Author Archive

The First Annual John Roberts Feast Day

Monday, February 28th, 2022

The First Annual John Roberts Feast Day was held at St.David’s Episcopal Church on the Wind River Reservation. It was a glorious day celebrating the life of John Roberts who devoted 66 years of ministry to the Shoshone and Arapaho people.

The speakers for the event were: Rev. Roxanne Friday, Bishop Paul-Gordon Chandler, and Willie Le Clair, an elder of the Shoshone Tribe.

Native American drum circle, and flutist played music that filled not just the church, but filled our souls.

Bishop Chandler commissioned me to write an icon of Rev.Roberts which would be blessed on the feast day. it was beautiful to hear the blessing, and watch members of the church cedar the icon.

The afternoon ended with a traditional feast.

I am already looking forward to the 2nd John Roberts Festival.


Wednesday, February 2nd, 2022

Psalm141:2It felt good the other day when I went in to one of the local financial offices and saw my art “Psalm141:2” hanging on the wall.

It was actually like running in to an old friend when I saw it.

It was a reminder to thank all who have promoted my work, or purchased my art for display either privately or publicly.

Sincerely, Thank You.


Friday, February 26th, 2021

Christ of the Frontier, 24"x 30", Contemporary Icon Mixed Media with 23 Kt GoldImmense and majestic, sacred and transforming, that was my prayer when I was creating Christ of the Frontier.

I see Christ in those four descriptive words, and also feel they represent the spirit of Wyoming.

Our beloved state is rugged and weather can be harsh. I’ve had friends and family over the years wonder why we chose to live here, until they came for a visit. They step out of the car looking up at a clear sky and breathe in the fresh air, and breathe out all the busyness of a life spent elsewhere. Suddenly the barren wide open spaces and the wind that tried to blow their car off the road, seem almost charming. They have been transformed.

The Rt.Rev. Paul-Gordon Chandler commissioned me to create artwork for his Ordination and Consecration to be held on February 13, 2021. The Bishop -Elect asked for the art to represent Christ on the frontier. We discussed what needed to be included to represent Wyoming, and I then started sketching an image, fusing the holy with the wilderness.

Christ is the heart of the artwork, with God’s ever-changing Western Sky in the background. Included is the Grand Tetons, Bison in the grasslands, Sage with Indian Paint Brush, Eagle feathers –symbolic of connection with the Creator. Also Wyoming’s natural resources are represented by the mining symbol in Christ’s nimbus. There’s a map of Wyoming in the foreground with the buttes, valleys, mountain ranges, lakes, rivers, roads, cities, and towns. As I collaged the map on the wood I imagine traveling those roads, visiting the towns and chatting with its locals. Lastly in the lower left of the painting is what looks like a building that has seen better days, but this rustic landmark is significant to the Episcopal Church in Wyoming. The building is the Mission House, the oldest standing Episcopal Church in Wyoming. The stories the Mission House could tell if only the walls could talk. I encourage all who travel through the Wind River Indian Reservation to take time to visit this holy ground.

Christ of the Frontier is mixed media, a fusion of oil paint, 23kt gold, wood, paper, and prayers. Just as the Mission House still stands to tell a story of Christ on the frontier, I hope this Contemporary Icon tells a story of Christ with us here in Wyoming, transformed.

God’s Peace, Melissa Strickler

Lander Artist Created Work for Bishop’s Consecration

Friday, February 26th, 2021

February 13, 2021

5th Anniversary – Alchemy a artists’ cooperative

Monday, November 9th, 2020

5th Anniversary Alchemy

Radiation Mask – Transformed

Monday, November 9th, 2020

A young man, who I have basically known from the day he was born asked me to paint his mask,… his radiation mask that he wore during his radiation treatments to attack and destroy a cancer I can’t even pronounce.

This strange sterile looking object arrived in the mail, and I didn’t know where to start. Like so many who have had treatments during this time of the pandemic, it has adds an extra layer of difficulty, and the days of someone being there, and holding your hand is out the window.

I had to imagine where my own mind would need to go, while being anchored to a table for several minutes day after day, after day.

Personally I would want to envision color, light, a garden, words of encouragement, and so on.

