Wildlife artist Bonnie Marris' fascination with animals began at an early age when, at two, she spent hours in front of the wolf cage at the zoo, enraptured by the animals within. The mesmerizing attention to detail evident in her work is a consequence of long hours studying her subjects in the field and her background in illustration.
While still a student at Michigan State University, Marris illustrated several major books including a mammalogy text by a leading expert in the field. The project required several hundred drawings and drew the attention of renowned zoologist George Schaller, who invited the artist to provide the artwork for a poster campaign which would support worldwide rare animal relief programs.
In addition to her accomplished skill at rendering her subjects and evident affinity for the wild, Marris' painting requires frequent and substantive field experience. Generally making two major trips each year and a myriad of shorter treks to observe, learn and experience the mysteries of wildlife, 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...Alaska changed me; it gave me the biggest incentive to paint and increased my interest in 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."