Bonnie Marris studied zoology and animal behavior at Michigan State University. While still 15 credit hours short of a master’s degree, she left school to focus on painting, though she continues to conduct field studies of predators including big cats, wolves, foxes, and bears.
Beyond Marris’ academic training and emotional involvement, there lies in her paintings of wildlife an element for which there is no substitute: experience. She makes several field trips each year to study and photograph her subjects. This close proximity with the animal fuels her passion, said Marris, and what she brings back to her studio is priceless. “The colors, smells, sounds, and awe stay with me through each painting,” she said, “and I sometimes cannot wait to get back to paint!”
Marris’ work is highly sought-after and can be found in many collections throughout the country. She has been featured in such publications as Art of the West, Southwest Art, and Western Art Collector. Her awards include the 2010 Coeur D’Alene Patrons’ Choice Award; the 2011 Masters of the American West Peoples’ Choice Award; the 2012 Masters of the American West Patrons’ Choice Award; and the 2014 Masters of the American West Patrons’ Choice and Artists’ Choice awards, and the Bob Kuhn Wildlife Award.