That is what inspired “The Place the Mind Must Go”.
Healing and Peace for Joe.

Kindness is the Chain

Tuesday, April 28th, 2020

Kindness is the Chain
Melissa Strickler used the front window of the Alchemy artists cooperative in downtown Lander for a hand-painted message of cooperation and appreciation as the community addresses the ongoing coronavirus crisis.

Photo by Mary Kay Baldez

Saint Matthew, Saint Mark, Saint Luke, and Saint John

Wednesday, April 8th, 2020

Installation of the Four Gospels took place on April 4th, just in time for the start of Holy Week, 2020.
They adorn the alter at Saint Joseph’s Catholic Church in Auburn Nebraska.

ALCHEMY is closed.

Monday, April 6th, 2020

We will be following the local and state government guidelines for closure and reopen dates.

Stay home, Stay safe

ALCHEMY is closed.


Monday, April 6th, 2020

RAD WOMEN: Art Show, Riverton Branch Library, Riverton Wyoming

March 1st – March 31 2020
March 25 Reception Postponed due to Covid19 Pandemic
To attend the exhibition, go to facebook/Rivertonbranchlibrary and click the virtual show

A Toast to Esther!

Monday, April 6th, 2020

It was an honor to be awarded Best of Show at the Women’s Suffrage Exhibition.
But I think the best moment was when we were at the opening and all the women were wearing white, raising and waving our hands in a moment of solidarity.

Esther Hobart Morris is one of many strong women who we owe a toast, a thought-filled thank you,…but even more we need to follow their footsteps.
There is a cause which leads to equality that I am sure tugs on your heartstrings.
The road can be long, tedious, and at times feel futile, even worse some changes we might not see in our life time,
but what if those determined, gutsy women would not have pursued their dream for true equality, where would we be today? I don’t want to go there.
Here’s to you Esther!

Heading Home

Monday, April 6th, 2020

Heading Home Melissa Strickler

The Four Gospel Icons have headed to their home,….a Catholic Church in Nebraska.
Writing these icons were a labor of love, and they are filled with prayers for the parishioners.
May they bring peace and hope to those who see them, especially in this difficult time in our country.

Plein Air in Plain Site

Wednesday, September 11th, 2019

I am challenging myself to more plein air painting this coming year. I hope to tell you, and show you by this time next year that I stuck to this challenge.

I am surrounded by natural beauty in warm, cold, bitter-cold, and windy weather. There is no reason I don’t do more painting on site,..I own a coat!

The paintings might need the finishing touches on them once I am back indoors, but I am going for it. Wish me luck.

Art on The Green

Wednesday, September 4th, 2019

Mid-August I had the privilege to participate in an art competition/exhibit in Green River, Wyoming.
It was the 15th Annual Art on the Green, a 24 hour competition.

In the 24 hours you have to work you must complete the artwork, and have it ready to exhibit,… framed, etc…
The level of talent at the show was amazing, and I was so pleased to be in this large room surrounded by such talent.

Shawna Pickinpaugh, one of my fellow Alchemy Artists Cooperative members was along side me working on her incredible
Qwink artwork ( check her work out ). Green River is Shawna’s old stomping ground, where she taught at one time, and several of her past students, now successful artists were also competing.

This was not just 2D work, but also 3D, so the sculptors were hard at it. It was hard not to watch others painting or sculpting.

I was tearing and gluing at a quick speed needed to finish my work in the allotted time, but I did it, with a little time to spare. It was really challenging and fun.
Once you were finished, your art was ready for a silent auction.

The Green River Arts Council hosted a lovely banquet afterward, where the the 3 judges were introduced.
I was pleased to receive 3rd Place in Artists Choice, and also 3rd place in Judges Choice in the 2D category.

I don’t know what next year hold for me in August, but if I am available I would love to be back in Green River, at Art on The Green.

The Garden Party Opening

Thursday, June 27th, 2019

The Garden Party Opening was a lovely evening in June, when the unseasonably cold summer decided to cooperate and warm to a nice temp.

Chokecherry Mojitos were served along with cucumber sandwiches, melt in the mouth cookies and other goodies.

The ladies and gents who attended the opening were greeted with music by Melissa Scheer and Deryle Matland,..oh and yes, Ricky Nelson’s Garden Party was sung.

