After graduating with a degree in European languages, Melissa followed her parents move from Sydney to Orange in 1989. She found herself starting a painting career from the attic of an antique woolshed on their farm. Teaching herself to use oil and gouache, she began to make a living making portraits. With Radio National and Seventies Music for company in the serene rolling hillside, she developed a number of uniquely disparate styles, devoured artistic biographies for sustenance and determined to pursue a career as an artist.
With nowhere to promote her work locally, Melissa moved to Canowindra 60 kms away and opened a gallery and café combined – The Gallery Koolabah Cafe. It was a hit - with cuisine rustique, REAL cakes, and her own paintings hanging in the gallery. Four years later, no longer able to meet the demands of both cooking and painting, the café closed it’s doors and reopened as The Melissa Barber Galleries. At the beginning of her career Melissa was an entirely independent, self-taught and self-made artist – hanging her own works in her own gallery. Since then her profile has rocketed. She has been exhibited throughout Australia and the States and hangs in private collections in the UK, Europe and the States.
Now in 2015, a Mother as well as full time artist, Melissa exhibits from the beautifully restored nineteenth century cottage which is her home in Canowindra.