Where do we come from? What are we? Where are we going?

Born in Bermuda and lived there until seven years old. Whilst working in London as an 18 year old, Melissa attended St Martins School of Art part-time and attended part-time at Edinburgh College of Art whilst studying for her honours degree at Edinburgh University.

Melissa's early career was as a documentary film-maker for television. She was then commissioned to create large scale video projections in theatre and site specific settings for artists, dancers and actors. The life drawing continued throughout these years. As success grew for her paintings through group exhibitions, her time became more focussed around oil painting, further strengthened recently through explorations of the life form in clay.

Melissa loves light, water and life as matter. Seas, in all moods, skies, landscapes, light and the human body including portraiture provide subject matter to explore different emotions, energies, atmospheres and elements.

Oil paint allows for a richness and translucency and an ability to layer and move paint around keeping it fluid on the canvas. The approach is fairly loose and the method explorative, though a strong drawing background underlies it.  Rags are used to lift paint and move it around creating a freedom for things to emerge. Harder implements can sometimes be used to scrape away paint and to scratch into it.  Time can be used to allow some things to dry and harden whilst mediums can, at the other end of the spectrum, be added to the paint to create a more fluid, textural feel in other areas. A connection is made with the subject matter and therefore working from life or plein air can often prove most fruitful and incisive as the observation and connection is direct.

In the spirit of exploration, experiments are delighted in, for example, recently using oil paint on plaster. Other surfaces such as scrim, sand, paper, or canvas and fired clay are used. There has to be an element of embracing triumph and disaster, those two imposters, just the same! That way, one is free to go on and make discoveries.

Some of Melissa's sources of inspiration are the works of Turner, Rembrandt, Seago, Singer-Sergeant, the Scottish Colourists, Rothko, Janette Kerr, David Cobley, Ian Mckeever, Gehard Richter and artists from other mediums, Olafur Eliasson and James Turrell.

Recently Co-Organiser of TEDxBradfordonavon exploring creativity in arts and technolgy.


Public Art

Bradford on Avon Town Council and Tourist Office asked Melissa to paint Laurence to go outside the Tourist Information Centre in Bradford on Avon for the Lions of Bath event. Selected artists painted  lions throughout spring 2010 for their individual sponsors mostly in Bath but three in Bradford on Avon. The sponsors then put the lions on public show throughout the summer.  In the autumn the lions were auctioned raising substantial sums for charity. Laurence was outside the Tourist Information Centre in Bradford on Avon from May to September. He was enjoyed by locals and visitors from around the world.


Melissa drew her inspiration for Laurence (the name given by the Tourist Office) from the unique pair of carved angels in the saxon Church of St Laurence in Bradford on Avon.

Melissa is well known for her sky paintings so the angels were given a beautiful cobalt blue sky to live in. All the detailing is carefully based on Bradford on Avon's rich history, for example the roman mosaics found recently near St Laurence School are portrayed on Laurence's anklet and he sports a gold thigh band of Saxon design.


Group Shows

2010    Black Swan Open, Frome    By competitive selection
2010    Bath Society of Artists, Victoria Art Gallery, Bath    By competitive selection
2010    Frome Art Society, Black Swan Guild - Spring & Autumn shows
2010    Angel, Upton Scudamore with Jane Eaton
2010    Abbey House Gardens, Malmesbury - joint show 'Nature Blossoming in the Garden'  with Liz Watts, sculptor      www.lizwatts.co.uk   www.abbeyhousegardens.co.uk
2010     Art House Co-operative '6 Reasons to be Cheerful' in Bradford on Avon Arts Festival
2010    Art House Co-operative at the Ale and Porter, Bradford on Avon
2010    'Transcription' Show with Bath Artists Studio Sculpture Group

Awards in 2010
Appleyard Trophy Prize from Frome Art Society

2009     Art House Co-operative on Tour      Venues: Wells and Scribbling Horse, Bradford on Avon 
2009     Nature's Rich Weave     with Liz Watts   Abbey House Gardens, Malmesbury (home of the Naked Gardeners)
2009     Wylye Valley Art Trail    with Dolly Mixtures    Ginger Piggery, Boyton
2008      Selected for Bath Artists Society Open
2008      Art House Co-operative on Tour
2007      Art House Co-operative Gallery, Silver Street
2007      Wylye Valley Art Trail     Dolly Mixtures, Ginger Piggery
2006 & 2004  Somerset Arts Week   Churchmead Artists, Woolverton, Somerset

2005      Churchmead Artists (by invitation)
2004     Dolly Mixtures  'Exposed' The Brewery Barn, Norton St Philip, Somerset

2002 - 2010 one or two shows annually with the Frome Art Society, Black Swan Guild, Frome, Somerset
2001       Royal West of England Academy. Best of Contemporary Painting Open