Small paintings from the Inland Northwest and beyond    |  H o m e    |   W e b s i t e

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Road with a View - Alaskan Landscape Painting

Road with a View - 6x6 - Oil on Panel


Yet another work from my Google Maps Alaskan Adventure, what a beautiful state! I get the feeling if I ever drove through Alaska in real life, I may never leave.

A note to my collectors:

I will be unable to ship paintings that are won from August 2-5. I'll be on the road painting, and hopefully will be able to post new paintings, but shipping won't be possible. Those auctions completed before the 2nd or after the 5th will be shipped on time!

Monday, July 30, 2012

Yakima River Blooms - Northwest Flower Painting

Yakima River Blooms - 6x6 - Oil on Gessoboard 


So rabbitbrush may not quite be what most consider wildflowers, but around here we take what we can get in the middle of summer. Florals are way out of my comfort zone, but I'm very happy with how these turned out!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Yakima River Bend - Eastern Washington Landscape Painting

Yakima River Bend - 6x6 - Oil on Panel - Landscape

Click to Purchase

I had the best Saturday imaginable. I made a quick drive up to Cle Elum to pick up my paintings from the High Country Artist's Fresh Air Festival Exhibit to find that one painting had sold to a couple from Washington DC, and I had the opportunity to meet them! An artist doesn't often get the opportunity to meet the buyer from a show, so I feel very lucky. 

So I drove home with two of the three paintings, and took the scenic route. While driving through the winding Yakima River corridor I stopped and painted a few 6x6 plein air paintings that turned out really well! Great day over all. 

Friday, July 27, 2012

Snoqualmie Clouds - I-90 Pacific Northwest Painting by Melanie Thompson

Snoqualmie Clouds - 6x6 - Landscape - Oil on Panel


While not nearly as scenic as the North Cascades Highway, I-90 over Snoqualmie Pass has a very distinct beauty of it's own. The clouds seem to always be hanging low and misty, only giving hints at how high the mountains may be.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Light over Lake Diablo - Pacific Northwest Landscape Painting

Light over Lake Diablo - 6x6 - Oil on panel


This was done from a photo I took on our trip over the North Cascades. Greens are such a challenge for any artist, it's a very nuanced color! But I think I'm working with a distinct disadvantage, being from the cheat grass filled side of the state! =) Again, I cannot say enough how important it is that EVERYONE drive this highway at some point in their life. It was simply mindbogglingly beautiful!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Edmonds Plein Air II

Edmonds Plein Air II - 6x6 - Landscape


Can I toot my horn here? I love this painting. We got into Edmonds late in the day, but the mountains were out and the light was beautiful! I was looking forward to an afternoon of plein air painting. Unfortunately, thanks to all the running around we did to check in, stop by the host gallery, wander around the downtown, I was left with backlit, flat mountains and the rapidly changing light of evening.

All this was forgotten the next day, when the late morning light and some big puffy clouds left shadow patterns across Puget Sound that blew my mind! The colors were soft but powerful, and I did my best to capture that here.

Here's a little snapshot of me and where I set up in Edmonds!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Edmond's Plein Air I

Edmond's Plein Air I - 6x6 - Oil on Panel


And I thought I loved the clouds passing through the Columbia Basin! The fast moving coastal clouds hanging around the Olympic Mountains across Puget Sound were a challenge to capture, but an enjoyable one. The shadows in the Seattle area were interesting, they are a much deeper, cooler blue than I'm used to painting.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Storm's a Brewin' - Eastern Washington Landscape Painting by Melanie Thompon

Storm's a Brewin' - Oil on Panel - Landscape - 6x6


This is yet another small plein air work that was painted out of absolute necessity. I saw the clouds building in the east and I really had no choice but to do my best to capture them!

