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Online Artist Archive

Fulton, Cris
Discipline: Photography and Drawing

Cris FultonCris Fulton grew up in Bowman, North Dakota, lived in Minneapolis and Taos, New Mexico, then moved back to Bowman in 1993. She received a Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in art from the University of North Dakota in 1973. After graduation from college, Cris spent a year as a VISTA volunteer at Pierre Indian School. She saw her first powwow at Eagle Butte, and was mesmerized by all the swirling colors and the sound of the dramatic drumbeats and singing. The next year, she taught basic skills and art in Slope County, North Dakota. During her stay at the remote Bullion Butte School, the beauty of her native landscape made a lasting impression upon her.

Starting with pencil drawings of cowboys and Indians, she went on to pastel drawings of pow-wow dancers, Aztec dancers, and mythological figures, some of which were published by Pomegranate. Fulton pursued that subject matter as far as she was interested, then moved back to Bowman to help care for her mother. She worked on a Native American exhibit and native plant gardens for Pioneer Trails Regional Museum, activities that got her out into the prairie country. She discovered rock art in the Cave Hills, learned about the Indian names and uses for plants, heard the rumbling roar of buffalo herds, saw the fossil remains of dinosaurs and palm trees, and created a book manuscript of her photographs paired with prairie quotations.

During this time of immersion in the history and culture of the prairie, Fulton was not creating any art. She took some time to learn about the spiritual practice of meditation, and about the wisdom traditions around the world. One night, she had a dream in which she was drawing clouds in bold strokes over a prairie horizon. She was so enthused about the process that she ran to the art store for supplies without putting on her shoes. When she woke up, she realized that she really wished to try landscape drawing. From about 2005 to the present time, the prairie territory has been her artistic inspiration. She enjoys working with pastel pencils on Stonehenge paper and with oil sticks on canvas panels. Fulton is currently working on a Montana-Dakota Dream Series of landscapes that have altered colors.

Her work has been displayed in numerous shows and galleries in Minneapolis, Taos, and North Dakota, and is in collections around the country. She has had photographs published by North Dakota Horizons calendar and magazine, including one of a crocus for the cover of the Spring 2011 issue. One of her drawings was chosen for the “Arts Dakota” touring exhibition, which ran from 2008 to 2010 at various galleries throughout the state. Her “Equus” series of drawings was on display at the offices of Governor John Hoeven and First Lady Mikey Hoeven from April to June, 2009. Twenty of her landscape drawings were selected by the North Dakota Art Gallery Association for a “Prairie Pastels” traveling exhibit that was shown across the state in 2009 and 2010. That exhibit will go on display at the MonDak Heritage Center in Sidney, Montana in May, 2012. Fulton and Sheila Rieman were the featured artists at the Rider Gallery at the Dickinson State University Alumni Center in July, 2010. The Dickinson State University Art Gallery hosted a “Prairie Territory” exhibit of her photographs and drawings in the summer of 2010. The new Jamestown Regional Medical Center, working with D H Art Design from Wayzata, Minnesota, chose three of Fulton’s sunflower drawings for their dining room in 2011.

Artist’s Statement: The land of my birth seems like a magical place; with rolling hills, magnificent skies, massive buttes, herds of cattle and sheep, fields of sunflowers and wheat, spectacular badlands, sagebrush flats, scoria roads, junipers, cottonwoods, and wild plum, chokecherry and buffaloberry bushes. Its rugged terrain encases the ancient remains of dinosaurs, crocodiles, camels, saber-toothed cats, gigantic ferns, redwoods, and palm trees. Southwestern North Dakota is a vast and truly awesome territory where you can still experience buffalo, rattlesnakes, coyotes, meadowlarks, deer, jackrabbits, antelope, horses, and hawks. There is a sense of immense wildness, wonder, solitude, silence, and spirit that pervades this rather remote, sparsely populated frontier-like region of America.

I am absorbed in taking photographs and making pastel drawings that express my feelings for this great prairie landscape. My subjects include the grassy slopes and contours of the country, sunlight streaming through the clouds , cottonwoods in winter, prairie trails, shelterbelts, sunsets, buttes, and winding rivers, as well as vibrant, intensely colorful images of sunflowers, buffalo, crocuses, and horses. My life has been deeply, richly enhanced by the experience of all these elements, and that is what I hope to share with the viewers of my work. It is my desire to capture and convey my impression of the infinite, expansive liberation, the sweet serenity as well as the sheer exuberance, the fleeting aspects of sunlight and wind, and the mystery and joy of being that I have experienced out here on my home ground, my home on the range.

For more information, visit:

Contact Cris Fulton:
PO Box 348
Bowman, ND 58623
(701) 206-0307
Web site:

Badlands in July
Sunglow image
"Badlands in July"
September Grasslands
Prairie Hill
"September Grasslands"
"Prairie Hill"
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