Artist Julie Bender conveys her love of wildlife through the unusual medium of pyrography. Enjoy her portfolio and visit her website to see more.
I have loved art in all forms since I can remember. After graduating college with a BFA and BS in art education, I paved my way into computer graphics and project management at web design firms.
Decades later, I stumbled upon the art of pyrography quite accidentally when my dog died. I knew I had to make some sort of personal mark on her wooden urn. So I bought a cheap wood burner, and clumsily burned her head portrait on one side of the urn.
From that point on, I knew I finally found my life’s calling.
Gradually I found the best tools and woods, and set out to burn as often as I could. I taught myself techniques and skills. Being an avid animal lover, I found wildlife and domestic varieties to be my obvious choice of subjects. This passion for my art and for animals brought me to where I am today. I have a career in art, both in creating and teaching.
Pyrography’s literal translation is “drawing with fire.” I like to describe it as painting with heat.
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I work with modern, sophisticated tools. They allow me to be as precise and as detailed as I want in capturing the likeness of the animals I depict. It is an unusual and unique medium—thankfully, it comes very naturally to me.
After burning some hundred or so works and being invited to juried art shows and galleries, I discovered that I needed to leave my safe but dull existence in Atlanta, Georgia. I needed to move to where the wildlife graze freely and I could be inspired daily to create as much art as I wanted. So, I picked up my life, my dogs and belongings. I sold my house and took a leap of faith by moving to northern Colorado.
Colorado has since become my home. I quickly learned that I had positioned myself smack dab in the middle of wildlife country. After relocating, I quickly discovered that my second passion is being wildlife to observe and understand their behavior—to the point where I can predict their next move.
Each animal, whether living in the mountains or on the prairies, is unique and fascinating. I have developed a deep respect and reverence for them. Animals are all about survival; they live in the moment, and teach us so much about life. It is out of love and respect that I find interesting ways to portray them in my work.
Through the years, my art has evolved to express my visual and creative voice. I will never stop discovering new ways in which to use various skills and mediums to break through to the next stage in developing in my art.
I’m lucky to be here doing what I love and witnessing wildlife in their natural habitat. It is that love and inspiration that I share in my work and with my students at workshops and online classes.
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