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Bonnie Marris
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Bonnie Marris has taken her own path into art. She developed her talent by portraying animals from the inside out. While a student at Michigan State University, Bonnie illustrated several major books, including one mammology text by a leading expert in the field. The book contained several hundred drawings and detail studies. The massive project attracted the attention of noted zoologist, George Schaller, who invited Bonnie to prepare the art for a poster that would support his world wide rare animal relief programs.

As any wildlife enthusiast will tell you; accuracy is not enough. Art demands more than a coldly accurate rendering. In Bonnie's case, it was emotion that drew her into wildlife art. At the age of two she would spend hours in front of the wolf cage at the zoo, totally fascinated by animals. Beyond academic training and emotional involvement, there lies that proverbial element for which there is no substitute experience.

Bonnie makes two major field trips a year and countless smaller ones. During 1980, Bonnie lived in the Alaskan wilderness for a period of six months. She recounts it. "To get into 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 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 latter 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, bear, coyote, wolves and fox. They exist on so many different levels. Their moods show in their eyes. We can learn so much from them."

Bonnie has lived Michigan all her life. She and her husband, Woody, have a farm with two dogs and three horses.

Big Gray's Barn
and Bistro

Gifts of Spring

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