Photographer Profile

My name is Melissa Howell and I specialize in custom portrait design for your home. You can visit my official photography website at to view more of my work and to contact me to set up a consultation.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Start With Why

I recently read the book Start With Why by Simon Sinek. In the book, the author posits that only those businesses with a clear sense of why will be successful. It's not enough to know what you do, or how you do it. People respond to why you do what you do. I was surprised to find that there is an interview with him on BYUtv and I found it very interesting to watch as he helped other people discover their why. You can watch the segment here.

He gave an example in his book of a man and a woman on a first date. The woman asks the man what he does, and he says something like, "I run my own consulting business. I am the most highly-paid consultant in the city, and I drive a Mercedes and know Brad Pitt on a first name basis!" How likely is it that this guy will get a second date? Not likely at all. But what if he answers this way? "I am so lucky that I get to help people every day to realize their goals. I can't tell you how great it feels when one of my consulting clients achieves something really important to them. This has provided a great living for me, and I've been really blessed to meet some well-known and influential people along the way." Now will he get a second date? Highly likely, because he explained his why. He loves to help other people. That's why he's a consultant. He also explained some results of his work, but they were not the main focus like they were in the first scenario.

I highly recommend this book! If you've already read it, let me know what you thought about it. And later, I'll explain MY why.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Creamy Peach Delight

I know the calendar says it's fall, but it's been in the 80s here in Denver. And the peaches are at their peak! So it's time for one more summer dessert. We bought a peach tree in the spring and planted it in our backyard. I was happy that we actually got some peaches off of it, and that they ripened before the first frost here in Denver. Regrettably, the peaches were small and few, so I needed to find a new recipe to try since there weren't enough peaches for my favorite peach dessert. I found a recipe on the internet and it was a big hit with our dinner guests. I have altered it slightly so the crust is not so thick (I felt that it overshadowed the peaches, which should be the star). So stock up on some ripe peaches and treat yourself to a last taste of summer!

Creamy Peach Delight
For the crust:
12 whole graham crackers, crushed
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/4 cup white sugar

For the filling:
4 1/2 cups miniature marshmallows
1/4 cup milk
1 pint heavy cream
1/3 cup white sugar
6 large, fresh peaches; peeled, pitted, and sliced.

Combine the graham cracker crumbs, melted butter, and sugar. Mix well and press into the bottom of a 9x13 pan, reserving 1/4 cup for topping.

Heat the marshmallows and milk in a pan on the stove over low heat until marshmallows are completely  melted. Remove and cool.

Whip cream until soft peaks form. Add 1/3 cup sugar and whip until stiff peaks form. Mix with the cooled marshmallows. Spread 1/2 of mixture over graham cracker crust. Layer the sliced peaches on top, then cover with the rest of the marshmallow/cream mixture. Sprinkle reserved crust over the top and refrigerate until time to serve.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011


I have been lucky the past few years to do the dance recital portraits for On Pointe School of Dance in Parker, Colorado. Earlier this year, they did a production of Cinderella. The minions in the play (not to be confused with the minions in Despicable Me) had very dramatic hair and makeup. After I did my regular editing, I played around with some of my favorite images, doing a darker, desaturated treatment. I love the feel of these images. The first one is full-body, and the second is cropped and further tweaked. Which one do you like best?

Monday, September 26, 2011

If You're Getting Married....

I met Jessica online in a roundabout way via Facebook. I found out she lived just around the corner from me, and we became fast friends. Jessica is a photographer. And she is awesome. She specializes in weddings, and you MUST see her work, because it is phenomenal. We have gotten together a few times to share our secrets with each other. One night we practiced some new techniques on each other. Here are some of my favorite shots of her. And really, if I weren't me, I'd want to be her. She is the funnest, most positive, stylish and all-around wonderful person. I love being around her. And if you're getting married (or know someone who is) you will love being around her, too. Check out her work at Flourish Photography.