All these thunderstorms have been reminding me of being a kid at my parents house. I remember going out onto our deck in pounding rain to watch the lightening pass by, I always was amazed by it. I'm sure this fascination puts me at a disadvantage with regards to natural selection, oh well!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Passing Through - Eastern Washington Landscape Painting

Passing Through • 6x6 • Oil on Canvas • Landscape 


It's been a summer of thunderstorms here in the Pacific Northwest. It seems like not a week has gone by for the past two months without bringing in it's share of piled up clouds and booming thunder. Those of you who have been to shooting ranges (yeah, this is eastern WA) without ear plugs have an idea as to how loud the thunder has been over my home. While driving through Columbia Park in Kennewick I was struck by an amazing cloud formation that was building over Rattlesnake Mountain and knew I had to paint it!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Golden Valley - Landscape Painting by Melanie Thompson

Golden Valley • 6x6 • oil on Panel


I think I have found the secret to painting a good landscape: Be watching "Into The Wild" at the same time. Not sure if that will work everytime, but it sure did for this little gem! The burning desire to get out of the house must have given the landscape a little extra sparkle.

There won't be a new painting tomorrow, I'll be in Edmonds, WA (who am I fooling? I'm from the east side, it's all Seattle to me) painting en plein air for Plein Air Edmonds with Gallery North. So exciting! I'm looking forward to some fresh new scenery, hopefully some of my studies will turn out well and pop up here!

I am hoping to take some pictures of my three paintings that are hanging in the Carpenter House Museum in Cle Elum for the High Country Artist's Fresh Air Festival. They will be hanging only for a week, so if you are interested be sure to pay them a visit! The museum is located in a renovated hundred plus year old home, it is absolutely stunning. Even if you can't visit this week, swing by next time you're going through Cle Elum; it's well worth the time!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Afternoon Pond - Eastern Washington Landscape Painting

Afternoon Pond • Oil on Panel • 6x6 • Plein Air Landscape


One of the best things about being an artist in the Tri-Cities is the diverse landscapes. Although there is a lot of arid land around us, we're located at the confluence of the Snake, Columbia and Yakima Rivers. The result is a beautiful weaving of wetland and sagebrush that I find endlessly interesting to explore in paintings! This painting was completed on location not far from a major highway, just  plug your ears and you could be in a different world!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Sauk Prairie Bison - Pacific Northwest Art

Sauk Prairie Bison - 6x6 - Oil on Panel


This is my favorite plein air from my weekend in Cle Elum, WA. I've never been drawn to painting animals, but  as my husband and I were driving around looking for things to paint I just couldn't resist! I was so surprised to see  a herd of buffalo in the middle of Washington!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Hazy Peaks - Cle Elum Plein Air Painting

Hazy Peaks - 6x6 - Landscape - Oil on Panel


Despite how calm this painting looks, this was painted as a thunderstorm grazed by with crazy wind and lightening! Unfortunately a little bit of dust got blown into the paint, as you can see if you zoom in; I thought it adds a little bit to the plein air street cred!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Quiet Day in the Teanaway - Pacific Northwest Landscape Painting

Quiet Day in the Teanaway - Oil on Panel - 6x6


Don't worry, I've still been painting! I was able to recharge my creative juices while staying in Cle Elum, Washington. It's a small town on the east side of I-90 with sunshine and clean mountain air. When I first stepped out of the car, the smell of the air almost had me ready to move there! I'm putting it on my ever growing list of places to build a cabin some day.

I was in Cle Elum to participate in the High Country Artist's Fresh Air Paint Out, though I'll be missing most of the events taking place through this week I'm so glad I was able to spend the weekend there. Three larger paintings will be displayed in the Carpenter House Museum this next week, the reception is Friday from 6pm-8pm.

I had so much fun painting en plein air, more works will be uploaded soon!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Clouds Over the Blues - Landscape Oil Painting by Melanie Thompson

Clouds Over the Blues - Landscape - 6x6 - Oil on Panel


I've almost always painted clouds as white. But lately I've been noticing that even if they look white to my eye outside, if I paint them pure white, or even the palest yellow, it doesn't seem to convey the sunlight of that moment quite right. So I've been trying new ways of coloring clouds, and I'm enjoying the results!

