Posts Tagged ‘Martha’s Vineyard’

The Making of a melissaAnne Water Colors Image

When I tell people that my photos are from the bottoms of boats it often results in funny looks and the following:  “THAT’S a bottom…of a BOAT?  How do you do that?”  If you are  part of my network of amazingly supportive friends, you fully understand the looks and the questions because you’ve shared my work and you’ve experienced the same reactions. Let’s face it, it’s weird.  It’s not quite “normal”.  Most people don’t spend their vacations in amazing places like St Maarten or Martha’s Vineyard climbing through weeds in boat yards taking photos.  They don’t drag their friends out to “bond” amid the dirt and cobwebs of boat “graveyards” and graffiti laden walls.  But, if you are among the few who have joined me in one of these adventures…well, you get it.  Sorta….

For the rest of you,  I’m about to give you some insight into those popular questions, “THAT’s a bottom…of a BOAT?”  and “How do you do that?” using one of my favorite melissaAnne Colors Water Colors images.

 December 29, 2008

I was in Texas visiting family for the holidays.  December 29th, my mom’s birthday and how did we celebrate it?  Driving aimlessly around Lake Lewisville searching for boat yards of course (yes, my mom is a saint).  I was still new to the melissaAnne Colors Water Colors process, this only the second time I’d gone on a boat yard mission.  We drove around most of the day, with me crawling around “the yards” looking for just the right boat, colors, angles, textures, patterns.  It’s about ALL of that!  We stopped at one marina with power boats and sailboats and I snapped away and wandered around for a while.  In the back, among the tall grass and weeds I discovered this. 

The bottom of a boat.....

This, in my world, is a goldmine!  I know, weird.  Those questions marks are floating over your head.  “This is a goldmine?” you’re saying.   Just wait…..

From this dirty old boat came this colorful but somewhat dull image.

© Melissa McClain

With a little photo software magic I brightened the colors (most Water Colors images are the original colors, simply enhanced) and got this.

©Melissa McClain

But it wasn’t done.  One of the things I love most about the melissaAnne Colors Collection is the versatility.  There was one more thing to do, rotate.  Before I finalize an image, I rotate it left, right, 180 degrees to find a story that speaks to me.  At 180 degrees, this one was done.  


© Melissa McClain

I immediately saw a shoe.  A red shoe.  A red HIGH HEEL shoe.  It said “woman”, “power”, “celebration”, and “confidence”.  I pictured an elegant evening of dancing in red high heel shoes. 

That’s where I stopped and it became Water Colors Elegance, a popular print among strong women!

Although, I didn’t truly stop there…see what else that boat gave us.

©Melissa McClain

 Water Colors Red No. 10

©Melissa McClain

  Water Colors Hope


THAT’s a bottom…of a BOAT?  Yes. 

 Final Water Colors  images shown above are available for purchase at melissaAnne Colors   

Moments of Inspiration

I attended Apartment Therapy Offline Meetup this week!  The guest speaker was rug and textile designer Madeline Weinrib.  Her designs are unique and beautiful.  I found her story truly inspiring and a reminder that it’s OK to be different, stay true to your vision, and follow your passion and you will realize your dream.  Thank you Madeline and Apartment Therapy!  You can also see Madeline’s designs at one of MY favorite places, ABC Home in NYC.  

 Listen to the Color of your Dreams. ~John Lennon  

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I’ve been sitting here for over an hour trying to write “something for the blog”.  Putting pressure on myself to say something really inspiring, or meaningful, or moving.  Attempting to craft a message out of the last 3 weeks of my life.  Three weeks full of big change.  

Slow down.  What you’re chasing may be trying to catch you.  ~Noah benShea

I read old emails and reviewed quotes, trying to recreate the weeks.  It didn’t work.  I had no clue what to write.  I was about to give up and walk away, until one of my “angels” appeared with a message.  A reminder.  It seems simple, the basis of the last 3 weeks, but we all know it is sometimes one of the most complicated things in life.  Belief.   

“You add something to the mix called life that only you can add.  Honor that.  Honor you.”  ~Angela Bear

I believed in myself, in that “something” I can add to life.  I honored my gift and I took a stand for me and my passion.  It started three weeks ago on a Sunday night when I somewhat randomly changed my Facebook profile and became a “photographer” instead of an “emerging photographer”.  It ended on Friday when I left my full-time job to focus on my photography and designs.      

