The picture Mike took of the final product. Taken from an angle, so the image is not quite proportional.

The picture Mike took of the final product. Taken from an angle, so the image is not quite proportional.

Mike’s caption on Facebook: “I joke around with Melodie Miu about how with the casting of PATIENT ZERO, I basically shipped The Doctor and Margaery Tyrell. So she of course gives me the best Christmas gift: This amazing painting she did of Matt Smith’s The Doctor and Natalie Dormer as Margaery Tyrell!”

We celebrated our 4th year anniversary in mid-December and before I went to visit Mike, I spent around 5 days on his present. Referencing our inside joke, I made a fanart painting of Doctor Who’s Matt Smith and Game of Thrones’ Margaery Tyrell.

I used these two images for my main reference:

This image is a lot greener than the official promo ( I liked it a lot more because the color of her dress stayed faithful to the book depiction of Tyrell color green.

This image is a lot greener than the official promo ( I liked it a lot more because the color of her dress stayed faithful to the book depiction of Tyrell color green.


I sketched out the forms on 12″ by 18″ acrylic paper until I got the details like Margaery’s hair and The Doctor’s crossed feet in the way I wanted.



Natalie Dormer and Matt Smith have the MOST interesting faces I’ve ever had to draw. Over the course of three days, I kept studying their pictures and painting over their faces until I finally got it right, particularly Dormer’s signature smirk.

Here are some versions of it before I settled on the faces I liked.

Version 1.

Version 1.

Version 2.

Version 2.

I unfortunately forgot to take a proportional picture of the painting in its final form in its wooden black frame. Currently, the painting looks most like Natalie Dormer and Matt Smith’s faces. So the first picture of this post is what I’ll show for now until I go visit Mike again.

Materials: acrylic paints, acrylic markers, Sharpie pens (for smaller details), acrylic paper, and colored pencils (for shadowing).

I’m so happy for Mike Le and his many successes. Here’s a few of his accomplishments so far:

Daniel Austin. (DARK SUMMER)

Daniel Austin. (DARK SUMMER)

      -Sold three scripts last year alone.

      -One of which, his action-thriller script, PATIENT ZERO, was sold within 6 days during a bidding war to Screen Gems.

      This guyyy.

      This guyyy.

      -Talented young actors including Keir Gilchrist (United States of Tara), Grace Phipps (Teen Beach Movie), Stella Maeve (The Runaways), and Maestro Harrell (Suburgatory) as well as the prolific Peter Stormare were cast into his ghost horror film, DARK SUMMER. Directed by horror film darling, Paul Solet.

      -Wrote the first draft for PATIENT ZERO while on the production set of DARK SUMMER, more than a year ago.

      DARK SUMMER got picked up by IFC Midnight.

      -Stefan Ruzowitzky, who won the 2008 Best Foreign-Language Film Oscar for The Counterfeiters, is set to direct PATIENT ZERO.

      -British actors and fan favorites, Natalie Dormer (Game of Thrones) and Matt Smith (Doctor Who), have officially been cast into PATIENT ZERO.

      -He continues to tirelessly write numerous screenplays for both TV and film. His compelling storytelling has never been better and he has lots of exciting projects on the way.

Mona Wilson. (DARK SUMMER)

Mona Wilson. (DARK SUMMER)

And now the trailer for DARK SUMMER has been released yesterday (video below)! The film will premiere in the United States on Jan. 9, 2015. Mark your calendars!!!


I gave him a DARK SUMMER-related painting as a Christmas/anniversary present that I wasn’t able to show for over a year because of spoilers.

It’s a rendering of an underwater kiss between the actors Gilchrist and Maeve. Done with acrylic paint and markers.



EDIT. The new DARK SUMMER poster and social media banner has just been released!



EDIT. Here’s another new social media banner.


Visited my dear friend Sharde at her place. As she cooked us a really yummy lunch and served me raspberry beer and snacks — very much an awesome hostess — I petted her cats Tao and Taboo, watched Drunk Kitchen, and walked around her apartment, admiring her decor.

While watching SNOWPIERCER and part of FROZEN, we painted in her living room using her supplies. She had a few small canvases and a huge collection of brushes and acrylic paints (with colors even I don’t have yet).

While she went the abstract route, I painted her smothering her ‘sons’ Tao and Taboo — an overdue gift. She loved it.


In this post, I want to briefly mention that I was rejected today for a juried exhibition I desperately wanted to be a part of. It sucks. It really, really sucks. Especially when I submitted what I still believe is my best, most ambitious work.

I told some people it was my first time submitting art but it’s not the first time I’ve been rejected by a gallery. Right now, after some comforting words and hugs from Mike, a cup of coffee, late-night hash browns and R&B therapy, I feel okay. Still sad, but okay.

I have so much to look forward to; I’m only just starting out. I will continue doing research to look for more exhibitions and creating even more art.

