Painting the North Fork Landscape
Creative expression comes in many forms. It can be writing, painting, dance, design, and more, each offering the ultimate release unique to each artist. For Melissa Hyatt, a watercolor painter, surface pattern designer, and illustrator, these seemingly different forms of expression are intertwined. From her North Fork studio, she creates dreamy, fluid landscapes worthy of frames and fabrics. Her art, which has garnered success in its many forms, is something she wishes to share with others.
Once she had moved to the North Fork, Hyatt, who found success in textiles as an artist, color consultant, and stylist for more than 20 years, began focusing on watercolor. She had taken a class at the Southold Library, something she had not done since college, and fell back in love with it. Hyatt is known for her landscape pieces. The first sold around 2015 in a local home décor shop in Southold where she had first been asked to hang some of her work. This was the beginning of her career as a watercolor artist.
While designing a kitchen for North Fork Designer Show House in 2016, Hyatt had a revelation. “I always worked in textiles and wall coverings predominantly,” she shares. “I always worked for other companies and never did my own product. I thought, why would I buy someone else’s fabric when I can do this? That really pushed me to research companies and print my own fabrics.”
Hyatt began to formulate ways to combine her watercolor and design work. Individual sea creatures in coastal colors were painted and then combined, repeating to make a pattern. Now, licensed in the marketplace, her designs are used for wall art and fabrics. Her art has been seen on bedding and dinnerware for Martha Stewart, fabrics for Waverly Fabrics, Schumacher, Home Accent Fabrics, and Belle Maison, bedding for Westpoint Home, home décor for Pier1 Imports, and wallpaper for Brewster Wallcoverings.
Recently doing a huge makeover in her 16-year-old daughter’s bedroom, Hyatt partnered with Spoonflower in North Carolina to print fabrics, like a new duvet cover, for the project. In July, her blogpost for the company detailing the work launched, inspiring her to want to redo her own bedroom.
Often, Hyatt is working on local landscapes. “I’m always taking pictures when I’m out on the beach or walking my dog, paddleboarding, driving home from the Orient ferry,” she says. “I’m working on a collection of North Fork landscapes currently. I have a small collection of framed paintings of seashells, which became available August 1.”
Sharing her work with others means more than selling original pieces and home décor elements to Hyatt. She also teaches workshops on the North Fork to inspire others to try their hand at watercolor painting. Various sessions focus on a particular theme, like landscapes, lighthouses, or birds. Hyatt has partnered with Peconic Cellar Door, Kate’s Cheese Shop, Crazy Beans, Love Lane Kitchen, and more. She also does a lot of children’s classes in schools.
“I love to introduce watercolor to someone who hasn’t painted before,” Hyatt shares. “It’s something they may enjoy for relaxation or socially, and perhaps a gift they didn’t know they had. I love to paint so much that I want to share it with others.”
Making the decision to pursue her art and make it work for her drives Hyatt forward. She often finds herself going through photos and thinking how lucky she is to have found something she loves to do, and she aims to show her children that if you find something you are passionate about, anything is possible.