A letter to my collectors about my layered life and dreams in colour.
Welcome! I’m Melissa McKinnon, a contemporary landscape artist with a signature style that celebrates colour, texture, and movement with layers of rich, vibrant paint.
Inspired by my Canadian roots and grounded in my natural-born creativity, I paint the trees, skies, mountains, oceans and florals that bring joy to my world, and beauty to the walls of collectors worldwide.
For as long as I can remember, ‘painter’
has been part of my identity.
I love it, for I know from experience that it’s the mess that makes the masterpiece.
In addition to being a full-time artist, I’m a wife, mother to two beautiful, wildly creative girls, and proud foster mom.
I’ve learned to embrace all of these roles and titles that make up my own layered life…and the fact that I’ll always carry splashes of color in my hair and on my hands.
You could say that my own childhood was pretty messy before it became this beautiful. Looking back, I know that art was my first refuge as an independent kid learning how to survive with a mom who worked to make ends meet for our little family of two.
Art was a way for me to make sense of the world. It allowed me to create beauty in the dark, find quiet in the chaos, and develop the sense of optimism that has carried me to where I am today.
When my grandmother gave me my first set of oil paints at the age of 9,
it felt like my life changed and my world opened up.
I was painting for the first time; more than painting, I was dreaming in color like I never had been allowed to dream before. I made an old storage closet my sanctuary and watched Bob Ross on public television, approaching his canvas with a patience and joy that I soon adopted for myself. Day after day, I became a young apprentice to a craft, eager to focus on the beautiful corners of the world instead of the struggles and pessimism that made up my own.
My earliest experiences with art gifted me a place for expression, and I loved the feeling of freedom that expression gave me so much that I made it my profession. Even now, in a messy world constantly in crisis, I stand before my canvas with the same unrelenting optimism that pulled me out of the deepest, darkest parts of my life, with an artist’s sense of duty to show others what I’ve always known ~
That all of life becomes art when you choose to see the beauty in it.
After the birth of my first daughter, my eyes became even more attuned to beauty like never before.
Light was suddenly brighter, color was shockingly vivid, and I began to dream in vibrant swaths of paint.
My creativity was calling my name once again, so I created the first painting in my aspen and birch tree series titled, ‘Tonight I Dream in Color’, evocative of the very first paints that my Grandma had gifted me as a little girl. It was both a full-circle moment in my life and a pivotal achievement for my career, as my passion for painting grew from a dedicated lifetime hobby into a thriving profession.
This painting, ‘Tonight I Dream in Color’, defined my unique style, and I saw firsthand that my love and joy of painting was transferred to the joy on viewers’ faces as they took in what once only lived in my imagination. In that moment, art became so much more than my own expression – it became my life’s highest purpose to create the same beauty I once searched for through the art I could make with my vision and own two hands.
These days, I’m proud to say that I’m living the life I once dreamt of, having manifested my own vision and staying true to color ~ my first love.
I get to pursue my passions every single day, like working from my private home studio, raising a family, and traveling the world gathering inspiration as I explore. Having come from a childhood where travel wasn’t an option, I embrace every opportunity to see paintings in person, touch the crumbling facades of historic buildings in Venice, take in the vibrant colours of temples in Thailand, and experience the sweet, brightly coloured spices at Moroccan markets, all with my family by my side.
Everywhere I go, I gather inspiration and find something to fall in love with; whether it’s a sunset, a breathtaking vista, or a dense forest, those who see my paintings often see themselves in the same scene, instantly transported to a time in their life or a memory in their heart that brings them joy and happiness.
When you look at my artwork, you’ll see the visual evolution of the many journeys I’ve taken, the places I’ve been, and the joy that naturally pours out of my soul and becomes translated through paint.
Stand back and take in all the trees, mountains and oceans, or step forward and put your nose to the canvas to immerse yourself in the dozens of individual strokes that support each other in telling a larger story.
I like to think that my paintings give people the same sacred permission to dream in color that art gave me so many years ago, in pieces that serve as reminders on walls and in homes, in workspaces and in schools that beauty is ours for the taking if we’re brave enough to train our eye to it, moments are fleeting, freedom belongs to everyone, and moments that linger can last a lifetime if we choose to make them the centerpiece of our lives
Thank you for visiting, for supporting my dream, and for dreaming in color with me.
Yours in creativity,
Come see the beauty of the world through my eyes…
Melissa McKinnon is an internationally coveted contemporary landscape artist based in Calgary, Alberta. Working primarily with vivid acrylic paints to create layered landscapes rich in texture and color, Melissa’s artwork is abstract and expressive – a dreamlike nod to nature inspired by her Canadian roots and grounded in her natural-born creativity.
A deeply intuitive process from first stroke to last, Melissa mixes each color by hand to create the ideal hue, applying texture, movement, and dimension to each canvas. The result is a layered landscape of paint, sometimes up to an inch thick, designed to be traversed with the eyes and traveled with the fingers. Her painting series – often of trees, skies, mountains, oceans, and florals – are collected by art enthusiasts worldwide, bringing life to the walls they grace by inviting audiences to notice the tiny details that make up the space between nature and dreams.
A graduate of the Alberta College of Art and Design (Bachelor of Design), Melissa has been a lifelong artist revered for her vibrant signature style that collectors all over the world vie for. Her paintings can be found in private and corporate collections worldwide.
As a painter, philanthropist, educator, and entrepreneur, Melissa donates proceeds from her fine art Prints With Purpose to helping children in foster care. In addition to her local volunteerism and mentorship throughout Calgary, Melissa is passionate about seeing the purpose in her artwork and the potential it has to improve lives. She regularly partners with organizations she feels called to support – particularly those that support women and children – and gives back through regular donations, time, supplies, and more.
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