Above all else, I’m beyond grateful for my mom who helped me drop off the artwork when I was out of town, for Mike who always seem to know what to say to make me feel better, and other very nice people, like Sharde who messaged me to keep trying and my former professor who emailed me some PDFs to uplift me.


Q: Oh my gosh, Melodie, you’ve been updating so much this week.
A: Mostly to avoid working on my current projects…
Q: What’s this one about?
A: This post is a compilation of paintings I made during two semesters’ worth of advanced painting classes. And with short blurbs explaining the assignments and my process. There’ll be more detailed posts for a couple of them soon. I don’t know when but soon, which, all things considered, probably means next year.

I already posted about three other projects made during the same year: here, here, and here.

Q: Okay. So about this Q&A format…
A: God, you people don’t appreciate anything.

– – –

FALL 2013

Taught by Hung Liu. Her website:
TA: David Mohr (who also assisted the Spring 2014 class)

A Model, 2013, acrylic paint.

A Model, 2013, acrylic paint.

Two Models, 2013, acrylic paint.

Two Models, 2013, acrylic paint.

We had three nude models come into class for us to paint after. I’ve always liked using bright, unnatural colors for figure painting; it’s much more interesting to me that way. My humans almost never have actual skin tone colors haha.

Larded with Sweet Flowers, 2013, acrylic paint.

Larded with Sweet Flowers, 2013, acrylic paint.

My most favorite painting so far. There’s a more in-depth story to this that I’ll try to get to another time. Basically, the assignment asked us to paint our interpretation of an old well-known painting. I chose Sir John Everett Millais’ Ophelia and, after doing a little research into Hamlet, swallowed my Ophelia with all the flowers mentioned in the poem: “rosemary, pansies, fennel, columbine and rue.”

In contrast to Millais’ Ophelia’s serene, almost sexual expression, my Ophelia is basically dead. The pale and blue-tinged signs of decay were placed in sharp contrast with the colorful blooming flowers growing over and even from her still, lifeless body. Her dark hair are rendered to look a lot like gnarling tree branches, her pale, delicate hands like flower petals curling into themselves.

I still consider this a work in progress and will someday return to finish it.

One Girl at the Club (working title), triptych, 2013, acrylic paint.

One Girl at the Club (working title), triptych, 2013, acrylic paint.



I’m embarrassed to say that I don’t remember the specifics of this assignment but I think it might be mixed media?

Anyway, I was watching G-Dragon’s music video for his song CROOKED and was blown away by the aesthetics, facial expressions, and street fashion. So I took screenshots from the video to paint after and was focused on the idea of “one girl at the club.”

Taking away the neon lights and darkness that shrouded G-Dragon, I made the background a cloudy white and gray like she’s dancing in a fog. I also added in contemporary jewelry like body chains and cross earrings.


Taught by Michael Hall. His website:

Carved Face, 2014, acrylic paint, 12" x 12".

Carved Face, 2014, acrylic paint, 12″ x 12″.

bye felicia, 2014, acrylic paint, 12" by 12".

bye felicia, 2014, acrylic paint, 12″ by 12″.

Two of the mini-projects we did in between the main ones. I think the first one was working with texture (I don’t remember!) and the second one was incorporating text.

For Carved Face, I first painted the face of a woman and then took an X-ACTO knife to cut away piece by piece until all was left was some interpretation of a woman.

For bye felicia, I used the popular slang phrase “bye felicia” that I kept seeing on Twitter. Reddit has an explanation for it. I surrounded it with flowers (this is becoming my signature theme) like sunflowers, bleeding hearts, and lavender; a pretense of sweetness for a phrase that actually means something really mean.

I distinctly remember while painting on the cursive words, my professor asked me “Who’s Felicia?” (lawl) I know quite a few people really liked this one and suggested I expand more on it but I’m not going to. After giving it a lot of thought, I feel like I would be appropriating an AAVE term so commonly used by the online Black community for my own benefit. It’s a cool concept but I won’t go there.

Social Media Girl (working title), 2014, acrylic paint, 30" by 40".

Social Media Girl (working title), 2014, acrylic paint, 30″ by 40″.

This was a very ambitious project that at first had me at odds with my professor who didn’t really understand where I was going with it — for a while, neither did I. I changed concepts halfway through and white gesso’d it over after springing out of bed with the new idea of a young woman taking a mirror selfie.

I have many photos detailing the excruciating step-by-step process it took to create the whole thing that I’ll share another time. I used the Instagram of a popular, curvaceous Bay Area glamor model for the pose and changed the hand position. Then I added in a ton of emoji characters from the texting app WeChat into the background as well as my own. I used acrylic pens to draw the outline, painted everything in color, outlined it again, added in red and cyan lines for a 3-D effect, then outlined it once more.

