Family Cottage Portrait

Thought I would share the process of completing my most recent cottage portrait…this one was actually fairly complicated, as there were a lot of elements…different types of trees in a dense wooded area behind the structure, rock walls, reflective lake water, and, of course, the cottage itself! The birch trees to the left of the building are a favourite feature of the property for the family, so I spent a lot of time working to really capture the likeness there. But overall, I wanted to get the essence of the place – family fun, relaxation, warm afternoon light on the leaves and beams of the cottage. This all really just made me crave summer, which is a long way away (SIGH, we haven’t even really gotten into winter here yet!)

Here is the progression of work:

mstarkweather_podedwornycottage_process1 mstarkweather_podedwocottageportrait_process2  mstarkweather_podedwocottageportrait_process3

And the finish!


For more house portraits, and portraits of places, take a look at my gallery. Or see my pets and people galleries.

Christmas is just around the corner. (Yikes, we’re already into November!) I still have room for a couple more pieces in time for Christmas, so order soon if you are going to…it’s getting tight.     I can also do gift certificates so that the recipient can pick out which photo he or she would like to have painted or drawn. If you have any questions at all, please email me at info(at)

Up next, a lovely German Shepherd painting. Getting back to painting a subject with eyes! :D

xo melody

From Painting House to Painting Portraits…

So, we moved October 1 and I then came down with bronchitis. As a result I’ve not been too productive in the art over the past month. However, I am totally getting back to it. My studio is set up, and the paints are out.  What a delight, to have a proper studio in which to work that I don’t have to share. It’s pretty sweet.

(As an aside, we also have a big back yard and extra bedroom and basement with laundry…life is good! New house projects have included but are not limited to painting all rooms on the two floors, recovering a couple of old couches and wallpapering a touch. Please see one of my completed slipcovers below. I’m pretty proud of myself.)


I’m really truly working on finishing up a cottage portrait, which is a Christmas gift…and at the beginning of the month finished up this little guy, a portrait of Town Hall in Perth, Ontario:


Here’s the cottage so far…getting there!


Hope this finds everyone well! Thanks for looking.

xo melody

Gizmo’s Portrait

Here’s another pet with his portrait. This is Gizmo. He is an older gentleman and loves to cuddle, sometimes under the covers! Feel free to call him “Mister Handsome.”

mstarkweather_gizmo and portrait

I get more interest in dog portraits than cat portraits, but to be honest, I am really a cat person. I love cats. How could you resist Mr. Handsome? It’s impossible! You can’t!

If you have a Melody Starkweather original and are able to snap a shot of it with your pet, I would just be thrilled! Photos can be emailed to info @

Merci beaucoup! xo melody

Holy smokes! Christmas is coming!!

I know this seems crazy, and I’m not trying to alarm you, but Christmas is TWO MONTHS AWAY! AHHHHHHHH!!!!!! Just kidding, it’s three months away.

That being said, if you are thinking of having a portrait done for the holidays, I would recommend ordering soon to get into the queue…typical turnaround on a drawing is 2 weeks, and on a painting 3 weeks or so. However, I anticipate getting pretty jammed-up for Christmas, and I already have a few Christmas gifts on the go for clients. Not to mention, Canada Post’s services also slow down around the holidays. So, please think ahead! I unfortunately cannot rush the drawing or painting process, so I can only get the done as quickly as I can get them done.

Gift certificates are also an option if you would like for your loved one to pick the image they will have painted or drawn. Please contact me for more information.

Thank you!

xo melody

Pets and Their Portraits

Check out the Photo Jakey’s Mom took! He’s a couple years older now than when the photo was taken, so he’s lost his pink spot on his nose…but still pretty cool, huh?

I think Mandy has inspired a new series of blog posts showcasing pets with their portraits. I asked Liz (maybe not Casey’s mom, but probably his best friend) to do the same. Here they are!


I am really quite tickled with these. I will be aquiring and posting more! For better images of the final pet portraits, see my painting and drawing gallery of pets. And if you have a portrait and would like to snap a shot of it with your pet, I would be eternally grateful! Please email to info @

xo melody

Self Portraits…Of Myself!

So I did some digging, (looking for something else, of course,) and came across a whole slew of sketches I had done of myself in art school. Thought I would share. There are a few pencil portraits and a few drawings in pen. I must have been doing some studies for an assignment, or some sort of project I was working on.  Although that being said, at that time in my life, I was pretty diligent about studying my own reflection – for art’s sake, and also just because I was 22.

mstarkweather_selfsketch1 mstarkweather_selfsketch3 mstarkweather_selfsketch4

I haven’t included these less-polished drawings in my people portraits section, but I am toying with the idea of putting one in the “About Me” section of the site. We’ll see!

Portraits I made when I was 14!

