Artist's Statement

When you're painting on site, it can be challenging to deal with the elements,  capture the changing light, and find views that really speak to you. But the energy you get from being outside can buoy you up emotionally, and you can invest that in your work. The result may not be in any way “perfect”—it’s often incomplete, even fragmentary. But a piece done out in nature can be many times more beautiful than one from a photograph. It holds within it both the feeling of “thought in paint”—your fleeting, half-thought impressions—and the joyful experience of being outside.


I'm a plein air landscape painter. To find natural places to paint, I travel to parks and other protected areas near my home north of Baltimore. It feels crucial to be somewhere my spirit feels buoyed up by the place, since it helps me tap into the inspiration and energy I need to work.

I paint in various media, including oil, watercolor, and pastel. 

While most of my teaching experience has been as an English teacher, I’ve taught continuing ed courses in plein air oil painting through the Community College of Baltimore County. I’ve also taught pastel painting with a dab of Impressionism and Expressionism as part of an arts residency with the Baltimore City Schools. In addition, I frequently share some of my approach and techniques by posting videos of my painting process on various online platforms. 

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 studied painting at the Rhode Island School of Design and the Maryland Institute College of Art. My work is owned by numerous private collectors and has been featured at exhibits in Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, and North Carolina. 


Solo Exhibitions

Swimming in Eden (in-person exhibit), Adkins Arboretum, Ridgely, MD 2021

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

Intimate Encounters, CCACC Art Gallery, Gaithersburg, MD, 2023

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 Cockeysville Artist Julia Sutliff on View at Adkins Arboretum." Chestertown Spy, May 5, 2021.

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.