In total, I spent more than 14 hours in the studio that one weekend before displaying it to the class.

Text Bubbles, 2014, gesso and acrylic paint on wood panels. Thanks to Umit Yalcinalp for the photo!

Text Bubbles, 2014, gesso and acrylic paint on wood panels. Thanks to Umit Yalcinalp for the photo!



For the final project, I had the idea of creating text bubbles out of cardboard with funny messages on them. But as ever, my professor pushed me to cut the text bubbles out of wood panels because they would hold up better. Since I was very uncomfortable using the table saw, he helped me cut out all of them as well as the cleats (thank you!) which I sanded down and glued together. I painted them in various colors to emulate the colorful text bubbles you’d normally find on texting apps.

I tried, I did, to paint the messages in but ended up hating it. After emailing my professor a picture of the panels, he suggested I experiment with texture which I totally rolled with. That weekend I poured gobs of thick acrylic and gesso paint over the panels. With different sized brushes, I created swirls and bumps. It took about three days for them to dry (the big white one was a monster) and I had to repaint some of them when flies got themselves stuck to the wet spots.

With the promise of free coffee, my friend Emily Mibach helped me drill all the cleats onto the studio wall and we both hung them up before class.

Set-up of advanced painting showcase, before the tables were cleared away.

Set-up of advanced painting showcase, before the tables were cleared away.

Photographed by Umit Yalcinalp.

Photographed by Umit Yalcinalp.

These are photos of the advanced painting showcase my class threw for the Mills community. It meant a lot of me that this event happened because due to weird circumstances, I sadly couldn’t be a part of the annual senior art show so this was my only chance to display my artworks at school. My little corner was social media-themed; I even hung up my slightly modified Instagram as Art piece.

Many thanks to everyone who attended! It made me so happy and grateful when people showed up to surprise me all because I posted a small notice about it on Facebook. ❤

This was a very ambitious first project I did for my painting class called Instagram as Art. I only had a week and a half to finish it.

The subject of the project is “Media Images,” which we could interpret however we wanted. I decided to explore social media because I’ve always found it fascinating that social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and Instagram are turning the insights, tidbits, status updates, and images from peoples’ lives into an art gallery and are using web design formats that cater to those whims.

When the NSA scandal happened, everyone flipped out about their online activity being stored and used by the government. On the shallow surface of much greater, darker fears, many viewed their Instagram images as something precious and important even though the subject matter was just food porn and selfies. With this in mind, I was thinking along the lines of “What if Instagram was elevated to high art…?”

Using actual references from Instagram accounts I came across, I designed a generic girl’s profile. I for sure wanted to incorporate images like a #selfie, a Marilyn Monroe quote, cute animals, an ab pic, memes, and food porn of both greasy fast food fare and healthy meals — stuff you can find on just about everyone’s account. After I was finished painting, I arranged the pictures to look like the Instagram app in rows of 3, going from left to right from the newest down to the oldest image. I chose to do 9 images in total, because that’s how many you can see at once on the app.

If I had more time to really process and work on this Instagram gallery, I would’ve incorporated something that would immediately signify to someone that they were looking at an Instagram account — like the loading icon, app header or something. I would have also painted more images of the girl because I realized she only has two selfies of herself when she realistically would have more. I wished more of the images looked like the one in the middle, which doesn’t have bold graphic lines and looks like the grainy Instagram filter I was looking to emulate. I would also have omitted the use of pushpins since they were a little distracting for me during my own presentation. Had I used some sort of adhesive on the back instead, it would have imitated Instagram better.

Materials: acrylic paints, painting canvas paper cut into 11″ by 11″ squares (not evenly though), matte acrylic medium, a black acrylic pen for the lines, text on copier paper which I cut out, print-outs of various Instagram photos, pushpins.

Painting some In-N-Out cheeseburgers and animal-style fries.

Painting some In-N-Out cheeseburgers and animal-style fries.

My photo references plucked from various Instagram accounts.

My photo references plucked from various Instagram accounts.

Only interesting to me: my paint palette.

Only interesting to me: my paint palette.

Sneak peek.

Sneak peek.

Base paint for the ab photo.

Base paint for the ab photo.

The obligatory Marilyn Monroe quote.

The obligatory Marilyn Monroe quote.

My workspace.

My workspace.

The sketch for the four-paneled Instagram #selfie of a girl and her dog.

The sketch for the four-paneled Instagram #selfie of a girl and her dog.

From the night before the class presentation.

From the night before the class presentation.

I didn't realize how blurry the photo was until after I took everything down so hopefully the earlier photo was a clearer demonstration. The last panel was a "Keep Calm" print that I got online and quickly attached onto a canvas square with matte acrylic medium.

I didn’t realize how blurry the photo was until after I took everything down so hopefully the earlier photo was a clearer demonstration. The last panel was a “Keep Calm” print that I got online and quickly attached onto a canvas square with matte acrylic medium.