I’m moving October 1 (AGAIN, though hopefully more permanent this time!) So, I am going through old stuff and trying to get myself organized for the move. And lookie, lookie what I found:

mstarkweather_tiff mstarkweather_cedar mstarkweather_ida

Pencil portraits from the 9th grade. So when I say I’ve been drawing and painting portraits forever, take this as proof! I really have been! These really aren’t my finest work, but hey! I was 14! And the drawings above were done quickly, and from life. Probably in the cafeteria.

I was also into chalk pastels at the time:


That one is my friend Rowan and her Mom, drawn from a photo Rowan provided me with.

Looks like 1996 was a busy year for me. :)

Little Bro

A very happy belated birthday to my “little” brother Scott. This was us, circa 1988.


I was very excited to do a portrait of kids and a cat! This was indeed a fun pencil portrait to do…lots of familiar details. It was a bit of a walk down Memory Lane. That cat was the most glorious cat, named Michael, or “Mikey.” He started coming around the house and I snuck him lunch meat when Mom wasn’t looking, so he NEVER LEFT! And that thing Scott is so enthusiastically waving over his head is a fly swatter. Yes, a fly swatter.

I think that this is a family portrait that captures my brother and I well. Too bad our sister wasn’t in the shot! But I am planning a portrait of her, too…soonish! It’s going to be a really cool one.

Hope y’all are enjoying the final stretch of summer.

xo melody

Portraits of Perth

I grew up in the Perth, ON area, and it holds a very sentimental place in my heart. I left Lanark County in high school, attending boarding school near Boston, MA, and then moved to Seattle, WA for a year. Afterwards, I spent a decade in Toronto, where I earned my degree in art. And now, I’ve moved back to Perth permanently – that’s how great our little town is!

I’ve made art forever, and have more recently specialized in portraiture of people and animals. Moving home to Perth and experiencing my hometown as an adult for the first time, I wanted to commemorate some of the spots that make Perth so special in my memories and everyday life.

I was given the opportunity to show/sell some work at Groundwaves, in Code’s Mill. I also work there a few days a week. Working in such a sweet little shop, in such a sweet little town, I’ve gotten to meet a lot of the folks who come to Perth. I’ve heard many stories about people who have been coming here every summer for 50-odd years. Or, there are the many who get married here. (We’re now the wedding capital of Eastern Ontario, FYI.) Then there are the people who used to live here, coming home for a visit. Or the people like me who used to live here and came back because Perth and the people who live here are magical. There is a lot of love for Perth, Ontario!

I’ve been doing a lot of portraits (my website is devoted to them!) But, the same sort of sentimentality and love people feel toward their pets and family can be felt toward a place. I wanted to capture the spirit of the town the way I might a person. It may be a bit of a departure, but it makes sense to me!

I executed these paintings on canvas in greyscale. Part of the reason for this was to keep the time and therefore price down, so they could sell in a gift shop. However, part of the reason was to capture the moment like a snapshot; a memory. The edges of each canvas are painted a colour, with my signature corresponding to that colour. This is meant to really emphasize the black and white photographic quality of the collection. I think of these as memories – impressions – on canvas.

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Here’s the first batch as a grouping. I think I will be adding a few more to the series.


I’ve also added a new section to my site, which will showcase building and house portraits…also portraits of bridges. The Perth Portraits, basically.  Here it is! Take a gander, will you?

And for my pet portrait paintings and pencil drawings, go here and for people, please go here.

xo melody

Painting from Photos…

…is awesome when they come from a talented photographer!

Liz Cooper is not only a fantastic person, and good-looking to boot, but she is also a wonderful photographer. And, she is a very good friend of mine, too. Back in May, Liz and her parents commissioned me to paint Henry, the newest addition to the family for Liz’s sister Louise, for Mother’s Day. For Liz’s big 3-0, I offered a painting of her parents’ cat Casey, whom she has told me many times she is “in love with.” We spend a lot of our time together talking about our cats.

For both of these paintings, she provided me with her own photos, which made the task of painting just a little bit easier. Check out the source photos:

mstarkweather_lcooper_casey mstarkweather_lcooper_henry

Beautiful, huh? And here are the finished paintings from the photos:

mstarkweather_casey mstarkweather_henry

It’s strange, because working from such sharply focused photos somehow seemed to allow me to take more liberties. Both of the finished portraits are in places much more painterly than some of my other works. I think we should collaborate more!

To see more of Liz’s wonderful work, please visit She will be photographing my wedding next year, by the way! (I hope!)

For more of my pet portraits, head over here and go here for portaits of people

I am going to be launching a new section to my site soon, too, to show off non-portraiture pursuits, starting with black and white “portraits” of my little historic town, Perth, Ontario. Watch for it! Should be tonight or tomorrow if I stay on track. :)