Artist's Statement

Aesthetically, I'm drawn to accident. I like to paint outside because I don't want to impose order or arrangement— I want to stumble upon it, making discoveries. 

It seems like the best things in paintings seem to happen when you're not thinking too much. I'm always in pursuit of being surprised, of seeing things in a painting that seem to have happened when I wasn't paying attention. 

Also, I want to celebrate nature. The wilder the nature, the better: places left uninterrupted by humans. Trees at the borders of open meadows, creeks running past untended woods, fields and hills where grasses, briers, and wildflowers have been left to run riot. These places raise my spirits and make me want to paint. 

Natural imagery seems everywhere evocative of relationship, gesture, and emotion: trees reach in aspiration, ridges survey, fields recline, rivers sleep, or journey. I tend to like compositions that feel inviting or enveloping, and that have an element of intimacy. 

The experience of looking at nature is thrilling—the movement, the shadows, the play of light—it’s a whirlwind of sensation. My sense is that it’s not enough to take the elements of a scene and copy them. Better to respond with emotion and invention, to try to meet the unfolding drama and flux with the movement of your brush, your half-complete impressions, choice of color, choice of mark, etc. It’s the only way to match wits with nature—to make a painting come even close to being as exciting as nature itself. 

Finally, it seems important to try to work with what Corot called “confidence,” Van Gogh “brio,” and Delacroix “extreme daring.” We want to be free from fear, and when we see fearlessness in a painting, it moves us as would any act of boldness, or passionate abandon, or selflessness, or love.


Julia Sutliff paints in natural areas near her home north of Baltimore, Maryland.
She has been said to have "a flair for simplifying form and color in order to capture the essence of a scene" and “an eye for the underlying beauty of landscapes that most of us would overlook” in “places that are unspectacular, often in areas where development encroaches on nature.” Her work has been described as “like Nature itself. Alive. So full of movement, always changing and evolving.”
She has a BA in Modern Culture and Media from Brown, an MA in English from the University of Maryland, and an MA in Teaching from College of Notre Dame of Maryland. She has also studied at the Rhode Island School of Design and the Maryland Institute College of Art. She shows her work in solo and group shows in Maryland and nearby states including Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, and North Carolina. 


Solo Exhibitions
Four Seasons, Adkins Arboretum, Ridgely, MD, 2016
Sundry Moods, Rosenberg Gallery, Goucher College, Towson, MD, 2013 
Found Accident, Adkins Arboretum, Ridgely, MD, 2012
In Nature, William Ris Gallery, Stone Harbor, NJ, 2012
Spirit of Place, Adkins Arboretum, Ridgely, MD, 2008
Bendann Art Gallery, Lutherville, MD, 2008
New Works, Main Street Gallery, Annapolis, MD, 2007
Plein Air Landscapes, Adkins Arboretum, Ridgely, MD, 2005
Land and Sky, Rehoboth Art League, Rehoboth, MD, 2004
Hoffberger Gallery, Baltimore Hebrew Congregation, Baltimore, MD, 2004
The Ward Center for the Arts, St. Paul’s Schools, Brooklandville, MD, 2001–2002

Group Exhibitions

By Invitation Only, RiverArts Gallery, Chestertown, MD, 2016
Art Outside, Baltimore, MD, 2014
Art Outside, Baltimore, MD, 2013
Shore Medical Center, Somers Point, NJ, 2013
Winter Group Show, Hardcastle Gallery, Centreville, DE, 2010
Anniversary Exhibition 149, Bendann Art Gallery, Lutherville, MD, 2008
Two Sisters, Arts at 510 Gallery, Harrisburg, PA, 2008
Winter Group Show, Bendann Art Gallery, Baltimore, MD, 2007
Adkins Arboretum 2004 Art Competition, Ridgely, MD, 2004
Maryland Federation of Art Winter Juried Exhibition, Annapolis, MD, 2004
Maryland Federation of Art All Hung Exhibition, Baltimore, MD, 2004
Pawtuxent Art League Winter Juried Exhibition, Laurel, MD, 2003
Small Works, York Arts Gallery, York, PA, 2003-2004
Adkins Arboretum 2003 Art Competition, Ridgely, MD, 2003
School 33 Open Studio Tour, Baltimore, MD, 2003
Winter Group Show, Carspecken-Scott Gallery, Wilmington, DE, 2003
Small Works, York Arts Gallery, York, PA, 2002-2003
Rites of Spring, 16 Patton, Asheville, NC, 2002
Small Works, York Arts Gallery, York, PA, 2001–2002
The City of Gaithersburg Visual Arts Exhibitions, Gaithersburg, MD, 2001
Artscape, Baltimore, MD, 2001
Mount Gretna Outdoor Art Show, Mount Gretna, PA, 2001

Awards and Honors
Featured Artist at Oak Creek Printworks, 2013
Honorable Mention, Maryland Federation of Art Winter Juried Exhibition, Annapolis, MD, 2004

St. Paul’s Schools, Brooklandville, MD
Numerous private collections
Art Instruction
Adjunct Instructor, Community College of Baltimore County, 2014

Maryland Institute College of Art, Baltimore, MD: coursework in oil painting
Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, RI: coursework in drawing, watercolor, and oil
University of Maryland, College Park, MD, 1998: M.A. in English
College of Notre Dame of MD, Baltimore, MD, 1997: M.A. in Teaching
Brown University, Providence, RI, 1989: B.A. with honors in Modern Culture and Media