Doing something over and over again until it makes sense.

Art is much like karate. Bruce Lee once said:

“I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times.”

The mastery of skill — concept, technique, execution — in art is also about repetition. It is the working through of a concept or technique over and over again until it makes sense or better yet, until it can be pushed no further. It’s a relentless process.

Over the last week, I’ve been using my markers to create very graphic abstract patterns made mostly of patterns of single…


When you’re so high, you can’t do a damn thing.

A few days before traveling for the holidays, my partner and I attended the wedding of a friend. At this age, thirty-something, it appears that you only really connect with friends at these life-changing moments…weddings, funerals, christenings. It had been quite some time since we had hung out with that set of friends.

One of them is an excellent baker of laced edibles and gifted us some to inspire our holiday cheer. A rum cake laced with weed, if you’re thinking that sounds like quite the combo, you are correct. I think we both underestimated the power of the gift…


Of places and spaces I once knew intimately.

I like to sketch urban dwellings. I’m a city girl. I grew up in Brooklyn, NY and became an adult in Washington D.C. I’m enamored with high rises and concrete. I’m a first generation American born and bred on colorful ethnic spaces. I like the mismatched elegance of British colonial citizens defined by the broughtupcy of fresh Christmas curtains — even if purchased at the five dollar store — and Afro-Indo fusion food and spices. I love the smells and sounds of East Flatbush in Brooklyn. …


A bad-ass exhibition that never really happened.

The Liberation of Aunt Jemima| 11 3/4" x 8" x 2 3/4"| mixed media assemblage| Betye Saar| 1972 Image source: https://www.skowheganart.org/blog/2015/10/14/03-betye-saar

When I was younger, I had a lot of elders around me that had their own hopes and dreams for me. People who thought I was a talented writer, a potential art historian or critic, a curator. The problem was that their visions and my visions did not quite align.

I love writing. I love writing about art. I love history, learning, dissecting — especially art. I even love curating and discovering new art and artists. I write still. I am starting to write about art again. I write about history, often. I have curated and loved it — I…


One of those days where you just feel disjointed.

Discombobulated| Pen & Ink Drawing| 5.83 × 8.27 in| Melissa A. Matthews (Author) — Photo and art by author

I’m waaaaay behind on my daily drawing posts. Mainly because I’m way behind on my daily drawing. I took Sunday and Monday off to reconnect with my partner. I left any remnants of work at home. My drawing supplies were abandoned on the nightstand — where they currently sit as I type.

I suppose I haven’t quite moved back into the full swing of things. When we returned from a very relaxing two days, inclement weather forced me to keep my mini-human home for the day. Rather than a normal or even, semi-normal workday, yesterday was an experiment in homeschooling…


A meditation through pointillism, daily drawing post #3

Untitled| Pen and Ink Drawing on Paper| By the Author, Melissa A. Matthews (Diary of An Extra Black Art Chick)

After missing my post for yesterday, I was determined to make sure that I sat and drew last night to have one ready for today, November 14, 2019.

And that’s exactly what I did. Except, it was different. Usually, my drawings are made of line patterns and shapes. Last night, however, I decided to get back to a technique that I haven’t used since I was a junior in high school, pointillism.

I used to spend hours covering huge surfaces in thousands of dots. I didn’t know then but discovered now, that it has a meditative quality. I love the…


Exploring shades of green in my new marker set! Daily drawing post #2

Untitled, Original Art by the Author Melissa A. Matthews (Diary of A Mad Black Art Chick)

On November 12, 2019, I started this drawing after completing my first daily drawing set for the month. I was enamored with purple and the idea of it with green. I intended to finish it in the wee hours of the 13th and post it right away.

Although I was wide awake and writing at 3 a.m. on the day in question, I failed to pick up my markers and finish the piece. …


Examining themes of Obeah and Spirituality within and through Romare Bearden’s art.

The Green Man| Watercolor on Paper |30 1⁄2 × 20 5⁄8 inches| Romare Bearden| 1984 image source: https://www.msfineart.com/artworks/the-green-man-from-the-rituals-of-the-obeah-series/

As I continue to explore the art and artists that made me fall deeper in love with art, I find myself reaching back. I found the basis for this piece buried in my email. It was a final paper for an art history course, fourteen years ago. I’ve gone through it and edited it, strengthened some bits and bobs but for the most part, it remains a love letter to one of my all-time favorite artists, Romare Bearden, and his decades long exploration of spirituality.

Obeah wedding bells don’t chime
And you can’t trap me
With necromancy […]

Carrying me…

Diary of An Extra Black Art Chick

Artist and writer, chronicling the Black art and artists that made me love art as a way to find my way back to it.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store