I captured the reference photo used for this painting on a hike near the Godman Guard Station in the Blue Mountains of south-east Washington State. I was so excited to go, and so obsessed with what plein air gear I would pack, that I forgot to grab my hiking boots! So it was a hike in my Sanuk flip flops made from yoga mats; thankfully the air was warm and the sandals comfy. They did pretty well!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Around the Bend - Plein air oil painting

River Bend - 8x10 - Landscape - Oil on Canvas Board
A simple, quiet day along the Columbia River in the Tri-Cities. Rattlesnake Mountain is a continuous presence here, so it makes an appearance in many of my plein air works! Thankfully the interesting contours are constantly presenting new challenges to capture.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Hogback Hillside - Oregon Landscape Oil Painting

Hogback Hillside - 6x6 - Oil on Panel - Landscape


There is a road heading south toward the Steen Mountains of south eastern Oregon that I was exploring through Google Maps street view called Hogback Road. It runs along a sharp ridgeline, going on my very basic geology knowledge it looks like the ridge is some of the northernmost part of the Basin and Range area. Lots of sagebrush, and it seemed fitting since the temperature here in the Tri-Cities has been close to or over 100 degrees for several days. Maybe I should try painting some rain clouds!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Reaching for the Sky - Alaskan Landscape Painting

Reaching for the Sky - Oil on Panel - 6x6 - Landscape

I was entranced by this mountain range along an Alaskan highway, and the billowing clouds were just too fluffy and beautiful for me to resist painting them!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Ironside Mountain - Oregon Oil Painting Landscape

Ironside Mountain - Landscape - 6x6 - Oil on Panel

This little mountain, hidden away in the remote desert nothingness of eastern Oregon, was the location of a wildfire that thankfully my crew did not have to hike to in 2007. The crew my husband was on, however, was not so lucky! I found the spot on Google Maps and thought it would be fun to "revisit" the area.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Road to the Grande Ronde

Road to the Grande Ronde - Oil on Panel - 6x6
This Google Street View tour was conducted a little closer to home. The Grand Ronde River has the craziest loop-de-loop path as it cuts through the Blue Mountains, and there is an amazing road that starts high at the top of a ridgeline and winds down, down, down into the Grande Ronde Valley. The switchbacks made me dizzy, even through the screen!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Alaskan Roadside - Small Landscape Painting - Oil on Panel

Alaskan Roadside - Oil - 6x6 - Landscape


 What would you give for this to be along your daily commute? I caught this view through Google Maps Street View while "driving" through Alaska, and was blown away! Don't get me wrong, here in Washington we have some great views, but WOW! If you have a minute or two (or an hour) you should consider spending some time in Street View in Alaska. I'm about ready to book my plain ticket!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Wallula Sunshine - Eastern Washington Landscape Painting

Wallula Sunshine - Oil on Panel - 6x6 - Landscape
At the far eastern end of the Columbia River Gorge, really so far east that no one considers it the Gorge any more, is a unique geologic area called Wallula Gap. Basically ancient rivers cut a little gap in the high basalt ridges that run through eastern Washington. Glacial floods were bottle necked at the gap, about 800 square kilometers were entering the Pasco Basin per day, and less than 1/5 could flow out. The raging waters made some really awesome rock formations, if you're in the area it's a great place to visit!

This painting was completed en plein air, or on location, after a big thunderstorm passed through the area. Let me tell you, if you've never tried to capture a raging, fast moving thunderstorm in person it's a wonderful exercise in futility. But though none of the storm paintings turned out I did get some decent photographs, and the puffy, light clouds that followed were a very pleasant model.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Thompson River View II - Canadian Landscape Painting by Melanie Thompson

Thompson River View II - Oil on Panel - 6x6 - Landscape


Here's the Thompson River again, from a slightly different perspective. Again, the clouds just cast these amazing shadows, it was really fun to capture the lighting.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Thompson River View I - Fine Art Oil Landscape by Melanie Thompson

Thompson River View I - 6x6 - Oil on Panel - Landscape
When on my virtual tour through Canada I came across the Thompson River, and knew I had to paint it. Not only was the river named Thompson, but the clouds were casting the most amazing shadows on the distant hills. It was so nice, I painted it twice, the next one will be up tomorrow!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Holding the Line - Wildfire Landscape Oil Painting

Holding the Line - 6x6 - Oil on Panel 


Night ops. If you're lucky, you're handed a drip torch, which essentially is a watering can that pours flames, and begin fighting fire with fire. If you're not as lucky you'll get to spend the next several hours doing your best to not watch the active flame front, instead looking the opposite direction to make sure no floating embers light spot fires behind you. It's a dirty job, but someone has to hold the line.