New Landscape Paintings

A new collection of dramatic abstract landscape paintings featuring cloudy skies, colorful sunsets and dramatic seascapes 

This new collection of original landscape paintings was inspired by recent memories of thundering spring storms and long summer days at the lake.


It feels good to be back in the studio and connecting with you again.

I hope this post finds you well and enjoying the last few glorious weeks of summer… (Or if you are in the southern hemisphere, you’re looking forward to warmer weather and a new season of growth.)

After dedicating last year to the creation of my book Textured Art, I felt a craving for more space and freedom from obligation. This summer, I quietly stepped back from all things business, sheltered away from social media and spent my days devoted to making memories with family and friends.

Summers in Canada are short and boy did we make the most of ours. The majority of our time was spent outdoors hiking in the Rocky Mountains, camping in the wilderness, and long hot days at the lake. I also managed to carve out free time in the studio to splash some paint. It was refreshing.

Especially because we’ve had an exceptionally dry summer, I’ve developed a deeper awareness and appreciation of water, in all it’s forms. It had a profound influence not only on the subject matter of these new paintings but also on the methods and techniques I used to create them.

I set aside my usual process of using a palette knife to apply thick paint directly to canvas and instead opted for the spontaneity and unpredictability of fluid paint.

Large blue landscape painting of ocean seascape and cloudy sky by Canadian artist Melissa McKinnon hanging in a contemporary living room.

‘Living Sky’ 48″x36″

I began each painting free of any preconceived image in mind. Guided only by the feelings I wished to convey – freedom, curiosity and the carefree nature of long summer days.

With that intention, I intuitively select a combination of watercolours, inks and fluid acrylics and begin flooding the canvas with color. Each one unique in hue, transparency and viscosity.

With drips, pools and splatters the paint is let loose on the surface allowing the different pigments to interact in unexpected ways. It feels like pouring myself, my feelings and all my recent experiences directly onto the canvas to see.

The paint will splash and splatter, flow and mix, creating beautiful gradations and patterns. Eventually the pigments settle in deep pools of luminous colour and the water slowly evaporates to reveal the final image. It’s absolutely mesmerizing to watch. Time stands still and everything else seems to disappear.

Each session is unique, the results always unexpected and no matter how hard I try, they can never be repeated.

Contemporary Canadian artist Melissa McKinnon paints a large colourful abstract painting in her art studio.

Work in progress – ‘Sun Kissed’ 60″x48″

At this stage, other than choosing and mixing the paints, I have very little control over how the paintings develop. It’s a meditative practice of awareness, surrender and acceptance. 

I repeat this process with different types of paint and variations of colour until I see the composition begin to emerge from the chaos.

Once I’ve taken the painting as far as I can go with fluid paints, I as the artist, step in and begin to make my presence known on the canvas for the first time. I refine the painting and enhance the surface using my signature layers of thick impasto paint and expressive palette knife work. Making my mark so to speak. Bringing order and a sense of stability to the painting. It’s a feast for my eyes. I’ve become obsessed with the juxtaposition of spontaneous fluidity layered with intentional impasto marks.

Large blue landscape painting of ocean seascape and cloudy sky by Canadian artist Melissa McKinnon painted with a palette knife and impasto texture
Colorful textured acrylic painting of coastal landscape and cloudy sunset sky by Canadian Artist Melissa McKinnon

‘Sun Kissed’ 60″x48″

I feel it not only adds depth, energy and even more interest to the already exciting surface of the painting but it brings another dimension to my work, both physically and metaphorically. A true expression of how I’m experiencing this moment in time.

I began by noticing the importance and absence of water to nourish the earth. Using water to move pigment and bring the composition to fruition. Personally, choosing to embrace the strong currents of life, learning to let go and enjoy the ride. Accepting the things I cannot control and doing my best to to make sense and meaning out of the unpredictable nature of my human experience.

A culmination of the lessons I’ve learned up until now, I hope you enjoy these paintings as much as I did making them.

Large blue landscape painting of ocean seascape and cloudy sky by Canadian artist Melissa McKinnon hanging in a modern white living room.

‘Far From Solid Ground’ 60″x48″

I’d love to know more about your experience as you view them. How do they make you feel? Are you drawn more to the feeling of ebb and flow or to the sense of stability and reassurance? Please leave your comments below.

In life, I strive for the delicate balance of both.

Original acrylic painting of moody abstract landscape and cloudy storm sky by Canadian Artist Melissa McKinnon

‘Promise Of Rain’ 60″x48″

Large in size, these paintings hold an enormous amount of energy and will provide a commanding presence in any room.

They are currently available for purchase in my online gallery. 

Original acrylic painting of moody abstract landscape and cloudy storm sky by Canadian Artist Melissa McKinnon hanging in an elegant contemporary ding room.

‘Promise Of Rain’ 60″x48″

Original watercolour and acrylic seascape painting of blue ocean and cloudy sky by Canadian landscape painter Melissa McKinnon

‘At The Water’s Edge VII’ 12″x12″

Modern wall art featuring an original watercolour and acrylic seascape painting of blue ocean and cloudy sky by Canadian landscape painter Melissa McKinnon

‘At The Water’s Edge VIII’ 12″x12″

P.S. I’ve started sharing more behind the scenes photos and videos of my paintings in progress on social media. Come see…


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