I stepped beyond my comfort zone.     

I don’t mind telling you that part of me is really scared.  But, I don’t regret the decision.  Not for a minute.   

It takes a lot of courage to release the familiar and seemingly secure, to embrace the new…for in movement there is life, and in change there is power. ~Alan Cohen

Before I knew it, a new kind of Monday morning arrived.  What should one do when they make a major life change like this?  Hide under the covers?  Crawl into a corner and cry?  Buy lots of lottery tickets?   

No WAY!   

I accepted support from friends who reached out and who believe in me.
I went to a trade show, met new people, and was completely inspired by artists and designers!
I took trips to Boston and Martha’s Vineyard with friends…and my camera.
I went to two Women On Fire Tea Parties and felt the passion, inspiration, and support of amazing women who validated my dream and my decision.
OK…yes…I bought a few lottery tickets…hey, you never know.
And, maybe a FEW times I hid under the covers. But, I didn’t stay long. It’s too hot to stay covered up and there are too many colors and photo ops in the world to hide away for long.   

One can choose to go back toward safety or forward toward growth.  Growth must be chosen again and again; fear must be overcome again & again.  ~A.Maslow

So, what’s next?  Keep working the plan.  Take every opportunity that comes my way.  Learn to say “yes”.  A lot!  Learn to say “help”.  Surround myself with positive, supportive, inspiring people who believe in me and encourage my dreams.  Give others the same support and inspiration I’m receiving and share in the joys of their passions and dreams.  Keep gratitude in my heart.  Keep believing in myself.  Be kind and take care of me (I think these last two are the most important lessons I can learn now).   

I am living life.  I am maintaining focus on my goal and my dream and I am not going it alone.  I am following the path that makes me happy.  I won the most important lottery, I am living into the life I want and discovering who I am.  

Have you made a big change or are you thinking about one?  Do you need support?  I’m here.  I believe in you.   

I was once afraid of people saying “Who does she think she is?” Now I have the courage to stand and say, “This is who I am.” ~Oprah Winfrey

I am a photographer.  My Facebook profile says so, therefore it must be true.  

Maybe I should share a few photos?  That would make sense right?  I am a photographer.  

Here are a few of my favorites from Boston and Martha’s Vineyard.    

Studio Colors - Boston - Sean Boyce Studio ©Melissa McClain

Menemsha Sunset - Martha's Vineyard ©Melissa McClain

Owen Park Sunrise - Martha's Vineyard ©Melissa McClain

“There are angels all around you, and there is great care and love in this world for you.” ~Anonymous

I want to send out special thanks to my “angels”.  All of you have had an impact in validating and supporting my dreams and my passion.  Thank you for believing in me!  I am forever grateful and I hope that I can pay forward the love and care that I have received from you.   

Moments of Inspiration

Color…Color…Color!  I love color!  I was so inspired by my recent trips to Boston and Martha’s Vineyard.  The colors in the city and the colors on the Vineyard energized me.  Special thanks to Sean Boyce for letting me “run free” in his studio and capture the amazing colors and textures of his passion, painting.  I was so excited to visit Alison Shaw’s gallery while on Martha’s Vineyard.  She is an amazing photographer who captures colors and shapes in magical ways.   

I received an amazing gift of inspirational t-shirts from Devotion Clothing Co. I’ve worn them all weekend and can feel the words and inspiration. Check them out and put your inspiration on!   

Listen to the Color of your Dreams. ~John Lennon

Oh…I almost forgot…In the middle of all THAT, I ordered and received my first melissaAnne silk pillow samples!  That is a WHOLE other post for ANOTHER day.  Hey, I gotta create a little drama here…afterall, there’s not much going on in my life these days…   

Come Color With Me!


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I spent last weekend in Naples, Florida. I packed my swimsuit, short sleeves, and flip-flops and headed south. The weather was balmy, a big change from the Winter weather back home in NYC.    

© Melissa McClain - A restful day at Barefoot Beach....barefoot and feeling free and inspired!

