Melissa McKinnon: Artist

Melissa McKinnon is a Contemporary Canadian Landscape Artist living and painting in Calgary, AB.


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Honoured To Be An Inspiration: My Tree Paintings Interpreted By 8-9 Year Old Students Half-way Around the World In Canterbury, England

This morning I received the most beautiful letter that made my heart soar!

I’ve had classes research my work and use my paintings as inspiration for various projects in the past but I just had to share this one! The sheer volume of work, attention to detail and the depth of exploration and experimentation with materials is phenomenal – AND these artists are only 8 and 9 years old!!!

Aren’t these kids amazing!?!

I also want to acknowledge and thank Miss Apps for choosing my work as an inspiration. (It’s not every day that I get chosen over Monet and Picasso!) Her students are very lucky to have such a dedicated teacher who is passionate about the arts and who encourages her students to express themselves creatively. That is the greatest gift! Cheers to you, Miss Apps!

A mixed media piece.

A mixed media piece.

A letter from Miss Apps:

“My name is Roxanne Apps and I am a primary school teacher in Canterbury, Kent (England) and I teach a class of 30 8-9 year olds. For the last 2 weeks we have had what we call ‘Arts Week’ in our school, where each class is required to pick an artist and base all of their work around that one artist for 2 weeks. 

Most classes pick a classic artist such as Monet or Picasso but this year I decided to choose a contemporary artist for a change. I browsed the internet with my class for a creative contemporary artist with a set ‘theme’ that could inspire our work. We stumbled upon your website and instantly fell in love with your paintings (in fact I have become a bit obsessed!). We immediately decided to choose you as our inspiration.

We quickly set about gathering ideas for how we could recreate and interpret your work in our own individual ways. We made oil pastel pictures with black backgrounds and chalk birch trees, we made finger painted leaves with newspaper trees and we also wrote poems about how the colours of the trees make us feel or what they remind us of. There were many other things but it is too much to list! Our favourite piece of all was our joint class canvas. We used thick paints and glue sticks to create the leaves and used masking tape to create the outline of the trees before we scraped card dipped in black paint across to create the effect of the bark on the birch trees. Each child had a go at adding on the layers of leaves and we think you will agree that the finished result looks pretty amazing! 

At the end of the 2 weeks all the children and teachers worked hard to display our work in an exhibition in the school hall. Parents and members of the public were welcomed to come and peruse our artwork and also to buy some of it. The exhibition is still going and all of the money raised will go to a local charity that supports young adults with Downs Syndrome. 

Hundreds of people have turned up over the last few days to look at our beautiful exhibition and many commented on how lovely the work turned out. People were especially intrigued to hear about your work and commented on how stunning your paintings were! It was a nice change from all of the classic artists which surrounded us in the school exhibition. My class’ work sold like hot cakes and I believe this is because they were so passionate about your work that this was reflected in their beautiful pictures. 

I hope you are pleased to know that you have inspired little people who live thousands of miles away (and their teacher!) with your absolutely gorgeous paintings! The class are aware that I am writing to you and would love to hear a comment back from you if you have the time. 

I have copied and pasted some pictures of our hard work and also of the exhibition to show you what you have inspired us to create! 

I hope you enjoy looking through them!

Yours,

Roxanne Apps (Miss Apps)
Teacher and English Coordinator
Wincheap Primary School
Canterbury, Kent”

Aspen and birch tree paintings by 8 & 9 year old students in Canterbury, Kent, England

Aspen and birch tree paintings by 8 & 9 year old students in Canterbury, Kent, England

My Response Letter To the Class:

Dear Miss Apps and the very creative and hard working students of Wincheap Primary School,

Thank you so much for choosing my paintings to inspire you during Art Week.

I am SO proud of all you!

The paintings you created are so beautiful and creative. I love how you used different materials to create variations of your tree paintings, each one is unique and in your own style. I especially loved reading the poems that you wrote to accompany your paintings, beautifully done.

You must have worked very hard to create all of those works of art and I commend you for it! Above all, I hope that you had fun while doing it!

Making art is not about being born with talent, it is about being happy while you create. It’s about being dedicated and passionate about what you create. It’s about making art even if others (or yourself!) tell you it’s not worth it or it’s not good enough. Not everyone has to like what you create. Do what makes you happy and share it with the world, you never know who might see what you create and be inspired by it! 😉 (Like a class full of young artists from halfway around the world!)

