Melissa Gates

Melissa is an artist from the Midwest who now lives in Chattanooga, TN, but has also called Austin, TX, Colorado, Costa Rica and Panama her home.

Team Member

Artist Statement

All of my creations begin with an original sketch after many hours of research. As a painter of realism, I strive to build compositions that grab a viewer‘s attention and draw them closer to contemplate the subject. Many layers of semi-transparent paint, giving the illusion of deep detail, and the engaging nature of the subject conspire to pull the viewer into the painting, creating an emotional connection.

My greatest passion is wildlife. As an animal activist, I strive to capture the true spirit and essential nature of the animal. My compositions are direct. The subject engages the viewer and encourages them to see not only the subjects beauty, but also their intelligence. This personal encounter has the ability to awaken an awareness and an appreciation.

My other passion is trees. Trees have the ability to replenish the spirit, just as changes of season bloom new growth on the ancient body of a tree. This paradox, what’s old is new, is expressed in my paintings by juxtaposing gnarled greyscale branches with vibrant blossoms.

Embrace nature
Take a moment
Stop to admire
Create the time
Open your spirit
Be filled


Melissa was born in Saginaw, MI in 1969. She has lived and worked in Colorado, Florida, Nebraska, Wyoming and Texas. During her morphing career life which included Computer Science, Accounting and Entrepreneurial ventures, Melissa was continually drawn to the inspiring beauty of trees and animals. She communed with that calling by immersing herself into the nature that surrounded her. After retiring, Melissa ventured to Central America to explore the tropical beauty of Costa Rica and Panama for three years. She is now settled in Chattanooga TN. Melissa's husband, Mark is an accomplished artist in his own right. Currently the two artists travel together throughout the United States exhibiting their work.

Juried Art Festivals Past and Future

Jan 25-26, 2020: St. Armands Circle Art Festival, Sarasota, Florida

Jan 18-19, 2020: Downtown Delray Beach Festival of the Arts, Delray Beach, Florida

Oct 24-26, 2019: Artclectic: University School of Nashville Art Show, Nashville, Tennessee

Oct 12-13, 2019: Blue Ridge Mountains Arts Association: Fall Arts in the Park, Blue Ridge, Georgia

Oct 4-6, 2019: St. James Court Art Show (St. James Court section), Louisville, Kentucky

Sept 21-22, 2019: Alexandria King Street Art Festival, Alexandria, Virginia

Aug 31-Sept 2, 2019: Art in the Park, Marietta Georgia

June 8-9, 2019: Nashville National Fine Arts Festival (Howard Alan Events), Franklin, Tennessee

May 25-26, 2019: Blue Ridge Mountains Arts Association: Spring Arts in the Park, Blue Ridge, Georgia

April 26-28, 2019: Magic City Art Connection, Birmingham, Alabama

April 14-14, 2019: Atlanta Dogwood Festival, Atlanta, Georgia

Feb 23-24, 2019: St. Petersburg Fine Art Festival, St. Petersburg, Florida

Oct 13-14, 2018: Blue Ridge Mountains Arts Association: Fall Arts in the Park, Blue Ridge, Georgia

Sept 15-16, 2018: Creative Arts Guild Festival: Outdoor Artist Market, Dalton, Georgia

May 4-6, 2018: Tennessee Craft Fair, Nashville, Tennessee

April 20-22, 2018: 4 Bridges Arts Festival, Chattanooga, Tennessee

Other Accomplishments

Sept 14-Oct 19, 2018: Creative Arts Guild Festival: Indoor Patron Purchase Group Exhibit, Dalton, Georgia

Aug 31-Sept 19, 2018: Annual Juried Member Show at Association for Visual Artists, Chattanooga, Tennessee

July 20-27, 2018: “AVA’s Art Auction” group salon show at Association for Visual Artists, Chattanooga, Tennessee

June 1-22, 2018: “Childhood Memories of Summer” group exhibition at Chattanooga Workspace Gallery, Chattanooga, Tennessee

May 4-6, 2018: Emerging Maker at the 47th Annual Spring Tennessee Craft Fair, Centennial Park, Nashville, Tennessee

April 20-22, 2018: Emerging Artist at 4 Bridges Arts Festival, Chattanooga, Tennessee

August to December 2017: Exhibited at Reflections Gallery in Chattanooga, Tennessee

September 2017: Highlighted in Chatter Magazine with a full page feature of Cherry Blossoms

Jun 2017-Jun 2018: The Painted Story Children's Gallery, Chattanooga, Tennessee

Sep 3, 2017: Featured in the Arts/Books section of the Chattanooga Times Free Press

Received Honorable Mention from International Gallery of the Arts - Second Annual Animals and Wildlife competition for her Mountain Ghost. Her Bay Roan, Snowy Egrets and Axis Stag were also selected for inclusion in the exhibition.

Mar-Apr 2017: "For Your Eyes Only" juried gallery show at Association for Visual Artists, Chattanooga, Tennessee

2016: Awarded 2nd place $2500 prize for her Cherry Blossoms Lg painting in the "Passion To Perform" international art contest which included approximately 3500 submissions from all four corners of the globe