Wayne Wolfe was born and raised in Kansas City, Missouri. He graduated from the University of Kansas in Lawrence, Kansas, with a degree in journalism, and began painting part time while working as an advertising account executive and copywriter.
In 1975, Wolfe left the corporate world to pursue painting. A self-taught artist, he apprenticed with Robert Lougheed in Santa Fe, New Mexico, for six years. Lougheed insisted he learn the language of nature by painting on location. While in Santa Fe, Wolfe also studied with two-time Prix de West Purchase Award winner Tom Lovell, whom he credits with helping him learn the human figure.
Wolfe primarily paints the American Rockies, but painting trips also take him to Canada, New England, Europe, and the British Isles. Winner of the 1982 Prix de West Purchase Award, he is a recipient of the John F. and Anna Lee Stacey Scholarship offered by the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum.