|Born in a small town in Victoria, Australia, Krystii Melaine announced at age four that she was going to be an artist, won her first art competition at seven, and was selling paintings by the age of fourteen. Following University studies in graphic design, painting and drawing, Krystii enjoyed a successful career as a fashion designer. Her company quickly grew to be one of the largest bridal and evening wear manufacturers and retailers in Australia, with a huge retail showroom and her designs wholesaled throughout Australia and New Zealand. Krystii also showed her gowns at the Paris and London fashion shows.
Unable to resist the call of her lifelong passion for painting, Krystii undertook five years of atelier study in traditional tonal realism, focusing on portraiture and still life. With her fascination for people and animals, Krystii found inspiration in the Native Americans, cowboys and wildlife of the American West. After ten years traveling twice annually from Australia to the USA to exhibit her paintings and gather new research material, Krystii and her husband moved to Spokane, Washington, in 2010 to be closer to her favorite Western subjects.
Using the rich colors and tones of oil paint in a realistic but contemporary painterly style, Krystii portrays the people and animals who shaped the West in the past and who continue its traditions today. Through intimate portraits and wider narratives, she tells their stories and brings each individual to life on her canvas. To fully understand her Native American subjects, Krystii also researches and makes replica clothing and equipment in the traditional ways with all of the intricate beadwork. She also titles many of her paintings in the language of the tribe depicted. Krystii develops her compositions on location with Native American models from several tribes, to ensure the authenticity of her paintings. She also travels widely in search of wildlife, horses, and landscapes to paint. With friends on both sides of Priest Lake, Krystii particularly enjoys exploring the beauty of the lake and seeing the Priest Lake Kokanee salmon.
Krystii’s oil paintings are regularly featured in major museum exhibitions where she is one of the small number of top-ranked female Western artists. These exhibitions include Masters of the American West at the Autry Museum of the American West in Los Angeles, California, Quest for the West at the Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art in Indianapolis, Indiana, The Buffalo Bill Art Show at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West in Cody, Wyoming, Night of Artists at the Briscoe Western Art Museum in San Antonio, Texas, and the all-female Cowgirl Up! at the Desert Caballeros Western Museum in Wickenburg, Arizona. She has 21 paintings in permanent museum collections in the USA and Australia, continues to win numerous awards including several Best of Show awards, and features in many national magazine articles.
Krystii is a Master Signature Member of the American Women Artists, and a member of the Portrait Society of America and the Oil Painters of America.