My name is Melissa Launay. I am a painter and illustrator.
I do not remember this, but I was apparently born in the Westminster Hospital on the Thames Embankment in London and immediately whisked off to Spain to be with my mother’s family. I am half Spanish.
Found to be sufficiently acceptable, I remained there for the next 20 years or so and, as I showed a certain amount of talent drawing as a child, I finished my education at the Seville University of Fine Arts. London was still in my blood, however, and as soon as I could I moved back to the capital where I now live in a delightful Georgian house in Stockwell which I share with four delightful people.
At present I work from home in my bedroom, the sitting room or beautiful conservatory [I painted the designs on the windows using removable paint]. I can do this, for everyone else leaves early in the morning for their offices and do not return till dusk.
I have considered renting a studio but now summer is approaching and there is a wonderful garden where I get so much inspiration from!!I like putting up my easel under the apple tree and working there. Though it gets very dangerous in september [apples are massive and can be painful if landing on you!!]
I paint 4 or 5 days a week but also work twice a week in Shepherds Bookbinding a paper shop, previously known as Falkiners and it is an Aladdin’s cave of art paper supplies. I love being there as it keeps me sane. I am a sociable person and spending lots of time on my own without interacting with others gets me a little low and makes me lose my motivation and self discipline. The job not only forces me out of the house into the city life but gives me an opportunity to meet lots of lovely people!!
My days at home usually start at 7.30. After a shower I get into my comfortable working clothes,put the news on and after answered my e-mails while having breakfast [toast with butter and honey and a cup of tea] I get my gouaches or acrylics out and start painting around 10sh!
I stop for lunch about 1.30sh I love cooking and have the habit of doing a mountain of food so usually I have lots of left overs to be eaten at lunch, If these have already been consumed, I will have a salad or soup, anything that is easy and quick.
I am back at my desk or easel by 2.30sh and carry on painting for the rest of the day [listening to music, what would I do without Spotify? I do not know!!! or if not music, I put on anything interesting I can get on BBC iPlayer] usually stopping for a cup of tea and probably a chat with someone on the phone.
If I am particularly inspired then I keep at it till 8 or 9 but prefer calling it a day around 6pm when my house mates are back from work or when I am ready to go out to meet with friends, longing to see people after a day on my own. Because of this, I often double book my evenings and try to be in two places at once. This usually leads to problems when I happily go to the cinema or a gallery having forgotten that I have invited six friends to dinner.
Sometime’s I’ll have a private view of my work in the house, this is the conservatory one one of those days. I usually exhibit with my friend Hannah Battershell once every three to four months in the conservatory!
Another problem is my body clock which has failed to adjust from my years in Spain. I can seldom go to sleep before 2 in the morning and can stay up all night when others have fallen by the wayside. Luckily I do not need many hours of sleep!!
At present I am working on a number of commissioned paintings and have several large projects [ murals which will get me out of the house ] coming up. Last year I illustrated three books and a pack of tarot cards and find the changes refreshing.
You can see more of my work here and here and buy postcards here. I also have a blog which explains my work more thorughly. Contact me directly for any commissions or enquiries : )
Author: Rohini Wahi
Rohini is a London based freelance journalist and trend forecaster for the design industries. She has worked for Elle Decoration, Living Etc, Houzz and Design Sponge amongst others.
She loves a period drama and keeps a tidy home. Launched in 2007 The Beat That My Heart Skipped focuses on home inspirations, design trends, lifestyle and food – coupled with an insight into Rohini’s work and home life – from key picks at trade shows to styled weekend soirees. To contact Rohini for queries, work for hire or just to say hi drop her a line at firstname.lastname@example.org