Friday, September 23, 2011

The Perfect Date Night Movie

A friend came over one night and said, "You have to watch this movie!" I'd never heard of it before, but it looked like it might be a mildly good movie. I have to say that after watching it, I LOVE this movie. First of all, it stars Christopher Gorham (who I fell in love with when I saw him in The Other Side of Heaven. He was also on Ugly Betty and starred in Jake 2.0). Alyssa Milano is the girl who falls for him-and another charming fellow. It's the classic struggle of who to choose, while hiding a secret of her own that could destroy everything. In the end, there's a surprising twist, and suddenly, everything makes sense. I love this movie because it's completely CLEAN, and completely charming. And there are plenty of Star Wars references to keep any guy happy who is watching it with you :) My Girlfriend's Boyfriend

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Banner Boutique Makes You Look Chic!

When we lived in California, I became friends with Martha Stewart. I don't mean the real Martha Stewart. I mean someone who was just like her talent-wise (but kinder and cuter other-wise). Lindsay was a true friend--someone who would drop whatever she was doing to help anyone out. She was one of those people you just loved to be around, because somehow she made you feel better about yourself without even trying. She was just good.

When I was pregnant with my third child, she gave me a gorgeous raw-silk pillow with a bunch of adorable headbands on it for my new baby. Since then, her headbands have taken on a life of their own, and she has a burgeoning business. After being on Etsy for quite some time, she has just launched her own website. These are the most gorgeous hair accessories, and the quality is beyond compare. She has all kinds of hair accessories--raw silk flowers, interchangeable fabric flowers, lace--everything. You will be so happy with anything you order from Banner Boutique. And even better, you can know you are doing business with a truly beautiful human being. So click on this link. (Right after you look at the samples of adorableness below). Banner Boutique

Here is my daughter at 4 months wearing one of the headbands she gave me:
Here is my niece, who has become my mascot :)

I just love this portrait and how the flower and beanie add an element of nostalgia.
O.K. Now that you've looked, you can click on the link. Here is it again. Banner Boutique

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Wall Art

One of the things I love to do is help people design their wall art. Here is a sample of what I created for Andrea and Dallin. I did an artistic treatment on all the images, and then put them in gorgeous frames. Wouldn't you just love to see something like this every day in your home? I know I would.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

What's Wrong-2 Discussion

This picture was taken with a one megapixel camera using ambient light. There was not enough light, so my shutter had to stay open too long, and my daughter moved (or I moved) which caused the image to be blurry. Having a one megapixel camera means that the quality is terrible (obviously) but even worse is that the image is underexposed. This causes the whole image to be grainy. Also, the auto white balance feature chose to make my child red in this case. I had no idea about the rule of thirds at this point (remember, I was not a professional photographer--just a mommy taking a picture of her new baby) so the composition is blah. Maybe I was looking at this picture from far away, and viewing it as a pointillistic piece of art, like those created by Serat. Because far away (very, very far away) is the only way this picture would ever look good. And even then, knowing what I know now, it would still not look good. Thank goodness I've improved since then and hopefully made it up to this poor child :)

Monday, September 19, 2011

What's Wrong-2

I took this picture before I was a professional photographer. The problem is, I actually thought this was good! So good, in fact, that I used it for my daughter's birth announcements. I just can't explain what I was thinking. Maybe it was all those pregnancy hormones that hadn't gotten out of my body yet and were messing with my judgment skills. So, barring the yellow blobs (I blurred out the birth announcement information) what is wrong with this picture?

Friday, September 16, 2011

Chocolate Peanut Butter Heaven

The real name of this confection is "Buckeye Cake." That sounds unappetizing to me. So I changed it. A lady who spoke at church last Sunday said she thought when she went to Heaven she would just be relaxing, enjoying the scenery and eating chocolate. If that is case, I really hope they have this in Heaven. It is so stinkin' delicious. Cut very small pieces, because this cake is super rich. A little goes a long way. Which is good (or bad, depending on how many people you are sharing this with).

Cake ingredients:
2 large eggs
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
3/4 cups all purpose flour
6 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted (I just used regular salted butter)
3 oz. baking chocolate, melted (or use 9 Tbps. chocolate baking powder and 3 Tbsp. oil)
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/8 tsp. salt

Peanut Butter layer:
3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
3/4 cup powdered sugar

2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips (12 oz. package)
1 cup heavy whipping cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 9-inch cake pan. Line bottom of pan with parchment paper; grease. (I don't use parchment paper, but I do grease the pan really well, because you have to get the cake out of the pan).

