Meet artist Melissa Nelson, featured in the Vail Valley Art Guild's First Friday exhibition in Minturn |

Meet artist Melissa Nelson, featured in the Vail Valley Art Guild’s First Friday exhibition in Minturn

The Vail Valley Art Guild is hosting its First Friday exhibition at its Minturn Gallery, and this month’s featured members are photographer Raymond Bleesz and artist Melissa Nelson. For Nelson, whose primary works featured in this show are landscapes, a lot of her time during the pandemic has been spent on reconfiguring some of her pieces.

As a result, her artwork on display and for sale is very much a diary of quarantine, and that’s why the show is called “Arts in Isolation.”

“A lot of us (guild members) took the paintings that were lying around that just weren’t working or that we never finished,” she said. “And we worked them. There’s one painting that I redid, hated it, cut it up into pieces and framed it.”

Melissa Nelson poses with her work.
Special to the Daily

Nelson did paint one original piece from start to finish during quarantine. It was up in the guild’s Eagle gallery, and the former executive director of the Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art bought the piece.

“Everything else is something that I screwed around with,” she said. “They don’t have any particular theme. It’s off of my floor and behind the dresser kinds of things.”

To that end, she’s played a lot with her work, like making the sky yellow, for example. She’s also been working to expand her art practice by stepping outside her comfort zone: realism. With her Abstracting the Figure assignment, she’s working on boiling down full figures and portraits to gestures and moods.

“The fun thing about art is it makes you look at things, and see things, and see juxtapositions of things. And then try to capture them without completely messing it up,” she laughed.

The show is from 5-7 p.m. Friday. With the gallery right next to Rocky Mountain Taco in Minturn, which is staying open until 8 p.m., guests are invited to enjoy some art and some food next door. For more information, visit

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