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New kid on the block

Stew Mosberg

It was once attributed to Yogi Berra, “When you come to a fork in the road, take it!” Such is the case with the recently opened Melissa’s Fine Art and Gifts.

You have to veer off Main Street in Breckenridge by a few steps and walk into the tiny plaza housing this interesting and eclectic array of art, not all of it museum quality, but then that’s the charm of the place.

Friendly, vivacious owner Melissa Gledhill moved from Nebraska to Summit County just three years ago and opened the shop bearing her name this summer.

The unassuming storefront won’t beckon the connoisseur as many of Breckenridge’s more upscale galleries do, but step inside and you’ll find a range of paintings, prints, sculpture, ceramics and jewelry that is both unique and affordable. Among the more distinctive is a series of amusing paintings by Karen Eland.

They are amusing because the medium is espresso. Yes, that kind of espresso. At first glance they appear to be sepia copies of famous art. There is for example, a portrait of the Mona Lisa, only in this case it is called “Mona Latte,” and La Giaconda demurely balances a cup and saucer in her hand.

Eland uses espresso rather than ink or watercolors and applies it to paper much the way any watercolor artist would. In addition to DaVinci, the series also includes copies of well-known works by Van Gogh and Whistler.

Interesting as these coffee-laced representations are, my favorite pieces are by Pam Conrad. Her acrylic-painted woodcarvings form bas-relief panels that she then paints with a balance of neon-like color representing their more natural subject matter.

One in particular, “Autumn Hues'” captures the leaves of fall with delicate attention to detail. Another, “Desert Stone'” suggests a depth and distant perspective through its handling of buttes and mesas of the Painted Desert.

Gouache paintings on paper by artist Rhonda Scott Lynch also attracted my attention. These small but colorful works have a woodblock quality and are charming in their execution, reminding one of Japanese woodcuts from the late 19th century.

Melissa, herself an artist and craftswoman, has experimented with many mediums and her photographs as well as her baby blankets can be found throughout the shop.

Those shopping for a memento of their Breckenridge experience will also find metal sculpture, art glass, ceramic pottery and original jewelry to take home.

Stew Mosberg is a writer working out of Blue River. He holds a bachelor of design degree from the University of Florida, College of Fine Arts and Architecture, is the author of two books on design and is the recipient of a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. He can be reached by e-mail at StewMosberg@aol.com.


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