© Melissa McClain - Barefoot Beach Friend

© Melissa McClain - Ding Darling Delights

 It was a vacation from the cold, and a whole lot more. It was my second Group Vision Day with executive coaches Debbie Phillips and Rob Berkley. I met Debbie almost a year ago when I attended my first Women on Fire Tea Party in NYC. Within minutes I was struck by how genuine and warm she was and over the last year my respect and admiration for her has grown as I’ve seen the work she does to support women and their dreams. I met her business partner and husband Rob Berkley in September when I attended my first Group Vision Day Martha’s Vineyard. (Check out my posts about my first vision day and Martha’s Vineyard!  I LOVE me some MV!!)  I was just as impressed with the kindness and compassion Rob gives to all around him.  Together these two are on a mission and are doing an amazing job to make their difference in the world.  The last 5 months of my life are proof of that.  I couldn’t be more thankful for their guidance and support in the pursuit of my dream!      

© Melissa McClain - Rob took us all on a sunset photo shoot after Group Vision Day. This is one of my favorite shots. I felt as golden as the surf.

© Melissa McClain - Delnor Wiggins State Park

© Melissa McClain - Delnor Wiggins State Park

I went into my first Group Vision Day in September feeling lost and uncertain about where my life was going.  I was struggling against a transition I wanted in my heart but was resisting in my head.  I felt like I had lost direction and my self-confidence was completely shot!  Fast forward to the end of that first Group Vision Day and I was connected to my soul and purpose like I had never felt before!  By the end of December I had accomplished one of my 3 major goals (a solo art show) and was well on my way to another (launching melissaAnne textile products). I was motivated. I was energized. I had the support and inspiration left by Debbie, Rob and the other Group Vision Day participants as well as my support network to carry me through.   

I decided to attend a second Group Vision Day this month.  That vision I crafted in Martha’s Vineyard, the certainty and desire that still burns inside, wanted more.  I was ready for new goals and bold new steps.  But could this Vision Day deliver in the same way?   

© Melissa McClain - The Sky's the Limit: Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary

You bet!! It was another amazing experience, yet different from the first one because I was different. I’d spent 5 months working on my vision and taking action almost every day towards my dream.  I had grown as a person and had a new outlook and new priorities.  I believed this was a chance to take my vision to a new level.  And, it delivered!  On the second day, the vision moved beyond me and I shared my complete vision for melissaAnne for the first time.   I was ready.  It was exhilarating!  It feels even more real now that the amazing group of people in that room allowed me to fully share my dream.    They became part of this journey and I couldn’t have asked for a more inspiring and compassionate group to be a part of.  Each of them had a big impact on my Vision weekend and on me.

So what is the vision?  I’m so glad you asked!   

My vision centers around melissaAnne , a home decor line from my abstract photography.  A line that will begin with custom textiles made into colorful pillows.  melissaAnne will share the energy of color and the inspiration of creativity with others.  But there’s more.  Much more.  There is an important purpose behind melissaAnne, one that goes beyond my creations.  One that inspires and empowers.  I was really inspired in December by an article on Kate Spade’s relationship with the organization Women for Women International.  I hope to some day work with organizations like this to help make a difference in the lives of women, families, and communities through production of the melissaAnne line.  I want the people who help to create and share my dream of melissaAnne to be supported and encouraged to grow and expand, empowered to take care of their families and give back to their communities, and encouraged to create their own dreams and follow them.     


A post-vision day melissaAnne Photography Urban Colors Collection photo day in DUMBO Brooklyn for new pillow design inspiration   

© Melissa McClain

© Melissa McClain

© Melissa McClain


It’s a perfect vision, for me.  I get to do what I love; take pictures and share them with the world.  Build new relationships.  Empower and inspire.  Make a difference in the world.   

It’s a big vision.  It’s a big dream.  I plan to have a big life.  And, I won’t give up.  I can’t give up.  You see it’s not just about me any more.  It’s about the people I’ve met along the way and those still to come.  It’s about the difference I want to make in the lives of others.  It’s about a purpose.   



If I give up I’ll never know whose life I might change.  Or whose life might change mine.    