For cake: Combine eggs and sugar in large bowl. Stir in remaining ingredients until smooth. Pour into pan. Bake for 25 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool on wire rack for 5 minutes. Run knife around edge of cake; cool for an additional 10 minutes. Invert cake onto serving platter. Remove pan and parchment; cool completely.

For peanut butter layer: Beat peanut butter, butter, and vanilla extract in medium mixer bowl until combined. Gradually beat in powdered sugar. Spread mixture on cake. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

For ganache: Heat cream in small saucepan to boiling; remove from heat. Add semi-sweet morsels; let stand 5 minutes. Stir; refrigerate for 30 minutes or until mixture is spreadable. Spread chocolate on top and sides of cake. (I just pour it on top and let it run down the sides).

Keep in refrigerator until ready to serve.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

What's Wrong--1 Discussion

Yesterday I posted this picture. It was from my very first photo session. I asked a friend to let me practice on her family. I hung a white sheet from my ceiling in front of my sliding glass door and used natural light. I also used a point and shoot 1 MEGAPIXEL camera. I know! But that was back in the day....

As you can see, there are numerous problems with this photo. First of all, there was not enough light to turn the background white. In fact, you really need studio lights if you want a truly white background. There was also not enough distance between me and the subjects, so I ended up cutting off parts of their body that should have been in the frame. Because of the lack of light and the fact that my camera only had one megapixel, the whole image is grainy. There is also a blue color cast because I had no idea about white balance back then, and when you let the camera determine that for you, 90% of the time, it's going to be wrong. (I just came up with that percentage on my own. I once heard that Auto White Balance really stands for Auto Wrong Balance, and I totally believe it!)

So, don't take pictures like this! And especially don't take pictures like this and then charge money for them! (Luckily, I hardly charged anything when my work was crappy. So, you know, you get what you pay for!)

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

What's Wrong--1

A series in which I post horribly embarrassing pictures from my early days as a "fauxtographer" and you get to tell me what is wrong with them. Leave your critique in the comments sections. Check back tomorrow for my assessment.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

And the Winner Is...

Becca Oliver! Thank you, everyone for becoming a follower and liking me on Facebook! I will be posting new content every day (except weekends) so be sure to check back often! Have a wonderful day!


Monday, September 12, 2011

Andrea and Dallin Wedding Reception {Blackstone Country Club}

When she was a teenager, she used to drive by the large, beautiful building set atop a hill and dream of having her wedding reception there. On September 2nd, 2011, her dream came true. And it was a dream come true for her new husband, too. The Blackstone Country Club is on a golf course, and he is mad for golfing.

Of course, something always goes wrong at a wedding (or wedding reception). They had gotten married in Utah the day before, and on the plane to Colorado, Andrea's makeup exploded in her suitcase and got all over her clothes. This caused a slight delay to our photo session before the reception. And then during the shoot, it started to rain. However, there were no mosquitoes, so we can be thankful for that :) Despite all the setbacks, we were still able to get some GORGEOUS images to remember the day.

A big congratulations to Andrea and Dallin!

Friday, September 9, 2011

How to Choose a Great Photographer

(This is a repost from last year, but I feel it's full of great information that bears repeating).

Pick me! Pick me! That's all you need to know.

O.K., seriously folks, I ran across the website of another photographer tonight, and I started thinking about how people pick someone to photograph their children and families. I realized that it may be difficult to separate the good photographers from the bad, and to be able to tell what really "good" photography is. You may have had a friend come to you, giving you glowing reports about a photographer and showing you the cute pictures of their smiling children. Cute smiling kids must equal a great photographer, right? Not necessarily. Please consider the following:

Most new photographers suffer from a terrible syndrome. It is called "I am so awesome that I can hardly believe I'm real." I admit that I suffered from this syndrome at one point. Even though I had seen photography from really, really great and famous photographers, I somehow could not see that my photography was woefully lacking compared to theirs. All I knew is that my friends said I was awesome, and that was good enough for me. Of course, this syndrome was also tempered by the "I'm so terrible I can't believe people would actually pay me money" syndrome. This is a good syndrome to have! It pushed me to learn and grow and increase my skills. Unfortunately, some photographers only have the first syndrome, and never the second. Here are the telltale signs:

1. They post all 247 pictures from a session on their website with no editing whatsoever. There are loads of blurry pictures, images of babies crawling out of the scene, and even pictures that are corrupted where most of the frame is green.

