Krystii Melaine is a figurative and portrait artist, currently exploring the lives of the people of the American West. Classically trained in the realist tradition of the old masters, Krystii captures the essence of each personality and provides us with a glimpse into their lives, using the richness and subtlety of oil paints on linen to tell their stories.
Born in the Australian town of Bairnsdale, Victoria, Krystii Melaine was a quiet child who carefully observed the people and animals encountered in her life. Announcing at the age of four that she was going to be an artist, Krystii won her first art competition at seven. By the age of fourteen, she was selling paintings and accepting commissions. Following university studies in painting, drawing, photography and graphic design, Krystii established her own fashion design company, and in nine years she developed it into one of the largest bridal and evening-wear companies in Australia. Through the process of designing and fitting gowns for individual clients, Krystii gained an intimate knowledge of the human form and the structure of clothing, which informs her portraiture and figurative paintings today.
A burning desire to return to painting led Krystii to five years of study in traditional tonal realism and the oil-painting techniques of the old masters with renowned Australian artist, Graham Moore. Drawing on Moore’s 80 years of artistic experience provided her with a strong background in portraiture, figurative and still life painting. Krystii’s fascination with people and animals naturally made them the major focus of her paintings. A trip to the USA in 1998 was the catalyst for her ongoing personal journey of exploration and discovery of the American West. Krystii’s paintings capture the many individuals encountered on her travels, recording moments in their contemporary lives, or re-creating the lives of their ancestors who shaped the history of the region. Horses are an integral part of this rich tapestry of Western life, whether as the working partner of cowboys or an essential element of survival and culture for Native Americans. The distinctive wildlife of this region is another facet of Krystii’s repertoire, rounding out her telling of the stories of the West.
Krystii has recently moved with her husband Michael, from Australia to Spokane, Washington, to be closer to her favorite region and its people. Moving to the USA has also inspired Krystii to begin painting the westward expansion of settlers in the 1800’s, feeling an affinity with their hopes for life in a new place. Indepth research informs her historical paintings, and her skills as a fine artist allow us to connect with the people and feel we know them. Once all the elements and details of a painting have been thoroughly researched and planned, Krystii sketches the composition on a linen panel, then applies a loose wash of color and tone to establish the basic concept. Working alla prima, she begins at the focal point and completes each area as she works, paying careful attention to all of the myriad elements that make up a successful work of art.
Krystii also paints traditional portraits on commission. Her skill in capturing an accurate likeness in a strong, painterly style has led to many official and private portraits.
Recognized as one of the premier fine artists in Australia and the USA, Krystii’s work is regularly exhibited in major art museums and world-class exhibitions. An impressive list of awards includes Best of Show 2D at Cowgirl Up! and at Heart of the West , The Painting Award at the Buffalo Bill Art Show in Cody, Best of Show at Nature Works in Oklahoma four times, The Award of Merit – Bird in Arts For The Parks, Wyoming, and many from the Wildlife Art Society of Australasia. Articles about Krystii’s work have appeared in magazines including Southwest Art, Art of the West, Western Art Collector, Wildlife Art, Wildscape, U.S. Art and InformArt, and in several books.
Krystii Melaine’s compelling oil paintings document her personal journey of discovery in the American West, capturing the varied personalities and telling their stories with all the skills of a master fine artist.