Whatever you do, don’t stop creating!

I heard that your art exhibition was a huge success, congratulations! If you have any paintings left for sale, I would love to purchase one for my studio.

I also love that you are donating all of the proceeds to charity. I am a big believer in giving back to your community and I donate artwork to various charity fundraisers throughout the year. It’s a wonderful way to use your passion for art to help others.

Thank you again for sharing your beautiful artwork and poetry with me. I can’t tell you how happy it made me.

I wish all the best and please keep in touch. I’d love to see what you create next!

Creatively yours,

Melissa McKinnon

Aspen and birch tree paintings by 8 & 9 year old students in Canterbury, Kent, England inspired by Melissa McKinnon

Aspen and birch tree paintings by 8 & 9 year old students in Canterbury, Kent, England inspired by Melissa McKinnon

Poetry inspired by their tree paintings.

Poetry inspired by their tree paintings.

The inspiration…

The inspiration…

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Back In My Art Studio: A Fresh New Perspective and My First Completed Painting of 2014

I opened my painting studio for the first time yesterday, after being away from it for almost 2 months while traveling with my family through Chile, South America. I can’t tell you how exciting and invigorating it was to be back after what seemed like forever.

There is something about traveling – being away from everything that you know and which makes you feel comfortable and secure – that wakes you up and opens your eyes to the greater picture of what the world has to offer. My favourite thing about traveling is the perspective that I gain, not only from the new places I’m seeing and people I’m meeting, but also the ability to compare and reflect on my own life.

I can’t think of anything else that makes me feel so alive and passionate than traveling the world. I definitely had bittersweet feelings about coming home but the moment I stepped through the door of my studio I felt right at home.

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Work In Progress – Colourful Aspen Birch Tree Painting On Canvas

When I left this painting back at the beginning of December, I felt that it was close to being finished. I had planned to add a few more brights on the upper right and more colour and texture to the foreground but that was pretty much it.

Of course when I came back feeling so fresh and alive, I started painting with a new vision. I started adding these bright greens and vivid colours that reminded me of my time in South America.

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Close-up detail of tree trunks and leaves – New layers added

The painting took on a life of its own as I painted, mesmerized, all day and all night until it was finished. Here is the final product as of 2am.

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Painting – nearly finished

A title and proper photos coming soon! This painting is 24″ x 36″ and available for purchase.

*****

To see more of my paintings available for purchase, please visit my PAINTING GALLERY.

To learn more about the process of commissioning a painting with me, CLICK HERE or send me an EMAIL.

To be the first to hear about new paintings, works in progress and news from my studio, 

Sign Up For My EMAIL NEWSLETTER!

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SOLD! “A Night To Remember” Original Acrylic Aspen / Birch Tree Painting by Contemporary Canadian Artist Melissa McKinnon

SOLD!

This painting was purchased by a wonderful naturopathic doctor  to hang in her new clinic in Taylor, British Columbia! I’m so happy that my work will be seen and enjoyed by so many people while visiting her clinic. It will certainly add warmth and create an inviting, cozy atmosphere for all of her patients.

This painting has been a favourite of many and I’m sad to see it go. Although, I look forward to see it hanging in it’s new home in Taylor, BC.

“A Night To Remember” 48″ x 36″ Acrylic Aspen / Birch Tree Painting on Canvas

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“A Night To Remember” 48 x 36 Acrylic Painting on Canvas

This painting is featured in my NEW line of Greeting Cards. To order yours, CLICK HERE.

To see more of my paintings available for purchase, please visit my PAINTING GALLERY.

“When I started this painting, I set out to paint with a palette of reds, yellows, and white. However, when I saw that tube of copper paint from the corner of my eye, I just had to use it. From that moment on the entire look and feel of the painting changed and took on a life of its own. Because my paintings are so thick with texture, most of the metallic copper layer is hidden under layers and layers…and layers of paint, but in just the right places it peeks out and shimmers in the light giving this painting a stunning and truly unique look.”

To see  my other paintings that feature a subtle metallic sheen, view “Little Seeds” and “My Dream For You”.

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Portraits: Inspiration For A New Body Of Work From Contemporary Canadian Landscape Artist Melissa McKinnon

As I was editing images of my newest landscape painting, “Prairie Sky” to share on the blog, I came across this close-up detail image of the foreground and it sparked an “Aha!” moment.

