“The Spelunking Artist”

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The Spelunking Artist (Self Portrait) *Not For Sale* 8" x 10" Acrylic c. Melissa Stinson

The Spelunking Artist
(Self Portrait)
*Not For Sale*
8″ x 10″
Acrylic
c. Melissa Stinson

Yep, that’s me!  In 2008, for my 27th birthday, I decided that it was time to do something fun and adventurous… Something to take me away from the dreariness of the life I felt that I was living at that time. I decided to do my own little “Journey to the Center of the Earth”.  ;P  I invited a bunch of my friends to join me on this adventure but only 2 of them actually had the guts to crawl around in the dark, mucky, musty caves with me… So sad for them because we had THE TIME OF OUR LIVES!!!!  Talk about adventure!  This day is included on my list of the top 5 BEST experiences that I have ever had… Right up there with walking the Camino, traveling to Cambodia, and Caving on Vancouver Island with my BEST friend (Now hubby) which we did in 2009. This self-portrait, the first I have ever done, was taken from a picture that I took of myself in the Rat’s Nest Caves just outside of Canmore, Alberta, Canada, as I was waiting to repel many stories down into the Earth.  I was SO massively excited!! I have always loved this picture, and now I share it with you, or at least my own interpretation of it.  😉  I hope you like!  ❤

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“With Flowers in Her Hair”

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With Flowers in Her Hair *Commission* 11" x 14" Acrylic c. Melissa Stinson

With Flowers in Her Hair
*Commission*
11″ x 14″
Acrylic
c. Melissa Stinson

In 2012, when we moved back to my hometown of Brooks, we had the immense task of practically gutting our new house and doing a complete renovation of it.  Actually, we have lived here 2 years now and everything that needs to be done STILL hasn’t been completed… But that is beside the point.  😉  Anyway, our utterly fabulous friends gave us room and board for the first month or so of our time here in Brooks so that we would have time to at least make our new home live-able.  We were so honored and thankful for their help, I promised that at some point I would do some kind of art piece for them as a thank you.  Finally, this past Christmas, I sat down and designed this horse portrait for them.  This was a project made so completely from my heart that I can’t even express the amount of love that I put into it.  Their love of horses and the prairies, on which we live, is expressed in many forms, as is the Scottish/English background.  I loved doing the dog portrait commission so much, I figured that I may as well try my hand at something a bit more challenging.  I am a glutton for punishment I guess (hehe).  I did have some trouble working on the horse but in the end I couldn’t be happier with the outcome.  Here you will see a true labor of love.

“Puppy Love”

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"Puppy Love" 16" x 20" Acrylic on Canvas Copyright Melissa Stinson *SOLD*

“Puppy Love”
16″ x 20″
Acrylic on Canvas
Copyright Melissa Stinson
*SOLD*

Hi there everyone!  Since I have fallen behind on some of my posts, I am going to do a couple of *quickies* to catch up and then HOPEFULLY I will keep up as I have more things to talk about.  So here is a painting that I completed in December.  It was a commission for my husband’s boss who wanted to give his wife a portrait of her dog for Christmas.  I gather it went over very well and that she cried when she saw it.  I will tell you, that just tickles me pink, when someone loves their new piece of art that much!! Anyway, this painting was a definite challenge for me.  I had never really painted an animal before where it was the main focal point of the picture.  It made me quite nervous but in the end it was all worth it.  I loved the challenge and I equally love the outcome!  I hope you do too!  xo

Peacock Paradise

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"Peacock Paradise"  8" x 10"  Acrylic on Canvas  Copyright Melissa Stinson

“Peacock Paradise”
8″ x 10″
Acrylic on Canvas
Copyright Melissa Stinson

Oh… My… GOODNESS!  I can’t believe that my last post was in June… JUNE!?  Like, what planet have I been on since then?  Yikes! Well, I guess to be honest with you, after painting “Nature’s Guardian” I took a pretty long hiatus from painting.  That project absolutely RUINED my arm and my eyes… plus it was getting beautiful outside and I had things to do, like build a couple of decks and what-not.  So it was around mid-November when I finally got this little painting finished.  I love, love, LOVE this one SOOO much that I have started a HUGE painting in a very similar style so please check back in a couple of months, or years, to see that one!  Meanwhile, for your enjoyment, here is “Peacock Paradise”.  This painting was inspired by my mother’s deep love of anything peacock related.  🙂  It was such an absolute joy to paint and, once again, I was able to use some of my own photos from Thailand to give me inspiration!  I hope you enjoy!!!  xo  (Oh right, you say, she hasn’t posted ANYTHING for 7 months and this is all she is going to post!?  What’s up with that!?  Don’t worry my friends, I have 2 more paintings to post about but seeing as it is 3:30 in the morning where I live, you will have to wait until tomorrow.  😉  )

