Trained as a graphic designer at Washington State University, but always an artist at heart, Melanie Thompson was inspired to paint the landscape after working three seasons as a wild land firefighter. Never having spent much time outdoors, Thompson worked weeks at a time with her crew, digging fire lines, monitoring fire behavior, hiking and sleeping under the stars. The stunning vistas and fierce beauty of the nature around her were deeply embedded in her soul.
The most important practice in Thompson’s artistic development has been extensive painting on location, or en plein air. Through direct observation she captures the effects of light and subtle colors that often are lost in photographs. Small studies are used to create larger, colorful and more compelling works in the studio. “In my mind a painting is not complete, whether created in the studio or on location, until it conveys both the appearance of a place and the feel of a specific moment...like the fragrance of sage, the smell of dust, the heat of the sun or the cooling shade of a passing cloud.”
Thompson has been exploring areas of the Northwest, painting iconic locations such as Hells Canyon and Dry Falls. “When confronted with the unique geology of these areas I am reminded of the overwhelming sense of awe I felt as a firefighter. When people see my work depicting these often overlooked landscapes, I would like them to taste the desert air, feel the sun on their skin, and appreciate the splendor of the wild places surrounding us.”
Melanie is a member of OPA, AIS and PAWA, and has been featured in publications in Plein Air Magazine, and SW Art Magazine. Since 2012, she has been invited and juried into numerous shows and events in: AZ; CO; WA; MT; CA; OH; UT; OR; TX; IN; FL; and AL since 2012. Thompson has received prestigious awards in a large number of those shows.
Represented By Galleries In: Kennewick, WA; Tacoma, WA; Joseph, OR; Prineville, OR