Prairie Sky Original Acrylic Painting by Calgary Artist Melissa McKinnon

No longer did I see a close-up detail of a prairie landscape painting, I saw only color and texture. I saw broken pieces and fragments held together with thin colored marks, holding the pieces together like band-aids. I began to envision a series of portraits created in this style, built from all of the bits and pieces that come together to form a person; Physical traits; Life experiences; Thoughts and emotions. I love the symbolism in it. I have been thinking about this ever since.

I know I was born to be a painter because this is the kind of stuff that keeps me up at night.

Wouldn’t this be a beautiful palette for a portrait? Thoughts?

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How To Order a Custom Painting – Commission an Original Painting from Canadian Artist Melissa McKinnon

How To Order a Custom Painting

Have you ever wanted a painting created just for you, in the size that fits your home perfectly?
Do you like the style of my paintings and would like to have a painting similar but with the colors that suit your home décor?
Do you have a special memory or a photograph that you would like turned into an artistic work of art?

I am now accepting orders for new custom paintings in 2013.

Ordering a custom painting from Melissa McKinnon couldn’t be easier!

I will work with you throughout the entire process and guarantee your satisfaction completely. Best of all, there are no additional fees for this service! Pricing is based on the size of the painting and approximately how much time it will take to complete, just like all of my non-commissioned works of art. I am happy to work creatively with you and your budget to create a custom, one-of-a-kind painting just for you!

I am very easy to work with throughout the creative process, from helping you choose a size, color palette, and subject matter all the way through to delivering/shipping your finished painting with the utmost care.

I am happy to work with you to create the painting of your dreams! I can paint any subject matter, any size and work with any colors that you wish. I am also very open to suggestions and feedback from my art collectors – this is a two-way partnership. In turn, I will always be open and honest with you, offering my artistic point of view and drawing on my experience as a painter to help you to turn your vision into a beautiful work of art. Even if you don’t know exactly what you want I am happy to work with you to find your inspiration, be it a color, a mood, a feeling, or a cherished photograph that you may have. Together we can turn your inspiration into a beautiful painting that you will cherish forever.

3 Steps to Order Your Custom Painting

1. Decide on the size of your new painting:

Do you have a particular space where you’d like to hang your new painting? Does that space call for a horizontal or a vertical painting? I recommend using a measuring tape to determine the size of your space and then leave a minimum of 6”-1’ around all sides. This is a general rule of thumb and sometimes rules were made to be broken. If you have any questions or would like my input to help determine the size of painting that best suits your space, I am happy to help! There is no painting too big or too small.

Although pricing is mainly determined by the size of your painting, I am very flexible and I can work with any budget. Just send me a note with your ideal size and the budget that you are working with and we can go from there.

2. Find your inspiration for subject matter:

I am currently working on a series of Aspen / Birch trees but I love to paint ALL subjects including landscapes, people portraits, and abstracts.

Here are some ideas to get you started:

-Browse my gallery of current paintings for inspiration, pick and choose elements and colors that you like and we will work together to create a unique original just for you.

-Do you have a photograph, a memory, or a special place that you love to visit? I can use any of these things as inspiration for your custom painting. If you have ideas that you’d like to discuss, send me an email, I’m happy to combine different elements into one custom painting.

3. Approve your custom painting:

Once we have decided on a size, subject and color palette, I can start painting!

It can take anywhere from 4-6 weeks to create your custom painting. Once complete, I will send you a photograph of your finished painting for approval. At this point we can make any minor adjustments before your new painting is professionally packaged and shipped with the utmost care.

It’s that easy!

If this is something that you have ever dreamed of doing for yourself or as a gift for someone else, contact me HERE or call me directly 403-808-8825. I look forward to working with you to create the painting that you have always dreamed of!

Sincerely,

Melissa McKinnon

Email me at: melissamckinnonart@hotmail.com

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Aspen / Birch Tree Painting (Detail) by Calgary Artist Melissa McKinnon. Custom painting commissions available.

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My Paintings are on Pinterest! Are you a Pinterest Fanatic?

Find My Paintings on Pinterest!

Ok, I caved and created a Pinterest account. I can already see hours of my life drifting by as I search for all things beautiful and inspirational. I am on the Pinterest bandwagon!

