Mel Thompson Original Pastel Paintings

Artist Statement

I am passionate about the Midwest landscape. I love its colors, its textures, its shapes and its atmosphere. As an artist it is easy to simply record what you see. The challenge is to go beyond the literal landscape to capture and communicate the emotional response that place and time stirs deep within you.

I work exclusively in pastel. Pastel is pure pigment ground into a paste mixed with a small amount of binder and then formed into sticks. These pure pigments provide the rich and vivid colors characteristic of the medium. I use a wide variety of pastel sticks ranging in consistency from hard, to medium, to very soft; each producing a different effect. I work on a 200lb. pH-neutral stock which has a finely ground acid-free vegetable flake, hand applied to provide a slightly abrasive surface. This bonds the pigment to the surface and alleviates the need for fixatives, which are known to darken and dull the colors.

I travel extensively throughout the U.S. and Canadian Midwest painting on location when time and weather permits or back in my studio working from my sketches and photos.

I do all of my own matting and framing without aid of apprentices or assistants to ensure a high standard of quality and consistency. I use only acid and alkali-free materials in my framing making them totally archival and able to last without fading or deterioration.

I earned a B.F.A. degree in painting from Mundelein College. I am a Signature Member of the Pastel Society of America, the Great Lakes Pastel Society, and the Illinois Artisans Program. My work has been exhibited at many universities, public and private galleries in the Chicago area and I participate in many juried art exhibits and festivals throughout the Midwest each year. I have won many Awards of Excellence and Best of Show ribbons. My work is part of private collections across the U.S., Korea and Japan. On Chicago's North Side I am represented by the Leigh Gallery, and in Michigan I am represented by Tamarack Gallery in Omena.