I’m grateful for this opportunity.  But before I get too far beyond my Group Vision Day weekend, I’m taking another big step.  A process in this journey to my vision and to the life I have planned.  Something I need to do to be the best me I can be and live the biggest life I can lead; a life with no fear and no regrets.  I’m giving thanks to someone I haven’t shown gratitude to in a long time.  Deep appreciation for the gifts I’ve been given:  A passion for photography.  A passion for a simple boat.  For the language that is created when my camera and a boat intersect.  The flutter it leaves in my heart and an opportunity to carry that passion forward and do something good in this world.    


melissaAnne Photography Water Colors Collection Boat Photography   

© Melissa McClain

© Melissa McClain

© Melissa McClain


A passion I recently discovered came from my father.  Thank you for giving me a gift that connects me to the world, allows me to build special relationships and touch others, and ultimately makes me who I am.   


Who I Am (Photo by Rob Berkley)


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It’s been really cold in New York City this weekend!  Leaving me mostly tucked inside my house counting the hours until my trip to Southwest Florida this week.  Hurry Wednesday, hurry!!!  

Tired of the cold, snow, and wintery weather?  I sure am!  Let’s warm up with some Water Color and Urban Color images!     

Grab your sunscreen, sit down with a fruity drink (put an umbrella in it even!), stretch a beach towel across your chair, and let’s get warm along the shore!  

© Melissa McClain

 Sit on the beach and watch the waves crash along the shoreline.   

© Melissa McClain

Go out sailing on a beautiful summer day.  

© Melissa McClain

 Play in the warm, refreshing water and look back at the golden sand beach……

© Melissa McClain

melissaAnne Water Colors Digital Collage “Lexi’s Day At the Beach”

as the kids enjoy playing in the fresh air.

© Melissa McClain

  Water Colors Ferry To Martha’s Vineyard has the right idea!  Take a vacation to one of my favorite places!    

© Melissa McClain

 Windsurf as the breeze blows through your hair.  

© Melissa McClain

Read a book and relax by the lake.  


Are you warm yet?  I’m getting there!  Let’s go enjoy the great outdoors, no messy sand in our shoes, and take a drive. 


© Melissa McClain

 Pass fields of golden hops on a warm Spring day.   

© Melissa McClain

Walk through fields of lilacs and enjoy their scent on the breeze.  

© Melissa McClain

Stop at the zoo and see the peacocks spreading their tail feathers in a rainbow of colors.

© Melissa McClain

Enjoy the return of colorful flowers like these delicate lillies.  

© Melissa McClain

     Watch the birds as they soar above.  

© Melissa McClain

Enjoy the mountains as the snow melts from their peaks.  

© Melissa McClain

Stop by the farmer’s market and pick up some strawberries picked fresh this morning.   

© Melissa McClain

Find a peaceful meadow…..  

© Melissa McClain

 melissaAnne Water Colors Digital Collage “Izzy’s Picnic”

 and stop for an afternoon picnic with the kids.  Don’t forget the cupcakes!!


Return home warm and relaxed after a full day.

© Melissa McClain

 Sit on the back porch… 

© Melissa McClain

 melissaAnne Water Colors Digital Collage “Cami In the Garden”

as your daughter tends to her garden. 

© Melissa McClain

Go for a run after the sun sets, because it’s too hot during the day! 


It will get warm again, really it will!  Until then, feel free to check back in here and dream about all the fun things you’ll do on that first really warm, nice day.  Let us know your plans.  Maybe we’ll join you!  



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Have you ever felt like you found something you didn’t know was lost? Connected with a part of you that you didn’t know existed? In looking back, that’s what this year has been for me: A year of discovery and growth of a dream and a purpose.


I Live Life Differently Now: I Don’t Let the Voice in My Head Defeat My Dream 

Orange: Determination ~ Pink: Gratitude © Melissa McClain

In 2009 I discovered my passion, fully embraced it, and I’m trying to live it in some way every day. Photography, design, and textiles have brought me great joy and great determination. I succeeded in accomplishing two of the major goals I created during my Group Vision Day in Martha’s Vineyard; I made my first melissaAnne Design pillow samples and I had my first solo art exhibit! I am so grateful to everyone who has supported me, inspired me, and helped me through the discovery phase! You are all a part of melissaAnne and I can’t wait to see where the new year takes all of us! 


