Bowman artist finds inspiration to paint again in an unlikely art studio

Published: Aug. 15, 2022 at 2:53 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

FT. LINCOLN STATE PARK (KFYR) – Art is coming to life in Bowman.

The small town in southwestern North Dakota was selected as the 2021 Artists on Main Street Program by North Dakota Commerce. The initiative helps local artists bring art to their communities.

This mural on the side of the public library in Bowman is just one of the projects to come from the program.

Bowman artist Marie Snavely painted the mural, titled “Blue Skies and Badlands.”

The good news: at 75, she’s got even more projects she wants to put paint and a brush to.

Marie Snavely isn’t much of a camper.

“Not at all!” she laughed.

But that didn’t stop her from setting up camp at Fort Lincoln State Park for a week. And while she might not be a lifelong camper, Snavely is a lifelong artist.

The quiet she found in this camping spot has been soothing and inspiring.

“I couldn’t have asked for a better spot. I’m overwhelmed by inspiration,” she said.

It’s a feeling she knows not to take for granted. In 2018, her husband, Les, got sick. She quit her job as an art teacher to care for him. She thought she’d continue painting, but the stress left her unable to pick up a brush.

“I couldn’t paint,” Snavely recalled.

Les passed away in October 2020, just after the couple celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary. Marie became depressed.

“It was like my feet were in quicksand, and I couldn’t move. I called my doctor and told him I need a pill for this depression,” she said.

Instead, he told her to start exercising. So, Snavely started biking. She quickly found that the more she pedaled, the better she felt. She even started painting again.

“I woke up one day and I painted 20 paintings!” she said.

She hasn’t stopped since.

“I’ve been painting six hours a day,” she said from her campsite at Fort Lincoln State Park.

Snavely applied for this artist in residence at Fort Lincoln, never expecting to be selected.

“I was really surprised because I didn’t think that they would be interested in somebody of my age,” Snavely said.

But age is just a number.

“I’m 75,” she said proudly.

A number that has awakened this artist and inspired her to keep putting brush to canvas, no matter where she finds herself.

Snavely says many of her paintings are inspired by landscapes she sees while riding her bike.

Last summer, she logged 1,500 miles on her bike.

Copyright 2022 KFYR. All rights reserved.