About the artist


I grew up on a small family farm in central Ohio, where we spent summers working in the garden, baling hay, climbing trees, catching butterflies, and hanging laundry outside. I reared butterflies and moths to adulthood from egg or larvae, caught tadpoles in the pond, and was fascinated by every form of life on our 60 acres of hayfields, trees, and pasture.

What I wanted most was a horse; alas, it was unrequited love, which probably explains why I drew them obsessively. (After college, I finally was able to indulge my monomania and spent ten years training and riding dressage and jumping.) I started drawing as soon as I could hold a pencil, and have never stopped.

I explored all the graphic media (pencil, charcoal, pen and ink) throughout childhood, discovered watercolor and pastels somewhere in my teen years, used acrylics for quite a while, and finally tried oils in my thirties. It was love at first try. In college I majored in computer engineering, and after graduation worked for almost two decades in R&D and marketing at Hewlett Packard – so my art education has come from books and observation.

In the 1990s we began exploring American and Canadian wilderness areas, and I began drawing and painting wildlife (at last, something besides horses!). In 2002 I won the Arts for the Parks Grand Prize, which precipitated our move from California to Montana and kicked me in the butt to become a full-time artist (finally!).

My husband is a private pilot; below our wing is the Ninemile Valley,
where we are privileged to live. It's about 20 miles west of Missoula, Montana. Lots of
woods, deer, elk, black bears, foxes, coyotes...and further up the valley, deeper into
the Lolo National Forest, there are even wolves and grizzlies.

I spend a lot of time each year in pursuit of reference material; firsthand field experience is essential to getting the excitement and inspiration I want for a piece. Since moving to Montana, I’ve discovered small-town summertime rodeos and have become enamored of the color, action, and excitement. It’s great fun to head off to a rodeo, stand out in the sun and dust for hours, and take a little piece of the adrenaline in the arena away with me.

My work has evolved to something with a more contemporary edge – I’m having fun playing with abstract backgrounds, sizzling streaks of color, and big loose brushwork and knifework. My influences have included masters such as Bob Kuhn, Carl Rungius, Richard Schmid and Wayne Thiebaud – and I’m also influenced by the wonderful artists who are painting today, such as Oleg Stavrowsky, Roy Anderson, and many others. I look forward to seeing where my work goes; art is not a destination, but a journey. What a privilege to be an artist!

Missoula, Montana

406 . 546 . 2636

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-- all images on this website copyright (c) Julie T. Chapman --