Nature’s Guardian

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Hello everyone!  It has certainly been awhile since I have been on my site with any updates!  Crazy how fast time goes by sometimes but it is also crazy how long some of my paintings take!  My latest creation, entitled “Nature’s Guardian” took me 2 months to complete and well over 200 hours of research, planning, and painting.  This one was a major labor of love, though as usual, it was fraught with many hours of frustration and headaches.  All worth it in the end however!

"Nature's Guardian" 16" x 20" Acrylic Copyright Melissa Stinson 2014 *SOLD*

“Nature’s Guardian”
16″ x 20″
Acrylic
Copyright Melissa Stinson 2014
*SOLD*

After taking this last week off, I took a good look at this baby again today and I am so happy with it, I have a hard time believing, sometimes, that I was the one who created it (or any of my paintings really).  It actually gave me goosebumps this morning when I decided to look at it again (when you spend as much time starting at a single canvas as I do sometimes, you really have to step back for a time so that it stops looking like individual pieces on a page and instead starts looking like a painting as a whole).

So, this painting was commissioned to me (My first commission in 2 years!!) by a dear friend of mine.  This person came to me one night in February and asked me if I had ever thought of doing a “Green Man” painting.  He had just finished staring at my jungle painting and love, love, loved it.  I actually laughed when he asked me since I had just recently been looking up Green Man images online with the thought of doing such a painting.  We decided to talk more about a possible project the next time we met.  Almost a month later I casually asked him if he was still interested in me doing a painting for him as I had been mulling the ideas around in my head and wanted to talk to him about them.  Sure enough he did! We had lunch, talked about what he might want in the painting and I was on my way.

The planning of the painting was pretty intense… I tried to draw in almost everything right away which made my eyes go crazy with all the detail.  I didn’t want to miss anything though so I fought through the discomfort not really thinking that more discomfort would be coming when it was actually time to fill it all in, Ha!  I did leave out a few small things until I had almost completed the actual painting, however, otherwise it would have been so full I would have given up before I had even put my brush to the canvas.  There were many days that I wanted to defenestrate this piece…. Mostly from pure frustration regarding the ongoing questions of “What is going in this space” or “Omg, I can’t believe I have to stare at this thing for another MILLION hours” or “Where did that colour of green paint go, no, not that one the other one…” or  “Which cat took my best brush THIS time”… Not to mention the constant fight to keep cat hairs out of my darn paint, lol.  I think my husband and mother probably wanted to leave the country a couple of times with me constantly pestering them about their opinions.  😛  Anyway, it is done now and in its new home.  I haven’t heard yet, how it is fairing, but from the look on my friend’s face when I delivered it to him last week, he seemed pretty darn happy and in awe of what I have done for him.  I am happy I could bring him such joy.  😀

So a quick breakdown of the painting:

Faery Star Detail of "Nature's Guardian"

Faery Star
Detail of “Nature’s Guardian”

This one has a bit of a pagan/Celtic feel to it starting (of course) with the Green Man (a small green portrait of my friend).  I have painted in 3 purple Faery stars, 3 bronze Triskele for personal growth and expansion, and 4 silver Celtic knot corners (this put a huge challenge before me as I don’t particularly like being put in a “box”… as you can see I put the corners in to frame the painting but as with nature, I chose to break the barriers and let everything grow wild around the knots giving the painting a sense of flowing off the canvas and continuing on for as far as the viewer would like to imagine).  As usual there is a sun in the painting, for without sun, there would be little to no life on our beautiful planet. I have some spaces signifying the molecular breakdown of life.  I had my friend pick 3 runes for himself and have placed these into the painting as well. There are 14 tiny ladybugs crawling around on the canvas (in some countries, ladybugs are good luck and everybody can use a bit of luck 😉 ).  I also love the magical feeling of the “wise old owl” and the life of the forest which is portrayed in the addition of the little frog and butterfly, as well as the spider webs (I didn’t put the spiders in but the feeling that there are other things living under the leaves and hidden in the undergrowth are *hopefully* signified by the webs).  By the time I was putting the finishing touches on I wanted to add more creatures… a caterpillar or two crossed my mind… but the painting was already so full that I decided to forgo these additions.  I wanted to make the painting feel like magic, FULL of life, and the immense beauty found in even the smallest areas of nature.  I hope this is what I have shown here and I hope that all of my viewers enjoy discovering what this painting has to offer!

