Krystii Melanie | Love of the West

By Gussie Fauntleroy
Rope and Reins, oil, 32 x 24 by Krystii Melanie
Rope and Reins, oil, 32 x 24 by Krystii Melanie

Australian painter Krystii Melaine had a childhood that left her well prepared for a future career in the often solitary business of art-making—but it also left her dubiously prepared to function in the world. “I was absolutely the shyest kid ever invented,” she relates. “It seems like I didn’t say anything to anybody until I was 17. Then in high school I got a job as a waitress, I was out there on my own, and it was a rude awakening because I realized I had to talk.”

Now 43, she appears to have lost any trace of reluctance with words. She speaks quickly, humorously, and warmly as she gazes out over miles of eucalyptus trees and sheep-ranching land from her hilltop home in the middle of nowhere, south of Sydney, New South Wales. Melaine and her husband don’t actually have sheep on their 75 acres, just flocks of wild parrots and cockatoos and a hundred or so wild kangaroos who, until they put up fences, “used to eat the garden and get up on the veranda and look in the window at night,” she says.

It’s an isolated, expansive, and quiet place, ever so slightly reminiscent of the even larger landscape she admires in the American West. But nothing in Australia, she concedes, can match the scale and grandeur of the Rocky Mountains or the visual connection to history provided by a cowboy in spurs. That’s why the artist returns to Wyoming and other parts of the western United States as often as three times a year. It’s the seemingly endless source of most of her artistic inspiration these days.

Just as Melaine has become something of a globetrotter, her art has found an international welcome, gaining numerous collectors and honors in the United States…

Featured in July 2007


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