A new spin on painting the outdoors

A New Jersey artist with a love of the Adirondacks is putting a fresh spin on landscape art with her own brand of bright and colorful mixed media, on display at the Lake Placid Library through March 9.

Melissa Johnson Hood grew up in Point Pleasant, N.J., but her family owns a second home in Long Lake. Growing up, Hood drew inspiration from places like Buttermilk Falls, which was the first location she recreated in her art.

“We used to go there a lot when I was a kid,” Hood said. “I just started drawing it and I just knew I didn’t want to make it look so traditional.”

Hood’s artwork looks different due to the unique method she uses to bring photographs to life.

“Everything that I do is based off of pictures I take up there,” said Hood, who now lives and teaches in Brick, N.J. and makes the five-and-a-half-hour drive to the area at least once a month. “I use the photos, but I go off on a tangent.”

She then uses pencil to draw the basic shapes in her art and she fills in the spaces with acrylic paint and Posca Paint Markers, which give a bright, vibrant look to the traditionally earth-colored images. Hood began using the markers in her work after she was given a pack by an artist who used them on surfboards.

“I really wanted people to find them exciting and want to go to the Adirondacks,” Hood said. “I wanted to paint the landscapes in a bright and happy way instead of an old-school, traditional way.”

Her most recent work, a painting of the AuSable River, is done in a large format, 9 feet wide by 3 feet tall. Her pieces on display at the Lake Placid Library are done in a smaller format.

Her works have been exhibited at the Monmouth County Festival of the Arts, at the Grimmuseum in Berlin and at the Coemeterium, Campiello San Giovanni Evangelista, and the twenty2 Palazzo Tito in Venice.

This week, Hood is preparing for a show of her Adirondack-inspired work in Manhattan. She will display her work again in the Adirondacks in August at the North Country Cultural Center for the Arts in Plattsburgh.

For more about Hood’s work, visit www.melissaspaintings.com.