Melana Bontrager is originally from the Pacific Northwest, although she has also lived both in the Midwest and on the East Coast. She began taking painting lessons at age 7, and has enjoyed exploring the medium ever since. While working toward a fine arts degree at Taylor University in Indiana, Melana’s affinity for composition and form was honed and her non-standard use of color was encouraged during a four-month term of study at Studio Art Centers International in Florence, Italy.
After completing her bachelor’s degree in fine art with a focus in abstraction, she moved to Queens in New York to study Art Therapy at Hempstead University. She continued painting when studies allowed, but also took up drawing as a more flexible medium, accommodating her busy schedule. The study of art as a therapeutic process brought a new depth to Melana’s art. She continued to explore a variety of media, but after filling a small journal with pen and ink drawings during her daily commute on the New York subway, she was inspired to seek ways to combine the specific disciplines of ink drawing and acrylic painting. Following the completion of her Master’s degree in Art Therapy, she moved to Chicago where she became involved in a community of multi-disciplinary artists interested in discussion and exhibition of their art. While involved with this artist community, she continued developing what has become her signature approach to art: the use of line and color to process her relationships, her community, and the related emotions she experiences.
Melana currently lives in Everett, Washington with her husband and four children, and enjoys the incredible inspiration of nature that surrounds her in this beautiful part of the world.