Melissa is passionate about color. She finds it to be the most significant form of inspiration to paint. Speaking on influences in her work, Melissa says, “Sometimes it’s an idea that I can’t get out of my head, or a color that I just MUST paint!” She particularly enjoys painting leaves, and the changing colors of Oregon foliage are visible in her work. In 2001, Melissa began teaching art classes, which has allowed her to view her own artwork in a new way. “The information that flows in a class is awesome,” she says. Melissa is constantly learning from the students in her classes, and is more conscious of what it means to be an artistic role model.