Melissa Cole, born January 22, 1967, is an artist, writer, and wildlife photographer who lives in Spokane, Washington with her husband, Brandon. They have spent much time together traveling the world photographing whales, dolphins, sharks, and the underwater world. From the Seychelles Islands off Africa to the icy waters surrounding Vancouver Island British Columbia, they have played beneath the ocean's waves. Orca whales have breached beside their boat at sunset, they have danced with wild dolphins, and have been kissed by gentle manatees. These ocean creatures inspire and delight Melissa who takes along her painting supplies on these trips to record first hand these enduring subjects.
Melissa paints with gouache, watercolor, acrylic paints, oils using very fine brushes to create her detailed designs. She is inspired by native artists worldwide who use bright colors and intricate patterns. She strives to capture in her own unique way the energy that she finds in their paintings.
Melissa graduated with a BS Degree in Zoology from Oregon State University in Corvallis, Oregon. She also took classes in sculpture, figure drawing and watercolor painting. Her special skills include designing large murals and artwork. She also is a designer for Designer Stained Glass and has done sculptural work using clay. She has published and authored thirty children's nature books, Alaska Notes greeting cards, and given art lectures. Melissa has exhibited her work in many galleries in Spokane, Seattle, Alaska, Wyoming, Washington and the Oregon Coast.
Melissa has been selected (April 2012) over many applicants for the Lewiston Gateway Project in Lewiston, Idaho. She will create large double sided mosaiced light concrete sculptures for both sides of the pedestrian bridge. The design represents the confluence of the Snake and Clearwater Rivers. She will have leaping salmon on one side and a big blue rattle snake on the other. She will also create a complementary sculpture on the intersection of 5th and F streets. This will have a low wall with a three dimensional boy and dog (from early 1900's) fishing for 3-D trout, salmon, bass and sturgeon all of which can be found in Lewiston's rivers.