2. They do "selective color," and do it badly. Everybody loves the black and white pictures of the little girl where only the pink rose is in color. But watch out for abnormally-colored eyes and other wonky colors that look fake. It means they probably are. Selective color should be used sparingly and add to the feel of the picture. It shouldn't be done just because Photoshop makes it possible.

3. They charge too little for their sessions and prints. I once read a book about photography that gave the advice to avoid any photographer who charged less than $100 for a session. At the time, I charged less than $100, so I thought this was bad advice. Looking back, I can tell you that it is, in fact, very good advice. Good photography is an investment. If you only want to pay for cheap photography, you'll get cheap photography. I understand that not everybody can afford hundred-dollar sessions. In my mind, it's something worth saving up for. You want beautiful portraits that will stand the test of time and not be thrown in a drawer.

4. Good photography is all about the light. A tell-tale sign of an amateur photographer is little round pinpoints of white in the eyes of his subjects. This means he has used on-camera flash, which is a total mood-killer and makes the pictures look anything but professional. Good light should most often come from the side, and you should be able to see a catchlight in the eyes. It can be any shape and come from any direction (especially in natural-light situations) but it should rarely be right in the middle of the pupil! Good professional photographers can use flash and make it not look like flash, and it is used most often to enhance the light, not be the main light source. Many wedding photographers have to use flash because of the lighting situations they encounter, but they will diffuse it or bounce it, or do most anything not to aim it directly at their subjects. If you see a stark, very definite shadow cast by the subject, the photographer has used on-camera flash.

Whew! I could go on and on. But the next time you are considering a photographer, really look at their pictures and evaluate them for more than just whether or not the subject is smiling. Choose wisely, my friends!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Restaurant-worthy Orange Chicken

I have been joking for years that if only I could figure out how to make perfect orange chicken, I could die in peace. No matter what I tried, though, it never worked. Either the breading would fall off, or it would never get crispy in the first place, or once the sauce was added, everything would get soggy. I was just about to accept the possibility that I might actually die without ever uncovering this mystery. But Eureka! One day I tried a new combination, and, again, Eureka! (I know I just said that. I may have said it prematurely the first time). Anyhoo, I don't want you to be tormented by orange chicken the way I was. So I am going to reveal the secret of how to make restaurant-worthy orange chicken in your own home. And, I am also going to give you three--yes, three sauce recipes so that you can also have sweet and sour chicken and sesame chicken. Oh, and if I have time, I'll add a lemon sauce as well.

There are two great secrets to making this perfect chicken. The first one is this:
This is called "Frying Mix" and can be found at your local Asian market. What? You don't have a local Asian market? Well, I guess you'll die crying bitter tears because you are unable to make perfect orange chicken. Or you might get over it. Or you might not care. ANYHOW, to continue, you really need this.

The second thing you absolutely must have is one of these:

This is an electric skillet. You must get one that goes up to 400 degrees. You must. It is essential. Anything lower will not work. We have a proper deep-fat fryer, but it only goes up to 375 degrees. I have searched and searched for one that goes up to 400, but they must be illegal in America. I was thinking I was going to have to go on the Chinese black market to get a fryer that goes up to 400. But I have no idea how to go on the Chinese black market, so I came up with the skillet idea instead.

Now, here's how you do it. For the chicken part, you only need three ingredients:
Chicken (1-2 breasts)
Frying Mix

Just cut up your chicken into 1/2 inch squares. Put some Frying Mix into a plastic bag, then add your chicken and shake it all about. Then do the Hokey Pokey and stick your leg out and open the fridge with it. Wait. First take the chicken out of the bag and put it on a plate (or a couple plates depending on how much chicken you are using) and put it in the fridge while you complete the Hokey Pokey. Then wait at least 1/2 hour. That's what it's all about.

