Native Floridian

Megan Kissinger traditionally employs charcoal or paint on canvas in her fine art. Perhaps it is her background in scientific illustration that helps her to present the beauty and the connectedness that she sees in every aspect of the natural universe, but it is her passion that drives her attempt to “make viewers aware of how everything in the world is connected in some way.” In order to show the structures and designs in nature, Kissinger loves to get up close to things that normally aren’t accessible, like birds and butterflies, to bridge the magical distance that wild things have learned to maintain for their safety. That detailed precision is complemented by combinations of radiant colors in the sweeping settings in many of her paintings. Her compelling compositions do in fact reveal her fascination with light and line. “I can get lost,” the fine artist admits, “in late afternoon and twilight shadows—sweeping and arching lines— and in scenes like the dappled light of oak hammocks and pine scrub.”

In Her Own Words:

“I am an acrylic painter. I work traditionally with canvas and begin every new piece with charcoal sketching and I under-paint in a wash of complimentary color before beginning the final painting. I like to put the paint on in many thin layers, sometimes hundreds, using both glazes and scrubbed in paint to get the feeling of light and shadow. While I sketch and take photographs of my subject matter, I prefer to paint in my studio so that the light is consistent and I can take lots of time to really think about the piece.”

The Artist and the Everglades  Kissinger grew up in Perdido Bay near Pensacola but has lived in the Everglades for 25 years. “I really love the sense of place we have here on the southwest coast. Especially if you visit some of the inland small towns like LaBelle and Alva that are east of Ft. Myers on the Caloosahatchee River. The people there go back a few generations and they can tell you things about the history and the environment you would never know if you didn’t have those conversations.” She often paints scenes along the Caloosahatchee River near the Town of Alva because it’s overlooks a couple of oxbow islands. “I’ve always loved these river islands because they are so much a part of Old Florida—when you kayak around them, you still see how the river looked when it was allowed to make its own decisions on where it wanted to go. The sabal palms and oak trees create such a wonderful contrast with each other. As an artist, painting that combination, you can’t beat the shadow play that can happen at any time of the day. And the habitat on the oxbow islands seems to stay more stable without all the invasive non-native plants so they are also great places for rookeries and wildlife.”