Art Collector’s Home: Photographer Melinda Hodges
Photographer Melinda Hodges goes by the moniker Melrose Lane, her business specialising in wedding and family photography. She also happens to be a keen art collector on Bluethumb and regularly shares her latest acquisitions on her Instagram. We were so excited to see the budding collection of one of Bluethumb’s most prolific collectors grow, we reached out for an invite to get the full tour!
Melinda is currently based in the quiet, leafy suburb of Belrose, which sits on Sydney’s northern beaches. Despite having lived in the area for a decade, she moved into her new abode in May this year. The late 1980s two-storey brick house sits in a quiet cul-de-sac street, surrounded by bush reserves and opposite a primary school. “It is definitely a family home for myself, my husband and our two children, aged 4 and 3,” says Melinda.
The house’s most recent renovation in the early 2000s has given it a light aspect, with sun streaming through the windows in the morning and lots of large white spaces through multiple living spaces – a perfect backdrop for Melinda’s art collection. “I have aspired to turn this house into an art gallery through building my collection of original paintings and my own landscape photographs.”
“I love that I live in a very quiet suburban area of Sydney but it is still only 15 minutes to the beach,” Melinda explains. “Our street is a small cul-de-sac and we live at the end of the street where we are adjoined by two bush reserves on either side of our property. We have a big front garden and backyard which we recently had landscaped into a modern Japanese style oasis with a maple tree, limestone boulders and Australian native shrubs and grasses. The formal lounge room at the front of our house has two large bay windows looking out to a view of this tranquil garden setting. It is also where I have hung two of my original paintings by Bluethumb artists Ashley Bunting and Tania Chanter. I feel the oriental style of the artwork If Birds Could Talk by Bunting complements my garden and makes a stunning entrance to our home.”
Melinda admits she is currently obsessed with this painting. “As soon as I laid eyes on this piece on the Bluethumb Instagram page, I knew I had to have it! I went onto Bluethumb and purchased it that day and it arrived from the Gold Coast in two days. I have this artwork hanging in my formal lounge room, the first room as you enter my home, and it is definitely a standout piece and everyone who’s come here – albeit, not many people since lockdown – have commented how beautiful this piece is.”
Melinda’s background in fine art and photography naturally has encouraged her interest in building a collection of original artists and artworks. Her previous experience as both an art teacher and a curator gives her a keen eye for spotting talent. “When I moved into this bigger home this year, I decided to invest in some original paintings from Bluethumb artists to add to my already budding collection. I now own works by Ashley Bunting, Tania Chanter, Katie Sandison, Jess Racklyeft and Daniela Fowler.”
Melinda has been collecting original art since 2011. “I purchased some original paintings from a past student and since then I’ve inherited two very old pieces from my grandma, an etching of an old church and a watercolour landscape. They are hanging in my stairwell when you walk into the house. This year I got some momentum and inherited some money so I began to seriously purchase art from Bluethumb and other artists to build my collection and turn my house into a living art gallery.”
“One of my favourite things to do is rearrange my collection of artworks,” says Melinda. “I feel it breathes new life into spaces and my children notice the artworks again and become interested if they see them in different rooms and different light. I’ve always been attracted to semi-representational abstract artworks, landscapes and realism and own a few of each of these styles. I also like Aboriginal art and have just commissioned a piece for my formal lounge from Bluethumb artist Karen Lee Mungarrja. My next purchase is this commission and I can’t wait to add this colourful Aboriginal artwork to my collection.”
“My first Bluethumb artwork was called The big blue by Jess Racklyeft,” Melinda tells us. “I have been admiring her large abstract statement pieces for months, but until I moved into my house, I didn’t have anywhere large enough to hang one of her paintings. As soon as we purchased this property I bought The big blue, a semi-representational abstract work full of whimsical plant and seed-like creations, layered with blues, teals and stencilling. It is definitely my kids’ favourite piece and they comment ‘I can see leafs, I can see spiders, it is like a forest’. I have since followed Jess on socials and found out she is a childrens book illustrator, and this makes sense as her work is very appealing to children.”
When it comes to kicking off your own art collection, Melinda has one key piece of advice: purchase artworks that you love. “Some people purchase art because it’s a trend or a popular style but may not like it personally. I feel like if you’re going to have these pieces in your home and look at them everyday, you really need to love the painting and not ever get sick of it. I’d say theres not really much in common in the pieces I own; it’s an eclectic collection of abstract works, landscapes, and realistic pieces, but there is a feeling of home to all of them and I think this is what brings my home alive.”
“Collecting original art is like breathing life into your home,” Melinda adds. “I love supporting local Australian artists so my whole collection is by Australian artists. I also have many of my own landscape photographs and a few of my original artworks hanging up in my home, which I think complement my art collection as I am an artist myself. I plan to purchase at least another five artworks to complete my collection and currently have a 99-long list of favourites on Bluethumb.”
Looking to get started with your art collection, but not sure where to look? Head over to our blog on discovering your own art taste, or speak to our Art Advisory team for a helping hand on finding the perfect pieces for your home.