J. Lewis Bowker was born in 1946 and grew up in Long Beach California. She considers herself to be a self-taught artist, although she did attend formal art school for a short period. Art has been an important part of her life as long as she can remember, and at the age of sixteen she was already winning art contests and even had one of her works included in a collection of Los Angeles County Museums.
Over twenty years ago, Bowker and her husband moved to the desert. She states "It took me a while to appreciate the subtle beauty of the desert. The colors are different here from those where I grew up in Long Beach; they're softer, but with splashes of brilliance. And the light is wonderful, crystal clear and bright. It's a paradise for an artist".
Painting scenes of smoke trees and verbena contrasting against desert mountains, yellow blooms of a brittle bush, spindly ocotillos against a blue sky, Bowker loves most to emphasize depth in her works. "I want you to feel that you can move through the painting. At first you study the foreground, the wildflowers or the cacti or whatever, then you move beyond to the middle ground of hills and then to the mountains in the background. And, if I have done my job well, in your mind you can cross through a pass in the mountains to the other side. I want to paint limitless paintings".
Although she dedicates most of her time to painting desert compositions, Bowker also produces portraits and scenes for Yosemite, and the Oregon coast and other settings. She loves to visit with people while painting, and states that "Art has always been integrated into the rest of my life. I have five children, and when they were small they were always around while I painted. I learned to concentrate in the midst of interruptions."
Often, Bowker visits the homes of those who have commissioned her work. That way, she can create something personal that will blend with their lifestyle. "We're not talking decorator art. I don't design a painting to go with the colors of the furniture. We're talking more about the attitude of the people toward their homes. I want to paint something that they will enjoy not just for a year or two but for all their lives and then will proudly hand down to another generation".