Grand Tetons - Kelly Ann Sheridan

Melting Landscapes

My mind slows down, like a slow-moving sonic vibration, connecting the rhythm of my feet to the ground. I make a conscious choice to disconnect from the lights, buttons, and concrete. These man-made inventions and conventions pale in comparison to the powerfully graceful efficiency of streams, rocks, and trees. You can pick any spot to focus on and become enveloped. I often choose the sky. The clouds cast shadows creating deep shades of purple and the sun spreads a white tint on the tips of leaves. It’s such a strong visual connection. Everything is interconnected by light, shadow, and color, no matter where you gaze. If you embrace it long enough, things melt. Life forms melt into one, reflecting, refracting, and casting their color and form in the most complementary of ways, to all that surround them.

- Kelly Ann Sheridan
– Kelly Ann Sheridan

I let my mind melt into this comfortable valley of appreciation, completing the cycle between the sky, the earth, and myself. When I paint a melting landscape, I augment and exaggerate those connections. The sky literally melts down to the form a river or a mountain melts into a lake. I choose to use colors that aren’t “really there” but they are if you are looking for them. I want my melting landscapes to not only look timeless in a traditional sense by being freed of the burden to describe a particular point in time. They’re also timeless in the sense that you lose track of time when you are in nature, away from desks, cars, and carpets and other material ties.

Road Melt - Kelly Ann Sheridan
Road Melt – Kelly Ann Sheridan

Some may say my melting landscape paintings come off as a subtle commentary on global warming.  This is true; my work is a commentary on the state of nature and how it is affected by global warming. The melting is a very literal reference to this. I also want to make elusive suggestions to a landscape losing its identity, as it melts down into an uncharacteristic blob of color, it loses its uniqueness.  So many American landscapes are treasured for their unique wildlife, plant life, purity, and resources. Global warming causes these traits to alter and sometimes disappear. I paint some of these treasured places like the Blue Ridge Mountains, the Grand Tetons, and the Arizona Desert because I value them. I want to express my relationship with them, as well as communicate the challenges they face with the changing climate.

Grand Tetons 4 - Kelly Ann Sheridan
Grand Tetons 4 – Kelly Ann Sheridan

I read the poem, The Painter’s Dream by Lawrence Ferlinghetti when I was in high school. Ever since I read it I’ve kept it in safe-keeping in my head. I was inspired by it but did not know how to speak to its message in a way that was creatively authentic for me. The connection to the importance of material values fogging up  true happiness is a direct correlation to my melting landscapes. The wealth and the beauty do not reside in what you can wear on your body, it’s where you allow your body to explore. Creating this series was the first time I felt like I had all the elements aligned to create an artistic response to it. The poem ends with these lines:

“And then I’m walking through a huge exhibition in the Whole World Museum of Art containing all the greatest paintings of the entire fine arts tradition of all the centuries of western civilization

When suddenly a wild-haired band bursts into the Museum and starts spraying paint-solvent onto all the paintings

And all the paint in all the paintings starts to run down onto the floors of all the galleries forming fantastic new and exciting images of the end of our little universe

And elite curators in Gucci shoes rush in and cut up the painted floors and hang them on the walls while picturesque bohemian painters in berets stagger through the halls weeping”

Swamp Melt - Kelly Ann Sheridan
Swamp Melt – Kelly Ann Sheridan

This passage speaks to me that all the preciousness of art and beauty is illusory. The form that beauty comes packaged in is not a set form; it exists in your mind. Your mind has the ultimate power to appreciate and create beauty. Nature gives us endless opportunities to find and explore the inner reachings of our mind. That is what it means to me to be artistically inspired by nature. It means that you look deeper into the colors, connections, and reflections and begin to see them as part of a cycle, a larger force at play. It’s like nature is keeping a secret from you but at the same time, it rewards you for attempting to piece the puzzle together when you spend time in nature. The essence of the series, Melting Landscapes, is to encourage the viewer to become disconnected from reality and responsibility by spending time being outdoors and being aware. The reward is that you begin to appreciate and see nature as an interconnected cycle and appreciate beauty with such reverence that leads to a place of mindfulness.

Desert Heat Melt - Kelly Ann Sheridan
Desert Heat Melt – Kelly Ann Sheridan

Kelly Sheridan is an artist living in Idaho Falls, ID. She teaches High School Art at Compass Academy. She extracts her happiness from the Rocky Mountains there. When Kelly isn’t in her studio or teaching, you can find her outside. In the warm months, you can find her on a road bike or mountain bike exploring her new home state of Idaho as well as Utah and Wyoming. She grew up in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, a magnificent green, lush pocket of the world. She also has a love for backpacking. You can find mint tea bags, sour patch kids, and Faber-Castell Grey Value Markers as her favorite non-essential essentials in her pack.

Blue Ridge Melt - Kelly Ann Sheridan
Blue Ridge Melt – Kelly Ann Sheridan

Facebook: Kelly Sheridan Art
Instagram: kellyannsheridanart
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Grand Tetons 3 - Kelly Ann Sheridan
Grand Tetons 3 – Kelly Ann Sheridan
Forest Melt - Kelly Ann Sheridan
Forest Melt – Kelly Ann Sheridan


  1. Peg Sheridan

    Your written words and your art are inspiring, and I can relate to all of it, as a lover of nature and art!


    1. Hatie Parmeter

      Thanks for reading, Peg! We agree 🙂 Happy trails! -Hatie


  2. Molly Backman

    Wow! All of the artwork and words DO perfectly describe Kelly! Thanks for taking my mind on a expressive, melting adventure while reading about you.


    1. Hatie Parmeter

      Thanks for joining us, Molly! 🙂


  3. Lauren Sheridan

    Beautiful writing AND art- I’m lucky to have a melting landscape hanging in my apartment!


    1. Hatie Parmeter

      You are a lucky duck, Lauren!! Thanks for reading 🙂


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