 2010: Living Life In Full Color 

Moving into the New Year, I’ve been reflecting on my dream and trying to learn some new things about myself. What makes me happy and drives me? Where did my love for photography come from? What is my purpose? Where am I going? What do I want my life to be in 2010? What am I willing to do to get there? 

I found some of the answers. I’m still working on others. What I do know is that I am determined to work hard, live life fully, and keep working until my dreams come true. I’m living my life in FULL Color! melissaAnne Color!! 

 My Thoughts End in Pictures, I Believe in the Power of Color 
I’ve never kept a New Year’s Resolution. Most of us haven’t. I’m not making any this year. What I am doing is setting goals and creating plans to achieve them (Thank you Vision Day). I also identified three key words to guide me in 2010 (Thank you Chris Brogan). I’ll be keeping images like these around to help inspire my key words through color.    


Gold ~ Prosperity © Melissa McClain

Green ~ Abundance © Melissa McClain



Pink ~ Love © Melissa McClain


Red ~ Passion, Romance, Love © Melissa McClain


Blue ~ Freedom, New Beginnings © Melissa McClain


Purple ~ Indpendence © Melissa McClain

Where Are You Headed in 2010? 

What are your goals for 2010? What are the key words you want to define your year? What do you want a little more of? Here are some images you might want to have around. 

Orange ~ Energy, Enthusiasm, Balance © Melissa McClain

Turquoise ~ Clarity, Healing © Melissa McClain

Orange ~ Creativity, Happiness, Enthusiasm Yellow ~ Optimism, Hope, Friendship © Melissa McClain

I Hope Your Dreams Come True This Year!

Happy New Year to all of you. Thank you for allowing me to share my dream and my pictures with you and for following my journey.  I can’t wait to see what experiences and opportunities this year (and lots of hard work) will bring.  Leave a comment and let me know what you are up to this year and what your three key words are.  I’d love to hear! 


Get some color power behind your goals for 2010.  See more images and colors at melissaAnne Photography and Design




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I had never been to Martha’s Vineyard before my Vision weekend in September. I didn’t really know much about it actually so it wasn’t on my list of “places to go.” After 5 days on this island off the coast of Massachusetts, well, all that has changed! I shed a few tears as I departed this amazing place and I’ve been dreaming of my time there and longing to return!  Maybe it was the Vision Day experience and an amazing opportunity to discover my inner self and solidify my passion for art.  Maybe it was the amazing people I met while I was there.  Maybe it was the beauty that surrounded me.  Or maybe, just maybe, Martha’s Vineyard is a magical place that is somehow connected to my soul.

Come with me and my camera as we strengthen our friendship and passion for all things colorful, unique, and beautiful.

Discovering the Golden Hour and Reinforcing the Vision

My first official photography day started at 6 a.m. outside the Harbor View Hotel in Edgartown where I met the amazing local photographer and executive coach Rob Berkley to shoot the sunrise. Not being a morning person, shooting the sunrise is not something I’m familiar with. Well, I’m hooked! What an amazing experience! As the sun came up over the Edgartown Lighthouse the whole world around me seemed to glow in exuberance. 

Sunrise Over Edgartown Lighthouse

Sunrise Over Edgartown Lighthouse

Golden Hour on the Beach

Golden Hour on the Beach

It was as if I was standing in the pages of a fairy tale, and I didn’t want the story to end.  Each capture with my camera seemed to increase my passion and excitement.  Hearing the shutter sounds coming from the camera at times gave me chills. It was an incredible moment I will not soon forget and it reminded me in a very special way of the gift of each new day.

Fishing Poles Against Sunrise Reflection

Fishing Poles Against Sunrise Reflection

Waiting Their Turn

Waiting Their Turn

I don’t know that I’ve ever been so at peace with myself and with the world around me. Inside I knew, I truly knew, that this is who I am and what I do. This is the language of my soul and a gift that I’ve been given. If I close my eyes now I can still connect with my feelings that morning; peaceful and inspired by the passion I felt holding my camera and trying to capture the beauty around me.

My Soul Speaks

My Soul Speaks

Edgartown, Oh Edgartown!

