Melissa Colleen Pinson

Watercolor of pine forest and northern lights in purple-blue night sky.

Milkyway Pines — This piece was a memory looking up at the northern lights in Alaska where I lived for a short time. A very serene moment. This painting makes me feel calm, and nostalgic.

Watercolor painting with orangey-red sky and silhouette of desert with seven cacti.

Desert Nights — this piece really was a tribute to the serene calmness that the desert invites. I love cacti, and sunsets, and they go together beautifully.

Watercolor of night sky with silhouette of cacti and profile of bobcat. The bobcat is large as a mesa and is looking at a large moon.

Spirit of the Bobcat — I ended up with a big smear on my painting somehow at the end, and needed a way to work it into my painting. Recalling nights on Route 66 with my Dad when I was younger, I thought of the bluffs rising to form the harsh peaks in the distance against the setting sun. I remember sitting in the passenger seat staring out the window, listening to the radio, calm and peaceful. The Bobcat was supposed to be a coyote but the original silhouette looked funny so I adapted. This is probably my favorite piece of those selected, and a reminder that there are no mistakes in life, only happy accidents… If that isn’t a metaphor for my condition, I am not sure what is.

Artist Notes:

Being neurodivergent factors it’s way into my artwork constantly. I am very visually aware of everything that moves, or makes noise, EVERYWHERE. This means I see things others miss a lot, and pay very close attention to detail. Also, I have a lot of empathy overload, so seeing, or hearing things triggers intense emotion, and sometimes makes me FEEL as if I am there. I see things in BRIGHT intense color all the time, and while sometimes this stimuli is hard on my system, it’s a constant source of inspiration. A lot of times I use that same mental imagery in concept, to paint. I never reference photos. Everything I paint is just theory, concept, and opportunity.

With autism comes a lot of anxiety for me. I paint as a sort of art therapy on days when the world is just too much to handle. I never really know what I am going to paint, when I sit down, but when I just let myself go, my heart paints the stars. 

Instagram: @my_heart_paints_the_stars