Get out your electric skillet, pour in 1-2 inches of oil (enough to cover the chicken pieces when they are dropped in). Heat oil to 350 degrees. When it's about ready, get some more Frying Mix and follow the directions on the package (on mine it said to just add water, but I added ice-water). Get out your chicken and drop a few pieces at a time into the wet frying mix, then take out and drop (carefully!) into the 350 degree oil. Fry until golden. It should look like this:

See how it's kind of light and not really as brown as you would expect? That's o.k. Don't fry it longer, because no matter how long you fry it in 350-degree oil, it will never get any browner. Trust me--I've tried.

Once you've done this first fry with all the chicken, turn the skillet temperature up to 400 degrees and wait for the oil to be ready. Then re-fry all your chicken for another minute or so, until it turns a nice golden brown. It should look like this:

See how much more golden and delicious that looks? This won't work at 375, folks. It MUST be 400 degrees! Now you can make one of the wonderful sauces listed below, or just buy some sweet and sour or orange sauce at the store to make it easy on yourself. Pour it over the chicken and enjoy! Enjoy it thoroughly, because now all your dreams have come true :)

Orange Sauce (taken from The Everything Chinese Cookbook)
1/4 cup water
5 tsp. freshly squeezed orange juice
1 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 1/2 tsp. brown sugar
1/4 tsp. chili paste
1/4 tsp. sesame oil
2 tsp. corn starch

Cook sauce in small pan on stove over medium heat until it boils and thickens.

Sesame Chicken Sauce (also taken from the same cookbook)
1/2 cup water
1 cup chicken stock or broth
2 Tbsp. dark soy sauce
1/2 cup vinegar
2 tsp. chili sauce with garlic
1 large clove garlic, minced
1 tsp. rice vinegar
3/4 cup sugar
4 Tbsp. corn starch

Cook on stove over medium heat until it boils and thickens. Pour over chicken and sprinkle with sesame seeds.

Lemon Sauce (from the same cookbook again)
3 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tsp. corn starch mixed with 4 tsp. water
1/2 cup water
2 Tbsp. brown sugar
1 tsp. honey
1 Tbsp. rice wine vinegar (or rice wine)
2 tsp. soy sauce

Mix together and cook over medium heat until it boils and thickens.

Sweet and Sour Sauce (from my awesome friend Annie Easterbrook)
1/2 cup ketchup
1 cup water
1 1/4 cups sugar
3 1/2 Tbsp. corn starch
3/4 cup pineapple juice

Cook until clear and thickened.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Me and My Philosophy (Photographically Speaking)

I went to my daughter's favorite fast-food restaurant today. We ordered our food, and it came quickly and without fanfare. The fries were hot, but there was too much ice in the drink, and I noticed that the chicken breast on my sandwich was noticeably thinner than it had been in the past. We got our own napkins, straws and ketchup. Still, the food was tasty, and we quickly ate it and left. I compare this experience to several I had while living in Japan. I was teaching English there, and on Christmas, they had a party for all the teachers at a really nice restaurant. The food was GORGEOUS. It was almost too beautiful to eat. Everything was perfectly framed in a ceramic or laquer bowl or plate. The organization of the food and the colors were so pleasing to the eye. And in my bowl of soup were floating flakes of real gold. We were served expertly by lovely women wearing kimonos, and we never had to get up to get anything for ourselves. The whole experience was enchanting and unexpected.
Photography can be like the two meals I just described--or anywhere inbetween. It can be served up quickly without much thought or care, or it can be a wonderful feast where you feel like a special guest. My goal is to provide the latter experience. This starts with a pre-session consultation where we discuss all the aspects of your shoot so we can be as prepared as possible when the day of the shoot arrives. I show you all my products, and you get a feel for what you might like. For example, if you are interested in an album, I will ask you to bring more changes of clothing so we can get enough variety. We will also choose more backdrops for your shoot if it is in my studio. If you want a large portrait to hang over your fireplace or piano, we will discuss whether it needs to be horizontal or vertical, and plan accordingly.

After the shoot, I actually come to your home to show you your images. While there, I will walk around with you and find the perfect location for all your prints, so you don't have to worry about where to hang your artwork. We'll pick out frames together, and your completed artwork will be delivered right to your front door! No more taking prints to the framers and worring about transporting them there and back.

