Shelle Lindholm Inspired by Montana’s Treasures


All it takes is a brief visit to Shelle Lindholm’s studio, nestled in a gully west of Kalispell, to understand the inspirations for her contemporary wildlife art. The subjects of her pieces – birds, bears, deer, elk, and more – often visit the yard right outside her window.

“I’ve just been an animal person all my life,” Lindholm said. “It’s just kind of how I’m wired.”

Her paintings are intricate and colorful, often involving one or more animals in some type of movement. Lindholm uses acrylic paints, repeatedly layered and scraped, with wax in between the layers to build texture and a unique feel for each piece.

Each piece tells a story about its subject, which is what caught the eye of Montana Secretary of State Linda McCulloch when she picked Lindholm as the Treasured Montana Artist for 2013.

“Shelle’s ability to capture the spirit of Montana wildlife is a unique gift, and we are fortunate to have the opportunity to share her work with the public,” McCulloch said.  “The colors and textures in her collection remind me of summer, and of the warmth that can be found in every season.”

As the treasured artist, Lindholm’s work was on display in McCulloch’s office at the State Capitol from April to August.

Along with the animals, her inspiration springs from textiles and fabrics, an influence from her degree in fashion. Her mother’s work as an antique dealer also taught Lindholm how to find beauty in the unexpected.

Her studio walls feature pictures of sculptures, fabrics, and statues from various cultures, including the Northwest Territories, Russia, Australia, Panama and Mexico.

The textile influence gives her pieces life and movement, Lindholm said, and they also make for a colorful, warm studio, which sits just down the hill from her husband Dave’s woodworking shop, where he makes the frames for her pieces.

And with a plethora of interesting animal neighbors visiting the Lindholm property, she doesn’t see her inspiration drying up any time soon.

“These Rocky Mountain animals have kept me busy,” Lindholm said.

For more information on Shelle Lindholm, visit