I love this place!  It stole my heart with its beautiful architecture, the sturdy presence and watchful eye of the lighthouse, and the boats softly swaying in the water.  Edgartown may just be the heart of the Martha’s Vineyard magic.


Edgartown's Magical Glow

Edgartown's Magical Glow



Morning Dew on Seagrass in Edgartown

Morning Dew on Seagrass in Edgartown


melissaAnne Water Colors Collection – Martha’s Vineyard

After a few hours capturing the sunrise, I was taken to a place where I could discover new treasures for the melissaAnne Photography Water Colors Collection.  An ordinary place for most, but for me a place where new melissaAnne Water Colors could be discovered and my creativity could come alive. When I arrived, my heart skipped a beat. All around me were boats. Yes, a simple boat yard is the canvas for my work. As I approached each boat a relationship was built. They spoke to me through shapes, patterns, and colors. I crawled under, I reached high, I squeezed through. I was looking for the perfect shot, the perfect image, a story to tell with my lens!  It came as no surprise to me that Martha’s Vineyard, magical as it is, gave me many wonderful Water Colors images that day.

Take a look at a few of my favorites. What do you see in your favorite Water Colors image? What story does it tell you?




Water Colors MV4

Beauty and art are all around us, sometimes in places and things we don't expect.


A Peaceful Power

After shooting in the boat yards I set off to see if there were more magical moments to be had on Martha’s Vineyard. Next stop: Aquinnah.

Aquinnah, on this sunny day, was majestic! The flat shoreline I’d seen on the rest of the island gave way to beautiful cliffs and rolling sand dunes. I started my visit off with a drive along the shore with fields of vegetation, rich greens mixed with reds and yellows, reaching out to the dunes and the crashing waves beyond.

Pond In Aquinnah

Pond In Aquinnah

Dunes and Surf

Dunes and Surf

I stopped at the lookout point at Gay Head Cliffs and as I reached the top of the hill I was welcomed by the towering cliffs and the Gay Head Lighthouse. I stood on the platform with the wind swirling around me and was mesmerized by the sea grass as it danced along the cliffs and the waves broke on the shore, the lighthouse maintaining its protective watch behind me. The power of the wind, the waves, the cliffs and lighthouse made me feel small in size, yet bolstered by their strength. I felt like I could do anything I wanted, be anything I wanted. It was peaceful, exhilarating, and inspiring.

Gay Head Cliffs

Gay Head Cliffs


Gay Head Lighthouse

Gay Head Lighthouse

Local Artists and Food

While strolling down the main shopping street in Vineyard Haven one evening, I stopped by Peter Simon’s Gallery.  Peter is an amazing photographer and his wife, Ronni, makes beautiful jewelry.  Of course I couldn’t leave Martha’s Vineyard without my traditional “vacation jewelry” purchase.  Not only were Peter and Ronni friendly and welcoming as I browsed the store, but Peter complimented the melissaAnne Water Colors bag I was carrying! Jonathan Adler, “we’re” getting noticed!!

Another favorite local artist is Alison Shaw (I have been indulging in her website quite frequently).  I fell in love with one of her photographs that hung on the wall at the Mansion House in Vineyard Haven. During Vision Day breaks, I would sit and stare at it longingly. The shapes, colors, and textures called out to me and made me long for my camera (not to mention a very large suitcase to carry the framed print home in!). Unfortunately her gallery was closed when I stopped by so I didn’t get to visit or meet her.  Next time!

After expressing my love for Edgartown Debbie Phillips, founder of Women on Fire, suggested lunch at Espresso Love. My selection, a delightfully tasty Macaroni and Cheese with Prosciutto. Martha’s Vineyard AND Mac and Cheese?!? Really, I’m not sure why the boxes are not packed yet and the moving truck scheduled!

melissaAnne Water Colors Espresso would be a nice addition to their wall!

melissaAnne Water Colors Espresso would work nicely at Espresso Love

Saying Goodbye

Leaving Martha’s Vineyard was sad, yet exciting. I knew my memories of this place would be with me forever and I was returning home with a new sense of self and a full awareness of my true passion. I was leaving this place I once hadn’t known much about or ever planned on visiting. And now, well, Martha’s Vineyard is a part of me.

It’s my magical place where my soul soars and my passion burns.


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