Melissa Hartley is a self taught artist who studied graphic design and previously worked in publishing in Sydney and Edinburgh. In 2010 she decided to pick up the paint brush again and pursue her love of painting and since then has never looked back.
She is inspired by both contemporary and historical art along with film and literature. Her paintings predominately draw on the sublime beauty of nature, old traditional craftsmanship – especially botanical illustrations of the past and fashion photography. Her influences vary from the old Dutch Masters: Willem van Aelst, Maria Van Oosterwyck, Jan Weenix, and Rachel Ruysch through to Dali, Art Nouveau and Pop Surrealism.
Artist: Melissa Hartley
The painting “L’oiseau bleu” was inspired firstly by her love of French culture and the extravagance of the Rococo period. Prior to painting her “mood at the time was quite light-hearted so I knew I have to include the blue bird as a symbol of happiness”. It was only after doing some research on the blue bird that she came across some of the very first fairy tales ever written, penned by Madame d’Aulnoy who coined the phrase ‘contes de fées’. Madame d’Aulnoy wrote a tale titled “L’oiseau bleu” in 1657 which centres around the main character, beautiful and kind-hearted Florine. All is done to prevent her from marrying her Prince Charming who is cruelly turned into a blue bird. Melissa‘s painting “L’oiseau bleu” is a tribute to the tale and the strong hold love can have over one’s heart.