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Meet our first Featured Artist, Melissa DiNino! Melissa is an incredibly talented watercolor artist living here in Montana. We are lucky enough to have a few of her paintings on cards here in the shop. 

“Evening Star” | 14×10 inches | Watercolor on Paper
Photo by Louise Johns

Artist Statement: As an emerging watercolor artist, Melissa DiNino creates realism pieces inspired by traditional ties to the land. Originally a range rider, she began painting during her off-season in 2018 as a way to reminisce on the soft, quiet margins of the rural west. She currently resides in a one-room dry cabin on a small ranch in northwest Montana where she spends her days between ranch chores and painting.

Where are you from?: I was born in Connecticut and currently live in Potomac, Montana. 

How did you get started in the arts: I’ve always expressed myself creatively through different mediums, but I didn’t start painting until recently. I grew up watching my mom paint with watercolors, but somehow I never managed to play with it much myself. Two years ago I finally decided to give it a try, and I haven’t put down my paint brushes since. It’s now been a year that I’ve been dedicating myself to my art full-time.

“Grey Ghost” | 14×10 inches | Watercolor on Paper

Why fly fishing art: All of my fly fishing pieces so far are commissions. Although visually simple, my paintings often carry a lot of meaning. The first fly I painted was a grey ghost streamer. It was actually a gift for my parents’ neighbor in Connecticut — it took me moving out to Montana to learn that he is an avid fly fisherman who ties all of his flies. Just like those folks, I appreciate capturing the same small, intricate details with my paintbrush. The grey ghost streamer is his prized fly, and when he gave me the tiny hand-painted box that contained it, he shared the whole backstory with me. Hearing how much this fly meant to him lended a lot of purpose to my work. A person’s favorite fly can carry so much love. It’s pretty special to be trusted to capture that in a painting for someone. 

Favorite fly: I still have so much to learn and experience with fly fishing before I can claim a favorite of my own! Right now I just fall in love with other people’s favorites, but hopefully I’ll be able to answer this question one day soon.

Words to live by/fish by: “Focus on nothing. See everything.”

“Lady Caroline” | 14×10 inches | Watercolor on Paper

Other favorite artists: The first that come to mind are two incredibly talented local Montana artists Morgan Irons and Meghan Purcell, but that’s also because they’re dear friends of mine. 

Find more of Melissa’s work at and on her social media channels @melissa_dinino on Instagram; Melissa DiNino Studio on Facebook