Melissa Wishart

Who are we? Where did we come from? Where are we going?

Art is part of that lifelong search.

I have been drawing since the age of two...drawings of chickens.

When Hokusai was 87, he said that, just maybe, if he lived to 100,  then,  he would be able to paint!

And so we go on.....


Born in Bermuda and lived there until seven years old. Whilst working in London as an 18 year old, Melissa attended St Martins School of Art part-time and attended part-time at Edinburgh College of Art whilst studying for her honours degree at Edinburgh University.

Melissa's early career was as a documentary film-maker for television. She was then commissioned to create large scale video projections in theatre and site specific settings for artists, dancers and actors. The life drawing continued throughout these years. As success grew for her paintings through group exhibitions, her time became more focussed around oil painting, further strengthened recently through explorations of the life form in clay.

Melissa loves light, water and life as matter. Seas, in all moods, skies, landscapes, light and the human body including portraiture provide subject matter to explore different emotions, energies, atmospheres and elements.

Oil paint allows for a richness and translucency and an ability to layer and move paint around keeping it fluid on the canvas. The approach is fairly loose and the method explorative, though a strong drawing background underlies it. Rags are used to lift paint and move it around creating a freedom for things to emerge. Harder implements can sometimes be used to scrape away paint and to scratch into it. Time can be used to allow some things to dry and harden whilst mediums can, at the other end of the spectrum, be added to the paint to create a more fluid, textural feel in other areas. A connection is made with the subject matter and therefore working from life or plein air can often prove most fruitful and incisive as the observation and connection is direct.

In the spirit of exploration, experiments are delighted in, for example, recently using oil paint on plaster. Other surfaces such as scrim, sand, paper, or canvas and fired clay are used. There has to be an element of embracing triumph and disaster, those two imposters, just the same! That way, one is free to go on and make discoveries.

Some of Melissa's sources of inspiration are the works of Turner, Rembrandt, Seago, Singer-Sergeant, the Scottish Colourists, Rothko, Janette Kerr, David Cobley, Ian Mckeever, Gehard Richter and artists from other mediums, Olafur Eliasson and James Turrell.
Melissa is a cross -disciplinary artist with a strong oil painting track record. She now, alongside paint in all its forms, works in the mediums of photography, moving image, sound and clay and increasingly welcomes collaborative projects particularly in the environmental field. 

Melissa is passionate about creativity and co-organised TedxBradfordonAvon  'Crafting the Unexpected' in 2012.

Artist in Residence

As part of my art practise I immerse myself in new places and situations. 



Masterworks Museum of Bermuda Art invited me for two and a half months to be their Artist in Residence. The Museum provided a flat in St Georges, a studio and an exhibition in the Rick Fairies Gallery at the end of the Residency.

'Through her time in Bermuda she was able to produce an impressive body of work, which was enthusiastically greeted by the public. Her classes were well attended and enjoyable - she made learning fun!'     (Tom Butterfield, Director of Masterworks)

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Santa Maria Rignana, near Greve in Chianti for 6 weeks.

Tuscany seemed to me a wonderful intense mix of sensuality and spirituality.

The art of the wine, the art of the food, the heat, the smells, the beauty. These qualities found in the land of Tuscany suffuse the religious art. I became fascinated by the portrayal of Anne, Jesus' s grandmother and her direct gaze in the altarpieces of the Sienese painters. There was so much to intrigue and delight at Santa Maria Rignana and nearby Florence and Siena.

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The Hall


In the winter of 2018 Melissa was Artist in Residence at The Hall in Bradford on Avon home of Alex Moulton, inventor and designer of the famous small wheeled bicycles.

Over two months, I produced a body of work for public exhibition that explored the Hall itself and also the engineering inventiveness of the Moulton Family. In the spirit of exploration, different artistic techniques were used including encaustic wax to explore the layers of time within the place. Suspension parts and bicycle parts were delighted in and were used to create abstract light effects that excited me.

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Exhibitions, Shows et al


October 2020 -Pop Up Gallery Silver Street, Bradford on Avon

November 2019 - Festivals & The Sea   West Barn, Bradford on Avon

March 2019 - Painting & Drawings from the Artist in Residency at The Hall   West Barn, Bradford on Avon

May 2018 - SEA SKY LOVE 2 Works inspired by the sea, Poole and 2016 Artist in residency in Santa Maria e                                          Rignana in Tuscany      West Barn, Bradford on Avon

September 2016 -Upstairs at the Hatch Gallery, Christchurch Oil painting inspired by the sea in Dorset.

