About the artist
Melanie Lewis is a second generation, Jewish native Texan. Born in Houston, she has been doing art since childhood. Her formal art education consisted of a drawing course and a general art course as an undergraduate at Newcomb College. She received her Jewish education from her family and from attending Houston’s Congregation Beth Yeshurun, where she developed a love of the Saturday morning services.
Beginning in the 1970’s, and for the next several decades, her involvement in art and Judaism became secondary to education and work. She retired in 2000 from working as a science educator in the Department of Biology at Southwest Texas State University (now Texas State University). But just prior to retirement, art and Judaism had begun taking on larger roles.
She became increasingly involved in Austin’s Congregation Agudas Achim, (CAA). After being in a B’nai Mitzvah class there in 1988, she later served on the CAA Board of Directors, and these days, she attends daily morning minyan. In 1998, she began art classes at the Laguna Gloria Museum Art School (now The Contemporary Austin). By 2003, she rented studio spaces and began showing her art in Austin.
Melanie’s art is mainly representational. Others have described her work as colorful, imaginative and enchanting. She works primarily with acrylic paint, and paints whatever interests her. Jewish topics and Israel have always been a part of her portfolio. She does portraiture, especially from old family photographs, works from photos of nature, still life, and photos of her travels to Israel.
Then in 2015, Melanie attended an art exhibit by Natalie Frank at the Blanton Museum in Austin, Texas, showing pictures (“feminist re-imaginings”) of selected Grimm Fairy Tales. The connection of stories and art was the inspiration to create Faces of the Matriarchs, paintings and a book related to the matriarchs’ stories in the Book of Genesis from the Torah (The Five Books of Moses).