Bio: Artist and native Texan, Melissa Stinson Ellis, specializes in oil paintings and pencil drawings. Her distinct use of color is apparent in all of her work, from large-scale contemporary abstract paintings to beautiful and unique nature pieces. Although her main focus is working with oil and pencil, Melissa also works in acrylic, charcoal, marker, wood, metal and pastels. Melissa is also passionate about photography. Whether it is a beautiful nature scene or a small detail that catches her eye, she uses her vibrant sense of style to bring the image to life, and often uses her photography as inspirations for her artwork.
Favorite Place in Dallas: Arboretum
AHD: Tell us about your current exhibit at Vino 100 in Dallas. Is this your first time to show there?
ME: This is my first show at Vino 100 and I have 25 original oil paintings hung throughout the space. I wanted to show a wide variety, so I have everything from small flower paintings to large colorful abstract works.
AHD: Your paintings are featured in the metroplex and across the state, both in galleries and private collections. Where and when did you get your start in painting, and how does it feel to have it come this far?
ME: I started painting when I was 21 as a hobby while I was studying art history at LSU. About 2 years ago, I was asked to do several large-scale works for an interior designer for Cityville at the Katy Trail and Gables Park 17 apartment complexes. It wasn’t until then that I realized I could actually sell my work. Then, things started taking off. I was able to quit my job as a legal assistant and now am a full-time artist. It almost seems unreal, but it is such an amazing feeling to know that I am living out my lifelong dream of being an artist.
AHD: How do you describe your painting style?
ME: I describe my painting style as modern and emotional. Although I mostly paint floral and abstract paintings, I am always trying new techniques and styles to make sure I am constantly evolving. I put my heart, soul, and emotions into each piece I create. Regardless of the size, each work has a story behind it. In turn, I hope that the color, movement, texture, form, etc. evokes some kind of emotion from the viewer as well.
AHD: The more abstract and less representative a painting, the more challenging it can sometimes be to understand. Is there a constant theme in all of your work, be it a vibrant color field or a delicate flower?
ME: Color is definitely the defining feature in all of my work and it is also my favorite. I am obsessed with color. Sometimes I am really drawn to a specific color like blue or yellow, but I always play around with finding the right color combination for each painting. I often paint a background or flower one color to see how it looks, and then as soon as it is dry, I paint right over it with a completely different color. I will repeat that process as many times as it takes until I get the exact look and feel I am going for.
AHD: In addition to painting, you’re passionate about photography. How does the art of capturing images via camera influence your painterly work on canvas? Are there any other arts you’re in to?
ME: I have always loved photography, but it wasn’t until I brought my DSLR with me to photograph my artwork, did I really understand the possibilities of photography. I often use my photographs as inspiration for my paintings: most of my floral paintings come from photos I took of flowers on my travels or even around my neighborhood. I also use unexpected color combinations in my abstract work that I find in my photography. I love to work with anything I can get my hands on, but I mainly draw, sculpt, do wood work and metal smith on a small scale, calligraphy and create jewelry.
AHD: How do you use your painting and other creative endeavors to better the lives of those around you?
ME: I donate several pieces every year to local charities and organizations I am involved with to help raise funds and better our community. This year I have donated to ManeGait Therapeutic Horsemanship, Alley’s House, CRAVE Dallas, Gallery at Midtown, and The Weekender Dallas. I have also donated my time and resources as a photographer for events.
AHD: As a Dallas native, what is your impression of the local
creative community, both in and beyond the painting scene?
ME: The creative scene in Dallas is growing like crazy! There is already such a huge network of artists, musicians, writers and talent in this town, but it is only going to get bigger. Dallas is a major city and it is important that we all continue to work as hard as possible to prove that Dallas can be as much of a creative hub as more well-known places, like LA or New York.
AHD: How can we connect with you online, learn about upcoming shows and pick up a painting?
ME: My work can be found online at www.ellisartgallery.com or you can ‘Like’ my page on Facebook. I post about upcoming shows, news and paintings on both. You can also email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to be added to my mailing list and/or to inquire about a painting or commission. I deliver anywhere in the metroplex and ship throughout the U.S. and internationally.