Mel McCuddin


MCC 1358 Equestrian Hug

Brief history and statement about my work: I was born in Spokane Washington in 1933.  I studied at Eastern Washington University, Fort Wright College and the Spokane Arts Center (an extension of Washington State University).

My early paintings were abstract expressionist for the most part and gradually evolved into my present style as I felt the need to more precisely communicate my thoughts.  My method of painting, however, has not changed, and I still approach a painting in the same way.  I begin a painting with no idea in mind, and at a certain point in the process of putting paint on the canvas, an idea will suggest itself.  Many of these ideas change and many are rejected until one seems strong enough to accept.  My paintings, then, are essentially a record of the evolution of an idea.

The imagery that has developed over the course of my career is largely figurative.  The figures are both animal and human, and most of them relate to human actions, associations and relationships, many of which are drawn from personal experience.

My technique has evolved through years of painting, as has my imagery.  I paint directly on the sized canvas, with no preliminary drawing or outline.  The paint is poured, dripped, rubbed and wiped, and I use rags and my fingertips at least as frequently as I do brushes.  The decisions made concerning color, light space etc. are largely intuitive.

The color is treated generally by under painting with warm colors overlaid with cooler ones.  This technique gives an inner glow to the paint.  I use mostly single figures, either animal or human forms, with a strong relationship between the figure and the background (usually a light figure against a dark ground or vice versa).  I find a single figure to be more visually powerful than groups of figures; consequently most of my paintings consist of single subjects.  Many times the image gives the appearance of being back lighted with the light glowing around the edges.  The light is usually ambiguous, appearing to come from more than one source or no definable source whatsoever.

My justification for forty years of work is that I am trying to put something worthwhile into the world and to make paintings that cannot be forgotten.



-Fort Wright College, 1965
-Spokane Art Center, 1961, 1962


-The Art Spirit Gallery, Coeur d'Alene, ID – 1999, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2008, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013
-Jewelry Studio and Art Gallery, Ashland, OR - 2004
-Tin Man Gallery, Spokane, WA - 2003, 2004
-Hot Flash, Spokane, Washington - 1998, 1999, 2000
-Pend Oreille Arts Council, Sandpoint, ID - 1996
-29th Avenue Art Works, Spokane, WA - 1996
-Contemporary Arts Alliance, Spokane, WA - 1995
-Spokane Falls Community College, Spokane, WA - 1991
-Art Downtown, Spokane, WA - 1992
-Pago Center, Pago Pago, American Samoa - 1992
-North Idaho College, Coeur d'Alene, ID - 1991
-Chase Gallery, Spokane, WA - 1989, 2002
-1001 Fourth Avenue Plaza, Seattle, WA - 1989, 1993
-Eastern Washington University, Cheney, WA - 1988
-Whitworth College, Spokane, WA – 1973, 2004
-Skagit Valley Junior College, Mt. Vernon, WA - 1987
-Plexus Gallery, Spokane, WA - 1985
-Spokane Art School, Spokane, WA - 1984, 1991
-Touchstone Center for the Visual Arts, Spokane, WA, - 1982-83
-Cheney Cowles Memorial Museum, Spokane, WA - 1980
-The Studio School, Spokane, WA - 1973
-Susila Gallery, Spokane, WA - 1968
-Trivet Tower Gallery, Portland, OR - 1966
-Fort Wright College, Spokane, WA - 1965



-“Northwest Contemporary Figuration”, N.W. Museum of Arts and Culture, Art at Work Gallery, Spokane, Washington - 2003
-Covet Gallery, Atlanta, GA – 2002
-“Paint on Hemp”, Earthworks Gallery, Spokane, WA - 2001
-“Drawn to the Wall”, Jundt Gallery, Spokane, WA - 2001 
-Four Person, Figurative Exhibition, Chase Gallery, Spokane,          WA - 2000
-“Visage”, Spokane Art School, Spokane, WA - 2000
-“Seven Artists - Seven Decades,“ Lewiston, ID - 2000
-Two Person Exhibition, Adam East M.A.C. Moses Lake, WA - 1997
-Two Person Exhibition, The Art Spirit Gallery, Coeur d'Alene, ID, - 1997-98, 2001, 2007
-Two Person Exhibition, Vita Gallery, Portland, OR - 1996-97
-"Artist Trust Grant Recipients," Traveling Exhibition, EWU, Cheney, WA - 1992
-Whitworth College, Spokane, WA - 1992
-Cowles Art Center, Spokane, WA - 1992
-“Spirit of the West", Traveling Exhibition - Washington, Idaho and Utah - 1991
"Introduction 1990: A New Decade”, William Trever Gallery, Seattle, WA - 1990
-"Up in Arms," North Idaho College, Coeur d'Alene, ID - 1989
-"Animal Imagery in Inland Northwest Art," Chase Galley, Spokane, WA - 1989
-"100 Years of Washington Art,” Tacoma Art Museum, Tacoma, WA – 1989
-"Walk on the Wild Side," Carnegie Art Center, Walla Walla, WA - 1988
-Two-Man Exhibition, Cheney Cowles Memorial Museum, Spokane, WA - 1987
-Group Exhibition, Nishinomiya, Japan - 1986
-Plexus Gallery, Spokane, WA - 1985
-“Spokane Sampler”, Cheney Cowles Memorial Museum, Spokane, WA -     1985, 1986, 19888, 1989
-Touchstone Center for the Visual Arts, Spokane, WA - 1982, 1983
-Juniper Tree Gallery, Spokane, WA - 1975
-Gonzaga University, Spokane, WA - 1969
-Office of the Secretary of State, Olympia, WA - 1967
-University of Idaho, Moscow, ID - 1966



-Instructor, Spokane Art School - 1991
-Cheney Cowles Memorial Museum Art Committee, Spokane, WA, - 1990 through 1996
-Charter Member and Past President - Touchstone Center for         the Visual Arts, Spokane,            WA 1981 - 1984



-Commission, Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena, Spokane, WA - 1995
-Artist Trust - GAP Grant, Washington - 1990-1999
-Commission, City of Spokane Fire Department, Spokane, WA - 1990
-Freemont South Award for Painting, Spokane Annual, Spokane, WA - 1964
-Honorable Mention, Spokane Annual, Spokane, WA - 1963


-The Art Spirit Gallery, Coeur d'Alene, Idaho
-Mango Tango Gallery, St. Thomas, Virgin Islands
-Hall Spassov, Bellevue, WA



-ENRON Corporation, Houston, Texas
-Washington Trust Bank, Spokane, Washington
-Washington State Arts Commission, Olympia, Washington
-Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture, Spokane, Washington
-Eastern Washington University, Cheney, Washington
-Numerous Private Collections, Nationwide