Melissa McKinnon: Artist

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


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Work In Progress – Aspen and Birch Tree Painting Commission by Calgary Artist Melissa McKinnon

Here is a sneak peak at a new 36″ x 24″ commissioned painting in progress. The color palette is inspired by “A Beautiful Mess” from my Aspen /Birch Tree Series.

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Commissioned Painting In Progress

To see the current selection of paintings available for purchase, visit my PAINTING GALLERY.

To learn more about commissioning a painting with me, CLICK HERE.

To see more photos of paintings in progress and updates from my studio, connect with me on FACEBOOK.

http://www.facebook.com/melissamckinnonartist

 

 

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Work In Progress – Birch / Aspen Tree Painting by Alberta Landscape Artist Melissa McKinnon

Today’s work…

Since many of you were interested to see the progress of this painting, here is an update!

I worked on building up the layers of tree leaves; working small to large; cool to warm, unsaturated to saturated colour. Turquoise, aqua, through the green colour spectrum, and finally into a variety of yellows.

For me, adding the bright yellow tones is the most thrilling. Adding such light and bright colours completely changes the relationship of the colours within the painting. When creating defined circular shapes with such thick paint, there is no room for error. Each mark at this stage is permanent and can’t be painted over. Now that my lightest leaf value has been established, I will continue to work through the mid tones to bridge the gap between the darkest darks to the lightest lights, layering color and value to create depth and of course – more texture!

Now to let this layer of paint dry so I can continue adding more leaves on top tomorrow.

36″x24″ Currently Untitled

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This is how the painting looked before today’s session:

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Painting – In – Progress: The newest addition to my Aspen / Birch Tree Series. Commissioned Painting

To see more of my work in progress and updates from my studio, connect with me on Facebook.

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Work In Progress – Birch / Aspen Tree Painting by Alberta Artist Melissa McKinnon

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A sneak peak into my studio today…

This is a commissioned painting currently in progress. It is just over half way finished. The under painting and aspen tree trunks are complete. Now, I am working on building up the layers of leaves to create depth and luscious texture!

It will hopefully be finished by the end of the week. I have a Mama-To-Be eagerly awaiting this painting… And her baby girl – she’s due any day!

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I. Am. An Artist… When did I become an artist? A look inside my personal artist journal.

This evening, I came across a page of writing in my sketchbook from a not so long time ago and it made me stop and smile. I don’t normally share my personal thoughts or writings but this was a pivotal moment in my life and my career as an artist. I’ve copied it word for word and it is a cross between stream of consciousness, poetry and jibberish. Bare with me 😉

“This is it! I’ve been meaning to write this for a few weeks now, maybe a few months even, but time was flying faster than me. This keeps growing and now has become my reality, something tangible, proof that I am doing it. What is it exactly? My career. As an artist. A painter. I am a professional painter.

Stunned, jaw dropped, and internally about to explode. Giddy with excitement. Just the thought of it sends me reeling.

How did this happen?

Hard work? Perseverance, will to succeed, a stumble down the rabbit hole?

Luck? A series of seized opportunities… Perhaps a combination of all the above.

My point is, I am now a professional artist. At one time, this was a dream so big I thought it could never come true. I built it up so much that I became no longer part of the dream. So I moved on, I did other things.

I did remarkable things. I gave birth to my daughters. I created life!

Suddenly, other seemingly impossible things, like making art, started becoming possible. Now, here I am, painting daily and selling my work.”

Now I know, I have always been an artist, I just needed to stop telling myself that I shouldn’t be.

Every day I am thankful that I am able to paint freely, as an artist.

Calgary artist, Melissa McKinnon, Calgary paintings, landscape paintings, birch tree paintings, tree paintings, aspen tree paintings, Cloud Paintings, Sky Paintings, Alberta Landscape Painting, Prairie Landscape Painting, mountain paintings, Fine Art, Calgary, Alberta, Canada, Canadian Rocky Mountains, Banff, Canmore, Lake Louise, Edmonton, Vancouver, Toronto, Colorado, Montreal, Halifax, Ottawa, Regina, local artist, contemporary landscape painting, contemporary landscape artist, contemporary painting, tree forest painting, birch tree painting, Aspen tree paintings, Autumn,Color, Colorful Paintings,Colourful painting, big paintings, large paintings, fine art, red, poppies, red poppy flower painting, field of red poppy flowers painting, acrylic floral painting, paintings for sale, home decor trends, F2 Furnishings,  Calgary Furniture Store, art gallery, art exhibit, new paintings, art shows, Calgary Art Gallery, Edmonton Art Gallery, Contemporary Paintings, Modern Paintings, Contemporary Artwork.


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Work In Progress – Newest Aspen / Birch Tree Painting from Calgary Artist Melissa McKinnon

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Today I tried something new – getting up at 6am to paint! Usually I am a stay-up-all-night-painting type of girl, so this is a BIG change for me.

Here is a ‘work in progress’ photo of the newest painting in my Aspen /Birch Tree series. It is a horizontal variation similar to “Tonight I Dream In Color”. It is the perfect size for over a fire place, couch, or bed.

The tree trunks are almost finished and soon I will add the last several layers of leaves to add contrast to the bottom half of the painting.

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Original Acrylic Aspen / Birch Tree Forest Painting by Melissa McKinnon, bright, colorful painting, red, purple, green, turquoise, fall colors.


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You Must Run Before You Can Paint, My (Sort of) New Year’s Resolution as an Artist

You must run before you can… Paint!?

The life of an artist, wife and mother of two toddler girls is hectic to say the least. We live a very full life and we enjoy every minute that we get to spend with each other. But every precious moment that I have to myself, I paint. I have even resorted to bargaining with my husband for extra “time off” to paint.  Even though my passion and work ethic has made me very productive in the past few months, I find that I am leaving behind some key activities that I love and miss doing. I need to find time to fit these ignored activities back into my life, the most important one being exercise. Exercise (a.k.a. yoga, running and walking) is my way of relieving stress, getting energized and sometimes it’s the only quiet time in my day that I have to think and reflect.

Lately the temptation to paint (or blog, lol) has been winning out over my desire and obligation to exercise. The answer to my dilemma… I must run before I can paint! Before every painting session I have vowed to spend at least 30 minutes on the treadmill. I have set up my treadmill in my studio facing my workspace. This allows me to reflect on my previous days painting session and contemplate what I will create next. By the time I am done on the treadmill, I am focused, energized and ready to rock my time on the canvas! It’s my win-win solution.

Here are a couple of photos from my most recent running / painting sessions:

Original Acrylic Aspen / Birch Tree Forest Painting by Melissa McKinnon, bright, colorful painting, fall colors, tree drawing, sketch, trees.

Work In Progress – Initial sketch on canvas of my newest Aspen / Birch Tree Painting

Having time to study my previous days work has really helped me focus on where to go next with the painting.

Original Acrylic Aspen / Birch Tree Forest Painting by Melissa McKinnon, bright, colorful painting, red, purple, green, turquoise, fall colors.

Work In Progress – Aspen / Birch Tree Painting – The first several layers of the underpainting.

I’m curious to know from other artists and/or parent’s, how do you find balance between the things that you should do and the things that you LOVE to do? Leave me a comment below and tell me about it.

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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.