While a student at Michigan State University, Bonnie Marris illustrated several books, including a mammalogy text by a leading expert in the field. The book attracted the attention of noted zoologist George Schaller, who invited Marris to prepare the art for posters to support his worldwide rare-animal relief programs. Each year, Marris makes several field trips to study her animal subjects and this close proximity gives her the confidence to paint them in their natural surroundings.
Marris’ work can be found in many major collections throughout the country. She has won numerous awards including the Patrons’ Choice Award in 2010 and the People’s Choice Award in 2011 at the Coeur d’Alene Art Auction; the 2012 Patrons’ Choice Award for Social Viewpoints, the Bob Kuhn Wildlife Award, the Ross and Billie McKnight Artists’ Choice Award, the Marjorie and Frank Sands Patrons’ Choice Award in 2014 for Ice Princess, and the Patrons’ Choice Award for her painting Trouble in 2016 at the Masters of the American West at the Autry Museum of the American West.
She and her husband, Woody, live on a farm in Ada, Michigan, with two dogs and three horses. Bonnie Marris is represented by Broadmoor Galleries, Colorado Springs, Colorado; and Trailside Galleries, Jackson, Wyoming, and Scottsdale, Arizona.