Artist Spotlight: Melanie Whitson, Melart Scotland

by Dr. Jessie Voigts / Jan 28, 2021 /
Dr. Jessie Voigts's picture

The internet is an incredible place. I first saw Melanie Whitson's art on facebook, in a Scotland group. Her clean, beautiful drawings truly capture the essence of place. My favorites? While they are all so evocative, her Leanach Cottage at Culloden has grasped my heart. I feel the wind blowing across the battlefield, smell the smoke and humanity, and remember moments of history, both large and small. 

Leanach Cottage, Culloden. From Artist Spotlight: Melanie Whitson, MelArt Scotland
Leanach Cottage, Culloden

Let's not forget Hogwarts, though...perhaps the most recognizable castle, despite being fictional, in Scotland?

Hogwarts Castle. From Artist Spotlight: Melanie Whitson, MelArt Scotland
Hogwarts Castle

Melanie Whitson was born in Edinburgh and currently lives just south of the city. She's married and has been with her husband for 25 years; they have 3 grown children.  Without further ado, the words and art of Melart!

Art in progress. From Artist Spotlight: Melanie Whitson, MelArt Scotland
Art in progress

How long have you been an artist?
I started drawing in March last year during the first Covid lockdown. I hadn't drawn since school, and due to Covid, I had to cancel a trip up the west coast of Scotland and Skye. I was off work and didn't have a lot to do, so I decided to try and draw a simple pencil sketch of the view over Edinburgh. I posted the drawing on a Scottish Facebook page and my notifications went crazy. I had people asking if I had a website and would I do a commission? It was just mad. I decided to draw some more, and the same thing happened, so I made a Facebook page.

The view over Edinburgh. From Artist Spotlight: Melanie Whitson, MelArt Scotland
The view over Edinburgh

Kilchurn Castle. From Artist Spotlight: Melanie Whitson, MelArt Scotland
Kilchurn Castle

Is your art your full-time career?
I have a part-time job and work in the kitchen of a primary school. I'm also a carer for my sons, one having ADHD and anxiety and the other has a rare brain disorder called a symptomatic cavernoma, which also causes epilepsy.

Two trees. From Artist Spotlight: Melanie Whitson, MelArt Scotland
Two trees

Craigmillar Castle. From Artist Spotlight: Melanie Whitson, MelArt Scotland
Craigmillar Castle

Do you have favorite places you like to create?
I have a huge passion for history and castles, and I absolutely love Scotland. I usually draw Scottish castles and landmarks, but I will eventually branch out and draw castles and landmarks from other countries.

Eilean Donan Castle. From Artist Spotlight: Melanie Whitson, MelArt Scotland
Eilean Donan Castle

Edinburgh Castle. From Artist Spotlight: Melanie Whitson, MelArt Scotland
Edinburgh Castle

What does a typical day look like? Is there a typical day?
On a typical day, I go to my job in the school kitchens for a couple of hours, I'll then pick up prints from my printers if I have orders in. I'll usually go to the shops for dinner and do anything for my sons if they need it. I've also been helping my daughter recently, as she is getting ready to move out and into her first home. Dinner will be made and any housework that needs seen to, then I'll settle down to draw or package prints up for sending.

Elvis the coo. From Artist Spotlight: Melanie Whitson, MelArt Scotland
Elvis the coo

Midhope House. From Artist Spotlight: Melanie Whitson, MelArt Scotland
Midhope House

What materials do you prefer?
For my drawings, I use graphite pencil and tinted graphite. I've tried other mediums, but I much prefer the graphite, as it helps bring an atmosphere to my drawings and the muted colours of the tinted graphite ensure to keep the atmosphere intact.

Old Man of Storr. From Artist Spotlight: Melanie Whitson, MelArt Scotland
Old Man of Storr

Ardvreck Castle. From Artist Spotlight: Melanie Whitson, MelArt Scotland
Ardvreck Castle

Where/How are you inspired?
My biggest inspiration is history. All the castles I draw have a past and hold so much history. I love walking through castles knowing that kings and queens have walked there before me.

Dunvegan Castle. From Artist Spotlight: Melanie Whitson, MelArt Scotland
Dunvegan Castle

Dunottar Castle. From Artist Spotlight: Melanie Whitson, MelArt Scotland
Dunottar Castle

How do you know when your piece is done? Do you work on one or more pieces at a time?
I usually only work on one drawing at a time but it depends on my work load. I know when a drawing is complete when I start nit picking at little bits. I'm my own worst critic, and so after I fix  2 or 3 parts on a drawing, I know to just stop and step away from it.

Rosslyn Chapel. From Artist Spotlight: Melanie Whitson, MelArt Scotland
Rosslyn Chapel

Glenfinnan Viaduct. From Artist Spotlight: Melanie Whitson, MelArt Scotland
Glenfinnan Viaduct

If you were not an artist, what would you do?
If I hadn't discovered I could draw, I would probably still do something creative. I've tried all sorts of crafts, from candle and jewellery making to crochet and cards. 

Candles by Melart. From Artist Spotlight: Melanie Whitson, MelArt Scotland
Candles by Melart

How can our readers find and purchase your art?
I'm still trying to build up my art business and I currently have only a Facebook page and Instagram where I sell my giclee prints from. Anyone can purchase a print by contacting me directly from one of these pages.

I'm currently working on producing more products and developing my website and online shop. I hope that very soon I can leave my day job and concentrate on my art full time.

https://www.facebook.com/melwhitsonart/

https://www.instagram.com/melart_scotland/

Hermitage Castle. From Artist Spotlight: Melanie Whitson, MelArt Scotland
Hermitage Castle

Kilvarock Castle. From Artist Spotlight: Melanie Whitson, MelArt Scotland
Kilvarock Castle

All photos courtesy and copyright Melanie Whitson, Melart Scotland, used with permission