I have been painting for about 10 years and now I exclusively paint with a palette knife,” Harr Curley said. “The minute I put the palette knife in my hand, it felt familiar and comfortable. I not only like the process of painting with the knife, but I like the effect that I get on the canvas. I use a lot of paint and with a palette knife, I am able to build up textures. I like the sculpture-like build up that I can put on the canvas. You can’t get these sorts of results with a brush.”

In addition to the colors and texture that define Harr Curley’s craft, she also enhances each piece with a few lines of original poetry. Harr Curley’s writing aids in her process and helps provide clarity for her and, hopefully, those admiring her artistry.

“After I have completed the painting, I will write a poem about it,” Harr Curley explained. “The poem offers the chance to see the painting from a different perspective. Combining the painting and the poetry is how I question the essence of nature. This combination really allows me to develop a closer understanding of nature.”

Through “Oceanic Skies,” Harr Curley is attempting to find meaning by exploring her surroundings to figure out how humans relate to them. The relationship between humans and nature and how they affect each other has long fascinated many writers and artists. With this exhibition, Harr Curley is contributing her own theories to this timeless and fascinating philosophical inquiry.

“I have always been mesmerized by the ocean, and this exhibition is my own personal exploration of the relationship of the ocean and sky through painting and poetry,” Harr Curley said. “I’m sharing my own exploration and am trying to capture and visibly display the emotion and essence of the ocean and sky.”

“Oceanic Skies” is Harr Curley’s second Blue-White weekend show at the Old Main Frame Shop & Gallery and she is excited to again share her work with the community.

“My goal is to mine the uniqueness of my creativity, approach and perspective. I want to incorporate these methods into my artwork which then reflects who I am as a person,” Harr Curley said. “This exhibition presents an authentic questioning of nature as our home on this planet and I am attempting to portray nature’s rhythmic and organic patterns and forms through my paintings and poetry.”


  • What: “Oceanic Skies” exhibit
  • When: 1-8 p.m. April 15, 9-4 p.m. April 16; opening reception 3-8 p.m. April 18
  • Where: Old Main Frame Shop & Gallery, 136 E. College Ave., State College
  • Info: www.oldmainframe.com