March 2016  - 'Return to the Sea - Exhibition of paintings from Studland to the Caribbean'

                         LIGHTHOUSE POOLE ARTS CENTRE

November 2015 - SEA SKY LOVE  The Vaults, Bradford on Avon

March 2015 - Oil paintings - traditional and experimental   West Barn, Bradford on Avon

March 2O14  - The Sea off Bermuda, The Scilly Isles and St Ives. Explorations with oil paint around the subject                                   of the nude.    West Barn, Bradford on Avon

March 2013  - 'WINTER LIGHT'   West Barn, Bradford on Avon

September 2012  - Rick Fairies Gallery , Masterworks Museum, Bermuda.
                    Solo show of work produced as Artist in Residence in Bermuda from 10th July to 29th September

May 2012  - OPEN STUDIO & SHOW 2012   Cloth Road Arts Week

October 2011 -  LIGHT 2 West Barn, Bradford on Avon

June 2011 - Large scale works at the Ale & Porter, Bradford on Avon

October 2010  - 'Light'    West Barn, Bradford on Avon  First solo exhibitio. NATURAL LIGHT IN THE TITHE BARN

'Wonderful, full of mist and light'
'Fantastic. You've found your voice - Beautiful, exciting and full of those once only moments (such as the white paint picking up just the tops of the canvas.)
'I'm enjoying the light and great atmospheres in your work'.


October 2020

Selected for Bath Society of Artists Annual Show November 20-Jan21 online

June  2020

Invited by Somerset Re-Acquainted to submit and exhibit work made in response to the Lockdown

September 2019

Selected by Royal Society of Marine Artists for their annual show 2019 at the Mall Galleries, London

Selected by Bath Society of Artists   2019 Annual Open Exhibition at Victoria Art Gallery, Bath.

May 2011  Dolly Mixtures Group at the Ginger Piggery, Boyton as part of Wylye Valley Art Trail

May 2011  Milsom Place, Bath. Spring Show with Liz Watts and Kerrie McNeil 

April 2011  Abbey House Gardens, Malmesbury with Liz Watts and Sue Thompson
May 2010 Cloth Road Arts Week Open Studio 

2010    Black Swan Open, Frome    By competitive selection

2010    Bath Society of Artists, Victoria Art Gallery, Bath    By competitive selection2010    Frome Art Society, Black Swan Guild - Spring & Autumn shows

2010    Angel, Upton Scudamore with Jane Eaton 
2010    Abbey House Gardens, Malmesbury - joint show 'Nature Blossoming in the Garden'  with Liz Watts, 
2010     Art House Co-operative '6 Reasons to be Cheerful' in Bradford on Avon Arts Festival
2010    Art House Co-operative at the Ale and Porter, Bradford on Avon
2010    'Transcription' Show with Bath Artists Studio Sculpture Group

Awards in 2010
Appleyard Trophy Prize from Frome Art Society

2009     Art House Co-operative on Tour      Venues: Wells and Scribbling Horse, Bradford on Avon 
2009     Nature's Rich Weave     with Liz Watts   Abbey House Gardens, Malmesbury (home of the Naked Gardeners)
2009     Wylye Valley Art Trail    with Dolly Mixtures    Ginger Piggery, Boyton
2008      Selected for Bath Artists Society Open
2008      Art House Co-operative on Tour
2007      Art House Co-operative Gallery, Silver Street
2007      Wylye Valley Art Trail     Dolly Mixtures, Ginger Piggery
2006 & 2004  Somerset Arts Week   Churchmead Artists, Woolverton, Somerset
2005      Churchmead Artists (by invitation)
2004     Dolly Mixtures  'Exposed' The Brewery Barn, Norton St Philip, Somerset
2001       Royal West of England Academy. SELECTED Best of Contemporary Painting Open 


November 2014  NADFAS
Melissa was invited by NADFAS Devizes to lecture and run their Study Day on
'Exploring the tradition of Oil Painting through the Artists' Depiction of Light'.

14th century to present day focussing on artists who used light or explored it in a notable way
and the concurrent developments in oil painting method, technique and chemistry that went alongside.
Titian, Rembrandt, Turner, Vermeer and Monet, Whistler, Hammershoi and contemporary artists such Eliasson who work with light itself.


Bradford on Avon Town Council and Tourist Office asked Melissa to paint Laurence to go outside the Tourist Information Centre in Bradford on Avon for the Lions of Bath event. Selected artists painted lions throughout spring 2010 for their individual sponsors mostly in Bath but three in Bradford on Avon. The sponsors then put the lions on public show throughout the summer. In the autumn the lions were auctioned raising substantial sums for charity. Laurence was outside the Tourist Information Centre in Bradford on Avon from May to September. He was enjoyed by locals and visitors from around the world.

Melissa drew her inspiration for Laurence (the name given by the Tourist Office) from the unique pair of carved angels in the saxon Church of St Laurence in Bradford on Avon.

Melissa is well known for her sky paintings so the angels were given a beautiful cobalt blue sky to live in. All the detailing is carefully based on Bradford on Avon's rich history, for example the roman mosaics found recently near St Laurence School are portrayed on Laurence's anklet and he sports a gold thigh band of Saxon design.

Lions of Bath outside Royal Crescent

Laurence is the cobalt blue one. They were auctioned for charity and Laurence was bid for and bought by a designer in Salisbury