Artist's Statement

Aesthetically, I'm drawn to accident. I prefer to paint outside because I don't like to impose order or arrangement--I would rather stumble upon it, making discoveries. Similarly, the best things with paint seem to happen when I don't think too much. I'm always in pursuit of being surprised, of seeing things in a painting that have happened when I wasn't really paying attention. And I want to celebrate nature. With all the pressure on the natural world, it seems imperative to sing its praises.

To experience 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.


I paint in natural areas near my home just north of Baltimore, Maryland. I have a BA in Modern Culture and Media from Brown, an MA in English from the University of Maryland, and an MA in Teaching from the College of Notre Dame of Maryland. I've also taken courses at the Rhode Island School of Design and the Maryland Institute College of Art. I've shown my work in Maryland and nearby states including Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, and North Carolina.


Solo Exhibitions

Swimming in Eden (virtual exhibit), Adkins Arboretum, Ridgely, MD 2020

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


Young Audiences Arts for Learning Arts Residency in the Baltimore City Public Schools, 2020

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


McCoy, Mary. "Plein Air Oil Paintings by Julia Sutliff at Adkins Through September," Chestertown Spy, August 6, 2016

McCoy, Mary. "Found Accident, Landscape Paintings by Julia Sutliff on View at Adkins Arboretum," Chestertown Spy, August 1, 2012

McCoy, Mary. “Spirit of Place by Julia Sutliff on View at Adkins Arboretum,” Shore Update, October 3, 2008

“Arboretum Exhibit Features Landscapes by Plein Air Painter,” The Bay Times, October 26, 2005