Colorado sculptor Melissa Cooper back in Vail |

Colorado sculptor Melissa Cooper back in Vail

Daily Staff Report
Vail Daily/Bret Hartman"Jay's Perch" by Melissa Cooper

Born in Colorado, Melissa Cooper was raised with an appreciation of wildlife and art. She’s made a career out of her early interest, and will be at Cogswell Gallery today and Saturday 3-8 p.m.

Both of her parents are artists. Her mother a painter and father a sculptor. At 17, Cooper became her father’s apprentice and was fortunate enough to work in the foundry where his work was cast. She learned the bronze-making process. Knowledge is something she appreciates, and to this day she continues to play an active part in the step-by-step process of her own work.

For 10 years Melissa assisted her father in finishing pieces at the foundry level before ever sculpting work of her own. She began to sculpt at the age of 27. With all the knowledge she’d accrued in the previous 10 years, she developed her own style relatively quickly.

From monument-sized cougars with unblinking stares to tabletop bears, Cooper instills her work with personality. The sculpture’s face is the most important part of the piece for Cooper. She said it is the place where she can most express herself. It is also the most detailed area of her sculptures, since she tends to portray the rest of the body with very little detail.

The patina for each bronze is slightly different, making each piece an original. The patina is another one of Cooper’s favorite steps in the bronze creative process. She works with Patric Kipper, a nationally renowned patina artist, to create the stone-style patinas for every piece.

Although Cooper has found her own style, she insists she is still evolving. Her assortment of sculptures continues to grow with each year as she is constantly inspired by wildlife and nature.

Cogswell Gallery in Vail Village hosts Cooper, her works in progress and her current editions.

For more information, call 476-1769.

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