My awesome classmates taking an Instagram of my Instagrams. (:

My awesome classmates taking an Instagram of my Instagrams. (:

I’m heading back to LA again tomorrow morning for more K-TOWN Reality Show filming this week so I’ll miss Father’s Day. I didn’t get to celebrate Mother’s Day either for the same reason so at the last minute, I made a combined card for my parents.

I love them and if my folks are reading this as they always are, I’m sorry I won’t be here this weekend.

Cut a sketch page into halves and painted both sides abstractly with yellow and light gray acrylic paint. It would be a two-in-one card for my parents.

With a fine Sharpie pen and color pencils, I drew out the letters of the greeting then carefully cut them out. I cut three of them in half, where it’ll be split in the middle.

Drew funny images of my mom and dad on their iPad and iPhone respectively. You often see them like this in the living room, tapping and clicking and sipping wine away if not watching a Chinese travel or procedural show.

Using acrylic matte medium as a glue, I pasted each image and word onto the card once everything dried. Then wrote in the rest of the greeting.

Top left: “I was initially going to draw the both of you hiking…”

Top right: “But I thought this was a better, more honest image.”

Bottom left: “Sorry for not being here this weekend to celebrate. I hope this card will bring you some smiles and chuckles.”

Bottom right: “Thank you for always being there for us. LOVE, YOUR KIDS: Derek & Melodie.”

Only Interesting to Me: Paint brushes, paint palette and a jar of acrylic matte medium.

My folks recently in Canada.

My cousin is graduating high school and heading off to college in the Fall! I’m so proud of her and decided to make her a graduation card, the night before the ceremony.

I’m so sleepy right now…

Painted a 11″ x 14″ poster board with bright yellow acrylic paint. Then started on the flowers.

Some main flowers coming to shape.

Added the smaller flowers.

As the paint was drying, I took some green Post-its and drew the congratulatory words with a Sharpie pen and color pencils.

When they were done, I outlined each flower with a thicker, black Sharpie pen.

Added some cute patterns on the inside of the letters.

Cut out each letter with a pair of scissors. I was not very neat.

Brought out my Acrylic Matte Medium and another brush. My favorite substitute for glue.

Painted the backs of each letter, pasted it on the poster board and then painted it over again until it stuck.

Carefully lined each letter so they would fit perfectly.

The card will have every family member’s signature and note for the newest graduate. I put down mine first.

Only Interesting to Me: my paint palette and dirty, dirty brushes.


Everyone in the family signed it. My littler cousin started writing on the back, some cute things, some mean things.

This customized doll was a Christmas present for my boyfriend Mike, who’s the biggest Woody Allen fan and has watched all of his 40+ films (his favorite being Stardust Memories). It’s my first Munny doll so things aren’t as polished as I hoped it would be.

Here’s a step-by-step of how I did it:

A 4-inch Munny doll and a package of white air-dry clay.

You can buy the doll on KidRobot’s MUNNYWORLD. I got mine at Blick Art Materials.

Molded the clay over the head. You have to be careful because the clay won't stick unless it's all over the surface.

I let it dry for a day and then molded more volume into the hair and fixed the cheekbones. I got a little scared at that point because he started to look more like Ron Paul or the guy from Up.

I took off the head for the rest of it to dry and started painting on his clothes on the body.

Took apart the arms for the sleeves. Don't worry, it snaps back on.

Pants! Woody's really into the corduroys.

Then the wool vest and collared shirt.

Painted his skin on both his face and hands.

Here's the paint palette.

I made a cheap-looking gift wrapping out of three pieces of paper and different colored Sharpies.

I'm sorry, I forgot to take photos of several steps. I painted white gesso paint on his hair to fill in the cracks and then fashioned a pair of his signature glasses by glueing two glossy cardboard papers and coloring it with black Sharpie.

Here's a close-up of the glasses.

I added the eyes and brows.

As I let it dry, I cut out a cardboard mitten and painted stripes. It'll be used for a card.

I couldn't find my knife so I stupidly wasted time by poking a line of hole around the frame with a thumb tack until I realized I could just use scissors.

After adding pinkish tones and Sharpie lines, then glueing the glasses on, here it is! Tis the director himself! Mini-fied.

His right side.

His left side.

The back of his head. I even included his bald spot.

I put him back into the Munny box and covered it in the wrapping paper I made. I did a pretty bad job of taping it.

Placed the mitten on top. I folded a long strip of artist tape in half and made a ribbon to tie the box with.

Here it is again. I don't think Woody Allen has ever held a pinwheel in a movie (Correct me if I'm wrong) but there was one included in the box and it helped balance his big head. The reason why I decided to post this blog before Christmas is because we decided to open presents early. He got me a Bamboo digitizing tablet, how wonderful. : )