Saturday, December 5, 2020

I'm happy to announce that I am participating in Sanchez Art Center's 12th Annual 50|50 Show this year. This year's juror is Patricia Sweetow of Patricia Sweetow Gallery in San Francisco. She selected 50 California artists to take on the challenge of creating 50 small artworks in 50 days, based on a theme and medium of their choosing. My theme is Mandalas: Centering in the Time of Coronavirus, created in acrylic/mixed media.

I was not expecting a pandemic. I had just retired from serving as program manager at Sanchez Art Center (the best job I’ve ever had), and COVID-19 was not on my radar at all. So I was in shock when it hit, and every day there was a new bit of frightening information. I felt a huge swell of grief for the whole world. As my 14-year-old grandson said, “This is big, isn’t it?” Yes, John, it is. So many people, so much loss.

Then came the beautiful, stirring protests against the killing of George Floyd and so many others. I am glad that particular boil burst, and grateful for all I keep learning about the racist structures that many of our forefathers purposely built into the fabric of our society. My thanks to Frances Causey for her film The Long Shadow, which outlines how this came about, and for loaning me her film’s title for the mandala it inspired. The history I never learned in school is eye-opening and tragic, and it is well past time to redress these wrongs with systemic changes to make the dream of peace and justice a reality.

I felt like I needed deck shoes to stay upright during the continuous buffeting of events. Artmaking always helps, so I was thrilled to be accepted for Sanchez Art Center’s 12th annual 50|50 Show, and I gravitated naturally to the theme of centering, creating mandalas as a calming and focusing practice. I usually paint in acrylics, but the 50|50 Show presented a great opportunity to explore a new medium, so working in mixed media was a natural progression—plus I got to go through my boxes of shells, rocks, and beads. I am so fortunate in the midst of the maelstrom to retreat to my studio every day and make art. Art does, indeed, save lives.

My process, like my theme, was open-ended. I grew up in the Southwest and feel an affinity with native spiritual practices, so I made a Medicine Wheel mandala, and I used red, yellow, white, and black to call in the four directions, summoning the wholeness of life and the unity of humankind. And more personal themes came in—relationships, love of nature, a friend who died. Another friend’s expressive email sign-off gave me the mandala titled Sigh. Two yellow butterflies flew by and became a mandala. A small black spider challenged me to let him live. (We worked it out, and he is now in Grandmother Spider and Take Care with Buddha, as well as somewhere in my studio.)

This was a wonderful experience, sometimes smooth sailing and sometimes quite challenging--but I loved working in my studio every day. Here are some of my 5050 pieces, with titles:

     Adaptation                                                          All That Glitters


Diamonds & Rust #2

Grandmother Spider

Hope and the Butterfly Effect

Hour of the Wolf

Medicine Wheel

Reckoning (Alone Together)

Some Days

Squaring the Circle, Circling the Square

The Long Shadow (after the Frances Causey film)

The People

Friday, March 3, 2017

One more public viewing . . .

My thanks to Pacifica Performances for allowing me an extra day to open to the public. Come see Spiral Fragments in the Mildred Owen Concert Hall this evening, Friday, March 3, from 7 to 9 pm.

Concurrently, Sanchez Art Center will open its three new exhibitions: In the Main Gallery, Helge Ternsten, It Is What It Isn't; in East Gallery, Coastside Invitational features works by Westmoor High School students and Skyline College faculty, curated by Arthur Takayama; and in West Gallery, the Art Guild of Pacifica presents Lost & Found. You're sure to find something to love in these four shows tonight!

After tonight, Spiral Fragments will be on view during concerts, through the end of March. Concert tickets are available at

For directions:

Friday, January 6, 2017

Melinda Lightfoot

Spiral Fragments

Curated by Ann West


This new series of paintings will be on view during concerts In Mildred Owen Concert Hall throughout the first quarter of 2017. The public is invited to an opening reception, Friday, January 13, 7–9 pm.

I love colors and shapes. Much of my artwork is based on geometric shapes, swirling colors, or both. I paint with acrylics and also with soft pastels. I am what is called a “na├»ve” painter; my degrees are in Russian and psychology rather than art. But I met a wonderful Jungian analyst during my studies, a writer, who inspired me to begin drawing and painting. Thirty-some years later, making art is still at the center of my life, bringing purpose, meaning, joy, and a sense of personal accomplishment that I don’t think I could find any other way.

In 2012 I was sidelined from painting due to a shoulder injury, so I made small 6” x 6” drawings instead. These became a series, Spiral Fragments, and in 2015 and 2016 I turned the drawings into ten 36” x 36” acrylic paintings. I used algebra to keep the shapes proportionate to the original small drawings—my mathematician father would have been proud. It was fairly arduous making the edges of my shapes look crisp and defined, but I persevered. When images come to me in a burst of inspiration, as these did, I feel it is my responsibility to manifest them as faithfully as possible, and that is what I tried to do in this series.

Spiral Fragments #3: Deep Seabed, 2015, acrylic on canvas

You can find me in Studio #4 at Sanchez Art Center in Pacifica or contact me at The paintings in this show are posted here, and you can see more of my work at
Spiral Fragments #1: Global
Spiral Fragments #2: Dancing



Spiral Fragments #5: Pharoah's Drapes

Spiral Fragments #4: Visiting Heaven

Spiral Fragments #6: Orange Hoodie (V. Woolf)

Spiral Fragments #7: Two Gray Hills II

Spiral Fragments #8: Multi

Spiral Fragments #9: Brown Hoodie (V. Woolf)

Spiral Fragments #10: In the Distance

Saturday, July 24, 2010

50-50 Show - Recap

Here are thumbnail images of the whole display. I decided to show them in the order they were done. Hope to see you at the Preview Party, Thurs. July 29, 7-9 pm ( or at the Grand Opening, Fri. July 30, 6-10 pm.


Finally finished all 50 pieces--a real feeling of accomplishment.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Hope this blog thing is working!

Just logging in and it appears all may not be well on this site. Hopefully I can get the problem fixed soon.

Just wanted to repeat information about how to visit the 50-50 Show in person. The fundraiser preview is Thursday, July 29, 7 to 9 pm. Tickets are available for $10.98 at, 1-800-838-3006, or $20 at the door. The Friday night opening July 30, 6 to 10 pm, is free to the public. About a thousand people came to the opening last year, so if you prefer a more peaceful atmosphere, I suggest coming to the ticketed preview. Location is Sanchez Art Center, 1220 Linda Mar Blvd., Pacifica, CA 94044. Directions are on the website,

Friday, July 16, 2010

Taking a different tack . . .

Too much of the pastel sweetness and light all at once just before this, I guess. Time to get a bit more austere.

I've also found myself using ideas from earlier quite larger works, and translating them down to this small size. Interesting exercise. (Have I just been wasting canvas all this time??) I generally paint on medium large canvases, like 24 x 30 to 36 x 36 or even larger. I wonder how this "scaling down" aspect will affect my work when I go back to bigger canvases?

What I do is make many small sketches of ideas. It's an easy thing to do anytime I'm waiting somewhere. Then I turn many of those sketches into 50-50 pieces. Not all, of course, but many of them. This means that I have to be careful to check off or "X" out the sketches I have actually used, so as not to repeat an image. So far that's only happened once, and as you can see above, I've changed the green & purple one by collaging on a small felt marker on paper drawing.