I was born in San Antonio, Texas where my father was a pilot stationed at Randolph Air Force Base. Growing up, we lived as far north as Baltimore, Maryland and as far west as Albuquerque, New Mexico as well as in Texas, Louisiana, and Alabama. We were also stationed in Germany. I’ve lived in Montgomery, Alabama for the last 40 years.
I’ve always loved art. My mother had report cards from kindergarten saying “Melissa finger paints well”. I took art classes in junior high and high school and majored in Visual Design in college at Auburn University. I spent 25 years producing magazines; as everything from production manager to art director to managing editor. I became a full-time fine artist in 1997 creating finely-detailed pen-and-ink drawings including commissions, teaching workshops and in artist-in-residence programs. Last year, 2015, was my first-time conducting a workshop for Artful Gathering.
Pen-and-ink is my favorite medium. I love working in black and white with values. Whether you draw or paint, in black and white or in color, values are what make a good work of art great. That’s why I enjoy teaching about values. When artists truly understand the value of values, they can really take off with their art.
Everything I know about working with pen-and-ink is self-taught by reading, looking at drawings and by doing the work. This is where the saying “practice makes perfect” really does apply. The more you do the better you get. (Which is basically true of anything you do.)
American Artist magazine printed an article in their November 2004 issue about my work. This was one of their drawing issues just before they started publishing their drawing magazine. I was featured in a 2012 issue of Alabama Magazine and my illustrated alphabet letter “E” was featured in the December 2015/January 2016 issue of Cottages and Bungalows magazine. My drawings have been featured in the following books: Montgomery & the River Region Sketchbook, 2005; Strokes of Genius 2: The Best of Drawing Light & Shadow, 2009; Strokes of Genius 6: The Best of Drawing Values—Lights & Darks, 2014; Art Takes Times Square, 2013; Drawing 365: Tips & Techniques (U.S.), 2015 and Drawing & Sketching Secrets (UK), 2015.
My work can be found in the collections of: the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts; Sharon Merle-Lieberman, VP of Marketing 20th Century Fox Television and Digital Media; Alabama Power Company; Faulkner University; South Trust Bank; The Southern Poverty Law Center; Retirement Systems of Alabama; Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital and numerous private collections. I’m represented by Stonehenge Gallery, Montgomery, AL; Little House Gallery, Birmingham, AL; and Portraits, Inc., Birmingham/New York City.