University of Minnesota
Go to the U of M home page

Home > For Adults > Exhibits > From the Field

From the Field


From the Field: Bird Paintings by Jim Rataczak

Jaques Gallery, free with museum admission
On display January 11 - February 23

Jim Rataczak, of Circle Pines, Minnesota, has been a professional artist for almost twenty years, specializing in paintings of birds and their natural habitats. With degrees in biology and animal behavior, Jim has a unique perspective to add to his works, combining his skills as an artist and his training in science to create incredibly lifelike works. From the Field will feature close to thirty of Rataczak's oil and watercolor paintings, as well as presenting many of the his sketchbooks.

Much of Jim's time is spent studying birds in the field—he's a strong believer in experiencing his subjects first-hand and regularly sketches his subjects in the wild. "Lugging my telescope and paint kit into the field is difficult work," shares the artist, "but it allows me to see so much more than if I relied merely on photographs as references for my final works."

Artist Statement:
Painting is my response to things I have seen or experienced, particularly in the natural world. As a kid, most of my drawings were derived from nature, especially birds, and I seriously wonder if I would have ever even started painting if birds and nature didn't exist. Sketching nature from life is the most elemental form of my art, and is my way of possessing an experience. Doing so allows me to tap into the energy that flows through the natural world, and have that energy flow through me. While field sketching, I become absorbed into my surroundings, more keenly aware, and my connection with nature deepens. My hope is that my art will make others want to take a second look at nature, to want to be outside deepening their own connections with the natural world. - Jim

Take a workshop with the artist:

Anatomy, Behavior, Image: Drawing Birds from the Inside Out

Offered through LearningLife, College of Continuing Education. Register Now

Classes held Thursdays 6 p.m. - 8 p.m. on 2/6, 2/13, 2/20

Whatever your impulse and whatever your drawing skill, this hands-on course with professional bird artist, Jim Rataczak (work on display in new exhibit, From the Field), will help unleash your inner Audubon. Ech session will begin with a presentation about bird anatomy. Participants will handle, and then draw from, bird specimens from the museum's scientific collections as they learn both the art and science of portraying birds.

Meet the Artist



Get to know Minnesota native, award-winning artist Jim Rataczak.

photo credit: Fred Greenslade,