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.
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.
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.”