Bonnie Marris, wildlife artist, combines technical mastery with emotional warmth in her beautiful images. Wolves, horses, bison--her subjects are extensively researched and respectfully rendered to create fine art that brings nature's beauty to your home environment.
Bonnie Marris has been studying and painting wolves, foxes, dogs and horses since childhood. She remembers her family home as a refuge for anyone in trouble, human or animal. “At one time we had two wolves and a three-month-old coyote living with us,” the artist recalls with a smile. Always, when Marris wasn’t around animals, she was painting them, and this love led her to pursue degrees in zoology and animal behavior.
Animals are an integral part of both her life and her art.
The passion Bonnie Marris has for wilderness, for animals, and for light and color come together in her art, and she feels her work has accomplished its purpose when a viewer feels that same passion.
This talented painter has taken an unusual path into art; she developed her talent by portraying animals “from the inside out.” While she was a student at Michigan State University, Bonnie illustrated several major books. One volume she worked on was a leading expert’s mammalogy text that contained several hundred drawings and detail studies. This massive project attracted the attention of noted zoologist George Schaller, who invited Bonnie to prepare the art for posters that would support his worldwide rare animal relief programs.
Beyond academic training and emotional involvement, art requires another element for which there is no substitute: experience. Each year, Bonnie makes two major trips, and countless smaller ones, to observe and learn about the wildlife she loves.
In 1980, one such voyage took her to Alaska, where she lived in the wilderness for six months. She recounts, “To get into a natural environment and see the animals on their own terms is as important as knowing the animals themselves. For instance, gray wolves on the tundra—the vast, vast tundra with the wind and other forces of nature at their most extreme—that’s what makes them what they are. To stand not far from a grizzly that is so overpowering, so beautiful and so large . . . to watch it pull up a small tree with a swipe of its paw and just a few minutes later see it delicately picking blueberries with its black lips. . . Alaska changed me; it gave me the biggest incentive to paint and increased my interest in the predators: the cats, bears, coyotes, wolves and foxes. They exist on so many levels. Their moods show in their eyes. We can learn so much from them.”