The bottom line is, I am like that kimono-clad server at a sumptuous dinner. You don't have to get up. You don't have to worry about a thing. I am here to serve you gorgeous artwork of your family. And who knows? There may just be a few surprise specks of gold, too :)

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Relaunch Celebration!

I am so excited to announce the re-launch of my photography blog!
To celebrate, I am inviting YOU to become a follower! This is what
you’ll get in return!

1. Everyone who becomes a follower will automatically be entered
to win a $50 gift card from!

2. When you become a follower, you will also receive a set of three
adorable baby ballerina cards that you can print yourself! These are
5x7 cards, and you can either print flat cards or folded cards using
your favorite photo lab (like Costco). Make sure to leave your e-mail
address in a comment on my blog so I know where to send them!
(Scroll down to see images of the cards).

3. My new blog is not just about photography! I’ll also post my
favorite recipes, have fun quizzes, and talk about interesting subjects
such as personality profiling and little-known movies I think you'll love.

4. Yes, it is still mostly about photography, and that means you can send me your photography questions, and I’ll answer them on the blog! I’ll also be posting really embarrassing, horrible pictures I took when I first started, and you get to tell me what’s wrong with them!

When you join the blog, you get one entry for the $50 gift card. When you go to Facebook and like Blue Prints Photography, you get another entry! (Link below, or you can just click on the "Like" button at the top of the sidebar on this blog).  When you post about this to your friends on your blog or Facebook, you get another entry! Just be sure to leave a separate comment on this post for every action you take. (So if you "Like" me on Facebook, leave a comment. If you post about this with a link back to my blog on Facebook, leave another comment. If you post about this on your own blog with a link back, leave another comment. I think you get the picture :) That will give you three entries in addition to the one you already got for joining this blog!)

Here is the link to the Blue Prints Photography Blog:
Here is the link to my Facebook page:

Thanks so much for joining in my excitement! I look forward to sharing so much with you all! The drawing for the $50 gift card will be held on Monday, September 12th if I have reached my goal of 500 followers! (If I haven't reached my goal by then, the drawing will be delayed until I do, so tell all your friends to join the blog as soon as possible!)

Melissa Blue Howell

Here are the three adorable cards you'll get when you become a follower!

Friday, September 2, 2011

In Their Own Words.... {Denver Family Photographer}

We recently had the opportunity to have Melissa take our family portraits!  For those of you who follow Melissa's blog and don't know us, we're the Johnsons. Logan (1 year old), Milli (3 years old), Kelli (Mom), and Chauncy (Dad).

Earlier this year, Kelli's sister Karyn introduced us to Melissa when she asked her to do some portraits of our kids.  We had seen her work before and were excited to get portraits of Milli and Logan.  Our family has had a rough year, to say the least.  On Christmas Eve, 2010, Kelli and our 5- year-old daughter Elise were involved in a tragic ski accident in Wyoming where we live.  Kelli survived, fighting through extensive injuries and was taken to a hospital in Denver for several months of rehabilitation. Unfortunately, our beautiful daughter Elise didn't survive the accident.  A snowboarder had come down the mountain at a very high rate of speed and collided with Kelli and Elise. Tragically, the snowboarder didn't survive either.  Milli and Logan are Elise's younger siblings and Logan hadn't gotten any baby pictures before the accident occured.  We were able to have pictures taken of Milli and Logan about three months after the accident, but Kelli still had a neck brace on from neck fractures that were healing. On a checkup visit this month to Denver, we set up an appointment with Melissa for family pictures. 

The latest photos are of our family 8 months after the accident in our first family pictures without Elise.  Kelli has made a miraculous recovery with lots of love and support from family, friends, and many blessings from Heaven. We plan to have a family portrait painted by a talented artist and great friend of ours with Elise added into the painting. Because of this, we did several different poses that we can choose from to make this work. There was a special feeling at the photo shoot as we took pictures with Elise in mind.  She is missed beyond explanation every day.  Kelli continues to improve; in fact, she's now able to drive after 8 months of healing!  We are excited to see the painting when it is finished and we'll see if we can post it on Melissa's blog when it is completed.  Thanks Melissa for helping us make this happen.