Octopus’s Garden

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"Octopus's Garden" 16" x 20" Acrylic on Canvas Copyright Melissa Stinson

“Octopus’s Garden”
16″ x 20″
Acrylic on Canvas
Copyright Melissa Stinson

May I present to you my newest work entitled “Octopus’s Garden”.  This painting was a giant undertaking for me.  Though it is the same size as my last two paintings, this baby has a TON more work in it.  I had one heck of a time trying to decide what I wanted to put in this painting! Let me tell you, the number of hours spent researching, adding things, subtracting things, painting, re-painting, would likely astound you… Just thinking about it astounds even me…. I am really not a very patient person a lot of the time, either it is because I use up my patience on my paintings or I turn into a different person completely when working on them (More than likely a little from column A and a little from column B).  :P.  Instead of me explaining what you should be on the look out for in this painting, I invite you to stare at it for a few minutes… And by that I mean hours, or even days if you so desire.  Why did I do this painting?  Well, for my entire life I have been exposed to the music of The Beatles.  This painting, “Octopus’s Garden”, is my way of thanking the Fab Four for their contribution to the music world.  They have been an enormous inspiration to me in so many aspects of my life, helping me through some hard times and being a great soundtrack to some of my greatest times. Thus, I felt that it was time to honor them in my own style. If you look carefully, you may see 4 little snails in this painting, they are called John, Paul, George, and Ringo.  (Ok, I lied, I gave you four little things to look for 😉 ).  I hope you enjoy this piece and I hope that my family, friends, and animals who have had to bear with my constant chattering about it will now enjoy some peace and quite… At least before I get going on my next one… hehe!

“A Jungle Affair”

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"A Jungle Affair" 16" x 20" Acrylic on Stretched Canvas Copyright Melissa Stinson

“A Jungle Affair”
16″ x 20″
Acrylic on Stretched Canvas
Copyright Melissa Stinson

In February of 2004, I took a trip with my aunt to two fabulous countries, Thailand and Cambodia.  It was a trip of a lifetime, to say the least.  Before this trip, I had lived a short time in Germany on a student exchange and spent some time in a couple of places in the States, namely Las Vegas and Disneyland… Of course both Germany (other than the language barrier) and the States are relatively the same as Canada in a lot of respects so there really weren’t any problems with the whole culture shock thing.  Thailand and Cambodia, however, well now THAT was an adventure!  I was so excited to be going overseas to a completely different place and stepping out of my comfort zone.  Obviously, as one does, we did a fair amount of traveling in Thailand (and yes, also a three day jaunt over to Cambodia).  We spent the vast majority of our time between Bangkok and Chiang Mai, surrounded by lush jungles, Wats (Buddhist temples), and wildlife.  Taking in the sights of Sukhothai, Ayutthaya, Khao Yai National Park (Yes, I saw the waterfall that Leo DiCaprio jumped over in the movie “The Beach” and it was BEAUTIFUL).  We took numerous tuk tuk rides, enjoyed a couple of jungle treks (both daytime and nighttime), took a million (and by that I mean a couple of thousand) pictures, and did A LOT of shopping (how can one resist the fantastic array of colours and items that one would only find in expensive specialty stores here in Canada? I mean, come on!).  This trip opened my eyes to the glorious world that surrounds us and made me appreciate life, in all forms, so much more than I previously had.  This painting, which took me 150+ hours to complete, is my first (this may turn into a series, we’ll see 😉 ) attempt to honor such an important time in my life and to also honor an absolutely stunning country, Thailand.  Most of the pieces in this painting come from my own photographs. I saw so much lush greenery, many twisty vines, and tree trunks.  I saw elephants both captive *SAD* and wild.  Flowers everywhere, fabulous blue skies, and, of course, A LOT of sun… It… was… HOT.  There was so much more that I just couldn’t jam into this painting, hence my wanting to do another one, or two, or ten paintings about this trip.  I was afraid that if I added too much more, my canvas would literally tell me to get a life and then defenestrate itself…. I made it as insane as I felt was healthy.  I played around with a lot of names, “Thai Jungle Explosion”, “Welcome to the Jungle”, “Jungle Fever”… But finally settled on “A Jungle Affair”.  The secretive meeting of two elephants, moving towards a loving embrace.  My mom and husband both thought that the lines in the painting seemed quite sensual… I guess I can see that.  I will leave it to you to decide how you feel about it all.  In the mean time, may this painting bring you utter joy and inspiration in whatever you may be doing today.  Xo Happy Trails.

