Having moved out to remote areas of Montana for work after college, Melissa DiNino (b.1993) found herself in places that were steeped in quiet contemplation. As a range rider, she worked at the heart of small ranching communities where she monitored cattle and tracked wolves and grizzlies by horseback. She learned how the resiliency of rural communities relies on its relationships – both human and non-human. When she began painting in 2018, she turned to the subject matter that was most familiar – the rural west and traditional ties to the landscape, but through a feminine lens.
Largely self-taught, Melissa works primarily with watercolors, inspired by her mother who has worked with the medium all her life. By 2020, she completed a large-scale private commission consisting of thirty-eight paintings and was named southwest art magazine’s “21 under 31: young artists to watch.”
She explores the softness found in a life that is often hard — one that is rooted in the rhythms of the landscape on which it relies — and exposes the beauty and simplicity of those moments that are easily overlooked.