The flowers were just starting to bloom in Lander, so we picked what we had blooming at our homes, and raided a few flower beds around town, so we could have plenty of vases of fresh blooms scattered about.

Myself, along with the three other artists were appreciative for all who turned out for the opening, and we hope our floral art and jewelry made everyone feel summer and it’s colors are here to stay for a while.

As Nike Says…

Thursday, June 27th, 2019

Garden Party ShowJust do it.

My imagination leads me to see what I want to create, but how to make it happen can be be a different matter.

I pictured this mosaic with ceramic flowers, titled Ring of Posies for over a year, knowing I wanted to make it for the Garden Party Show.

It came together, but not without a few mishaps, but in the end I was pleased with the finished work.
Will I make more? You bet. Will I not wait to finish it until a week before an exhibition? Definitely.

What is a garden party to you?

Tuesday, June 4th, 2019

The Lander Art Center has asked the four artists to give their Artist Statement for the Garden Party Exhibition.

The question was asked to us, “What is a garden party to you?”

Keeper of the Garden, Oil on Aluminum, 30"x 30"

Melissa Strickler – Artist Statement

Grandmother’s red Cana Lilies growing through her rickety fence, with lightening bugs dancing all around,… this is my image of a Garden Party.

Grandpa’s multi-color Zinnias, thick and waist high lining the outside of his gas station, and customers picking some flowers to take home with them,…this is my image of a Garden Party.

Mother’s bright orange Poppies waving gently in the wind, and the purple Iris releasing their spicy scent in the air as the evening sun sets on a sky of coral,…this is my image of a Garden Party.

Dad’s determined spirit to grow roses in soil that was un-forgiving, and always taking time to push his kids, and then grandkids in the well-worn wheelbarrow,…this is my image of a Garden Party.

Along with my husband, I watch as our honeybees methodically extract nectar from the flowers, and retrieve pollen, then back to the hives they go.

They don’t mind us, and we are intrigued by them. This is my image of a Garden Party.

The colors, scent, and sounds of gardens and gardeners I have known inspired my work for this exhibition.

Take a moment and close your eyes, and visit a long forgotten garden.

Summer is finally here, and so is the Garden Party Exhibition!

Tuesday, June 4th, 2019

Opening is June 7th, 6:00 – 8:00 PM.
4 Woman Show
Exhibition will be displayed until July 20, 2019
Come enjoy the party, the Garden Party!

Lander Art Center, 224 Main Street, Lander, WY 82520
(307) 332-5772

The Higher the Hair the Closer to God, Well Then……

Tuesday, March 19th, 2019

Okay, I like that saying, especially when it is attached to an image of Dolly Parton, because we all love Dolly.

Lately I have been working on a big piece of art, and it has been so much fun. It is one of my mixed media pieces, collage along with oil paint.
It has been a little bit like playing Twister as I have worked on it.
On more than one occasion my one-foot balancing has not gone well, and I have found my foot in paint. Humbled, I then hop off the canvas.
Oh well, just another paint and glue mess to clean.

I love working on detailed work,… basically working until yours eyes can’t focus on anything more than 2 feet in front of you (iconographer’s will understand this). BUT, I also love working on big, and even bigger art, where tiny details don’t matter, but instead I have to challenge myself to see the big picture, literally.

So, if The Higher the Hair, the Closer to God, well then the bigger I work, the closer to heaven. That’s what it feels like to me.

The Garden Party Exhibition, coming June 7 – July 20, 2019

You are Invited to a Party,… a Garden Party!

Friday, March 8th, 2019
Rose of Lima Icon

Saint Rose of Lima
Patron saint of gardeners and florists

Garden Party Exhibition
June 7 – July 20th, 2019
Lander Art Center
Lander, Wyoming
Opening 6:00 PM, June 7th, 2019

If you are in the area, stop in and see this exhibit, inspired by gardens, florals, and the beauty of the nature that surround us.

Melissa Strickler, Lennie Poitras, Katie Stewart, Cristin Zimmer are the exhibiting artists.

Come enjoy this 4 Women Show, and if you have the need to wear a breezy dress and a large sun hat,…please do!