“Quoth the Raven”

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"Quoth the Raven" 16" x 20" Acrylic Gesso on Stretched Canvas (c) Melissa Stinson

“Quoth the Raven”
16″ x 20″
Acrylic Gesso on Stretched Canvas
(c) Melissa Stinson SOLD

About 2 years ago I started working on a new black and white painting.  One that I didn’t have a clue as to why I was doing it, other than the fact that the monochromatic piece (Abyss of Time) that I had completed a few years before  looked pretty cool so, hey, I guess I should do another, larger, one… Right?  Boy was I ever wrong in that decision.  As many of you have seen I LOVE colour!  Like, I live and breathe colour.  It rejuvenates me, makes me happy, makes my paintings soar, etc, etc.  Although I enjoyed the new painting at first, it quickly became tiresome… I had no direction, I realized that I was only doing it because I thought that I SHOULD rather than thinking that I really wanted to.  It actually started causing me great angst at one point so, like many artists do when faced with a particularly difficult piece, I decided to put it to rest. Unfinished… Unloved… I put it on a shelf and ignored it for well over a year (except for the one or 2 times I pulled it out and stared, no… glared, at it for a few minutes and then promptly returned it to its shelf).  Last week I was ready to finally say, forget it, this piece is NEVER going to amount to anything and it just keeps taking up space on my shelves, space that I really haven’t got a lot of… Time for it to go.  I had a knife in hand ready to tear the canvas from the wooden frame when I had a HUGE and brilliant light bulb go off above my head.  Something stopped me and made me look at the painting one last time and I finally realized, why not take one of the most well-known and eerie pieces of literature, and incorporate it into the picture?  I immediately placed my canvas on the table,

Edgar Allan Poe

Edgar Allan Poe
Photo Courtesy of Poe Museum

found “The Raven” by Edgar Allan Poe, re-read it, and knew that I actually COULD have a direction for this painting that nearly hit the trash can only minutes before.  THRILLED with the new idea, I set to work and Friday night, after a week of planning and painting and planning and painting some more, I completed my new painting entitled “Quoth the Raven”, dedicated to the brilliant works of Poe.  Strangely enough, I found out ON THE SAME DAY that I completed this painting, that it is, in fact, Poe’s Birthdate today.  I don’t know what happened to me a week ago but it seems awfully coincidental that I decided to do a painting in honor of Poe and have it completed just days before his birthday… Maybe he is still floating around the ethers somewhere and just happened upon me at the exact right moment to act as my muse.  Whatever may have happened, this is one of my most favorite pieces to date… I am so, so, SO proud to have broken through the barriers that surrounded me in regards to this piece of work.  It was a toughie, maybe one of the hardest paintings I have ever struggled through.  To me it was worth it.  I hope all of you in the land of blog and Facebook enjoy what I have for you today.  This day of the birth of one of history’s most brilliant, disturbed, and intriguing poets and authors. One Edgar Allan Poe. ❤

Family Tree

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A couple of weeks ago my nephew got married and being a “starving artist” I really couldn’t afford a wedding gift.  😛  So, instead of buying something, I painted a “Family Tree” in honour of the new family they have created.  The picture doesn’t really do it justice but none-the-less, here it is:

Family Tree 8" x 12" Mixed Media Melissa Stinson

Family Tree
8″ x 12″
Mixed Media
Melissa Stinson

10 Quotes to Inspire Your Art

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This is a lovely compilation of quotes that I think all artists should print off and keep beside their work space… It is hard sometimes to remember that what we do has a small impact on other people. We do this for ourselves, we do this for our inner child, our souls, if you will. Sometimes we do it for the muses (I am sure many artists from many walks of life have wondered where certain ideas came from, I know I do). Do art for the love of art and your “Self”. ❤ Have a great day!

Epic Theology

I want to start off this week with some quotes that I’ve found to inspire your art. No matter what your discipline is, spend some time this week making art. Make good art, make bad art, just make it with all you’ve got.

I haven’t been able to confirm that all of the quotes are attributed to the correct people, but the research so far seems pretty good. I hope you enjoy!

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“None can sense more deeply than you artists, ingenious creators of beauty that you are, something of the pathos with which God at the dawn of creation looked upon the work of his hands.”
Pope John Paul II, Letter to Artists

“Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art…It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things which gives value to survival.”
C. S. Lewis, The Four Loves

“Don’t think about making…

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