I’ve added most of my paintings as pins to be shared on my board, Inspiration: Melissa McKinnon Artist. Please feel free to re-pin your favorites and help me share my artwork. Better yet, follow me on Pinterest as I will be adding new paintings as soon as they are finished as well as new painting “How To” tutorials!

http://pinterest.com/mmckinnonartist/inspiration-melissa-mckinnon-artist/

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My Paintings are on Pinterest!

What are your other favorite boards to follow? What do you like most about Pinterest (or dislike!)? Help me start building my personal boards by leaving me a comment in the box below.

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3 Things That Inspired “A Night To Remember” Original Acrylic Aspen / Birch Tree Painting

“A Night to Remember” is the newest painting in my Aspen / Birch tree series.

"A Night To Remember" 48 x 36 Original Acrylic Aspen / Birch Tree Painting on Canvas

“A Night To Remember” 48 x 36 Acrylic on Canvas

So much of my heart and soul goes into each and every painting that I create. Painting is a very personal process for me. There is a story behind each one. I draw inspiration from many sources and each one fuels my creativity in unique and sometimes surprising ways.

Nature

Obviously I am inspired by nature and I am in awe of the changing beauty of the Alberta and Canadian landscape. Trees in particular represent growth, change, and stability, qualities that I find intriguing and inspirational. Birch trees have always been my favorite ever since I was a little girl and I don’t think that I could ever tire of painting their nubbly, textured, peeling bark or their crisp, shimmering, colorful leaves. They are visually stunning.

My Art Collectors

I usually don’t show my paintings until they are completely finished usually because until that point I am still not quite sure if the painting will be a success or not. (Read about the 3 stages of my love affair with painting HERE)

Several weeks ago I had the pleasure of meeting a wonderful couple who were interested in collecting a piece of my work. While speaking with them about my painting process I offered to show them this painting while it was still a work in progress. Here it is unfinished:

Work In Progress "A Night To Remember" 48 x 36 Aspen / Birch Tree Acrylic Painting on Canvas

Work In Progress “A Night To Remember” 48 x 36 Acrylic Painting on Canvas

It was through talking with them and listening to their stories and feedback of my work, that I was inspired to incorporate more red and texture into the foreground. It just goes to show that inspiration can come from anywhere; you just have to be open to receiving it! I love to hear comments and feedback about my work, it helps to keep me motivated and inspired. So please, leave a comment below and tell me your thoughts.

Personal Experience

While painting, “A Night To Remember” I was inspired by memories and the process of remembering. How is it possible that I can’t remember what I ate for lunch last week yet when I hear a particular song, I can be instantly transported back in memory time and relive an entire night as if it were occurring once again? It fascinates me that two people can remember the same event in completely different ways. I also love how memories change with time, perhaps they fade and details get lost, or perhaps they grow and through fantasy,  details can become enhanced. Sometimes my memories cease to be true recollections of fact and slowly start to resemble fantasy more than reality. At what point does a memory become a fantasy? This painting represents a moment in my life somewhere between memory and fantasy.

This might all sound too deep and existential for a painting of a birch tree forest but alas, these are the thoughts that surface while I paint. Painting for me is my time to be creative, free, and dedicated to myself. It’s a time that I can escape the grind of daily life and think about anything that I want… anything other than preschool, play dates and what to make the kids for lunch. It is often therapeutic.  Nonetheless,  “A Night To Remember” is still a beautiful painting of an Autumn birch tree forest full of bold color and thick texture.

The memory that inspired it will always be my little secret 😉

Calgary artist, Calgary painter, original paintings, landscape paintings, tree paintings, aspen tree acrylic paintings, art, Calgary, Alberta, Canada, Canada Rocky Mountains, Banff, Canmore, Edmonton, Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal, Halifax, Winnepeg, Saskatoon, local artist, artist, professional painter, contemporary landscape painting, contemporary landscape artist, contemporary art, contemporary painting, aspen artist, Aspen paintings, Aspen art, Aspen tree forest painting, birch tree painting, birch tree paintings, Autumn Aspen trees, Aspen forest, birch tree forest, Aspen landscape, Aspen tree art, Aspen tree artist, Aspen tree paintings, Autumn Aspens, Autumn birches, Autumn leaves, Birches, birch tree art, birch tree paintings, fine art, Aspen trees, birch trees, thick texture, palette knife painting, red, gold, yellow, orange, brown, black, white, fall autumn colors, fall autumn leaves, modern art, abstract painting, paintings for sale, calgary art galleries, art gallery painting, tree paintings for sale, art prints for sale.