Images of all paintings copyrighted by Minnesota artist Jim Rataczak © 2012
Jim Rataczak (pronounced RAT-a-check) grew up on a classically beautiful lake in rural Minnesota. He began drawing at a young age, and even his earliest drawings and paintings were primarily inspired by his experiences outdoors. As he grew, various other interests came and went, but drawing and nature persisted.
Entering college intending to study art, Jim instead found the academic world better suited to feeding his strong interest in science. Thus, he earned a BS in Biology from the University of Notre Dame, and soon thereafter a Master's degree from the University of Michigan. Few who know Jim would be surprised that his graduate research focused on bird behavior.
Work for the USFWS and the Brookfield (IL) Zoo followed. Then Jim received a fellowship from the historic Delta Waterfowl Research Station, located in the "pothole" country of the Canadian prairies. Here, Jim was immersed (sometimes literally) in a rich breeding ground of myriad birds, and these surroundings re-filled his artistic sails. It wasn't long before he realized he needed to make painting his life's work.
Jim returned from Canada driven to paint. Living in Chicago, he studied voraciously at the Field Museum of Natural History and the Art Institute of Chicago, and pursued birds up and down the shores of Lake Michigan. His zeal for field sketching took permanent hold at this time, and he discovered the work of such masters of the craft as Louis Agassiz Fuertes, Bruno Liljefors and Lars Jonsson.
The 1990’s saw Jim and his wife move back to Minnesota, and soon he began exhibiting his work professionally. His work has since garnered numerous awards, appeared in books and magazines, and become part of collections across North America.
Today, Jim, his wife and children, make their home north of St. Paul, MN. Their home backs up to a thousand acres of marsh, creek, woods, and field. The fruits of his interactions with these and other lands appear on the pages of this website.
Jim sketching Owls at the famous Sax-Zim Bog.
Photo by Joe Sausen