Melissa began working in watercolor over 26 years ago, and considers herself largely self-taught in the medium. Large acrylic format painting, pastels, colored pencil, pen & ink, and airbrush are mediums also familiar to the artist. Education includes advanced placement study in fine arts at Ohio University in 1972 and 1973. Received a Visual Communications Degree in advertising from The Art Institute of Pittsburgh in 1976.

The artist's initial foray into commercial art began with a position as a studio illustrator. A natural progression led her into graphic design and finally as an advertising agency and freelance art director. Her artistic career has now come full circle, back to her first love, portrait illustration and painting.

Melissa, a formal portrait artist, is a special fan of bikers, the bikes they love, and the one-of-a-kind stories behind the unique combination of bike and rider. It was the combined subject matter of man and machine as a single personal expression or extension of the human personality attracted the artist to this particular form of portrait painting.

"I was intrigued by the unique relationship that bikers have with their cycles. Each motorcycle is as different as the individual owner, and truly represents an extension of their personality. But to paint only the bike without the rider, takes away from the spirit of bike and rider as a whole. Can't have one without the other. An interesting transformation takes place when the rider and motorcycle are portrayed together. They become one and the same."
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