Local Artist Combines Love of Painting with Love of Nature
Story by Erika Heeren
Photos by Emma Thompson
It has been a long journey to creativity for Eagle artist Julia Moran. Today, Moran has combined her love of the natural beauty of the Pacific Northwest and her love of watercolor with magical results.
Moran always had an interest in flora and fauna unique to the Oregon coast. But it was not until after she earned her degree in Zoology from Oregon State University that she found her true passion – watercolor painting.
“I grew up in rural Western Oregon under the canopy of Douglas Fir trees. Surrounded by ponds, creeks, rivers, and coastal waters, my art has always been a reflection of those ethereal waters,” Moran explained. “In my teen years, I created abstract oil paintings, thinking of watercolors as outdated. Then in my late twenties while my daughter was napping I borrowed her watercolors. Now in my early thirties, I’ve also found a community in Eagle and the Boise area with a much-shared appreciation for art and nature.”
Julia Moran Watercolor, Moran’s shop, was founded in 2018 and features a variety of items for purchase. You can find original paintings, prints, vinyl stickers, and a wide selection of beautiful gifts for the nature lover in your life. In addition to her online store, Moran can be found at various art shows in the Boise area, like Wintry Market and Eagle’s Saturday Market.
What makes Moran’s art unique is the accuracy and detail she brings to each of her wildlife pieces, with just a touch of whimsy. Using her background in zoology and biology, she is able to bring a different perspective to each painting. She has a particular fondness for ocean life and enjoys sharing that love as her contribution to the local arts community in Idaho.
“Even though Idaho is a landlocked state, people still feel a heavy connection to the oceans. And I see that affinity with people in Idaho anytime I attend a local event. They’re drawn to the whales, narwhals, fish, and more. Our lives rely on healthy oceans, and I love how we still have that affinity from our landlocked state,” Moran said of her inspiration.
In addition to vivid depictions of wildlife, she also does commissioned artwork, including homes and pets from photos. The one-of-a-kind pieces can be used for framed paintings, ornaments, vinyl stickers, and more.
Staying true to her nature lover roots, Moran gives back by partnering with organizations that support environmental causes. Most recently, she contributed to a World Wildlife Fund (WWF) auction to benefit the animals affected by the devastating wildfires in Australia.
For now, Moran is excited about growing within the Eagle arts community. For the future, she also has aspirations of having her work featured in a nature field journal for other wilderness lovers.