Lillian R. Nelson

I have always drawn inspiration from the power of visual narrative, and strive for my paintings do just that: attempt to tell a story in one single glance. Whether inspired by current social issues or a classic fairy tale, I am drawn to create scenes of both beauty and unease, exploring juxtapositions of the mind, and its effects on our outward actions and ramifications. 


I work on the surface of raw wood which yields a similar process to watercolors, yet with more nuances and challenges. I typically use whatever scrap wood I find lying around: the garage after my husband's projects, a morning walk, the neighborhood on trash day, or a construction site in passing.


Sometimes the imagery comes first and I hunt for the pieces to fit that image, but more often than not the wood speaks the story to me first. The images are broken into pieces and fused together much like the parts of a story coming together to make a whole. By using the wood's original grain to full effect, each painting evokes an intimate feel, a perfect balance and dance between the natural beauty of the wood and the formulated brushstrokes.

— Lillian R. Nelson


Lillian R. Nelson is a Montana native, earning her BFA from the University of Montana in 2007, and afterwards focusing on beginning a family. In 2013, she collaborated with a church to start the nonprofit art gallery E3 Convergence. E3 was begun to support local charities through art sales and musical events as well as be a home for emerging artists. Lillian was gallery director and curator, running the gallery day to day until its closing in 2018. She has shown in multiple local exhibits around the area and is represented by Radius Gallery in Missoula. In recent years Nelson has begun mural artwork, and has a growing number of murals around the city of Missoula, most notably a piece over 100' long on the VanBuren Street underpass. This has led to her involvement as program director in the new mural arts program Allez!, a rotating outdoor exhibit space exclusively for mural artists. She lives with her husband and three young children in Missoula.