Bear Track?

Why the bear track?  Ladd has signed his work with a bear track since the mid-seventies, reflecting the meaning of his last name.  Bjørn in Norwegian means bear.  In old Norwegian, by means place.  So the name means “Bear’s place.”

How does one pronounce the last name?  Start out with the name of the Seattle suburb of Burien.  Now you’ve got “Bur” with a long u sound.  Now take the Vancouver, B.C. suburb of Burnaby.  Pronounce that with the long u of Burien, and you can say Bjorneby!

Below you will see the logo Ladd designed for the anniversary of the Going-to-the-Sun Road in Glacier National Park.

Going to the Sun Road Logo

Artist’s Statement

These paintings are not intended to be simply about the art works themselves, but about the nature that surrounds us, refreshes us, brings peace, calm and health.  A day is not complete for me without a daily walk, hike or showshoe.  For me it’s also spiritual time, time to pray and ponder, time to listen to the One who created and sustains us.

As a Scandinavian-American kid, a beautiful day was wasted if spent entirely indoors. With six decades behind me, that hasn’t changed.

It’s not my aim to be photographic.  My aim is to be painterly enough that you can see the strokes of the brush, the texture of the paint, and so discern some of the process that came to make the image.

At the same time, these are realistic paintings, painted, at least in part, from observation or my photographs.  I’m not disappointed when a photo doesn’t turn out.  Some of my best paintings have been when I used a failed photo as a reference to paint from.

This is a personal vision, but a vision of what we all share, the nature that surrounds us.  In the midst of a stressful world, I hope these transport you to a place of peace.


Art Cards

Ladd’s art is available in the form of greeting cards, at Avenue West and also in the Etsy shop.  These are printed on high quality paper and are blank inside. Several of Ladd’s most popular prints are also offered as greeting cards, singly or in sets.



Early life:

Ladd Bjorneby was born and raised in Kalispell, Montana. Kalispell has been an art-oriented community for decades.  His mother, a teacher, was a portrait artist and weaver and his father was a jeweler. A neighbor, June Isaacs, taught oil painting in her home.  His godmother, Charlotte Ebeltoft, took him to her cabin often, where he learned to know forest plants and animals. Ladd studied watercolor under Karen Leigh at Flathead Valley Community College in 1976-77.  At Pacific Lutheran University, he studied drawing under Dennis Cox, Walt Tomsic and Ernst Schwidder; and landscape painting under Jens Knudsen, graduating with a B.A. in Biology in 1980.  After two quarters of graduate work at the University of Washington, he withdrew to enter seminary.  In 1983, Ladd’s design was chosen in competition to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park.  He designed subsequent logos for the fiftieth anniversary of the Going-to-the-Sun Road and for Glacier’s seventy-fifth anniversary.   His work has been shown in several Montana galleries from 1976 until 1986. 

Peace Park Logo

Retirement and a New Studio

On retirement from his work as a Lutheran pastor serving congregations, Ladd joined the artists’ coöp Avenue West Gallery, and began to paint regularly again. In 2019 he retired fully and now has time to devote to art, that is, when he’s not hiking and getting inspired for the next nature or landscape painting. He finds painting in oil and acrylic as well as his old favorite, watercolor, gives a great range of expression and ability to share varied subjects. In March of 2020 Ladd moved into a new home with a spacious studio upstairs. From his Liberty Lake home, he looks beyond his drawing board to Antoine Peak and the hills where he loves to hike.


Arrowleaf Balsamroot

It was a joy to paint this spring wildflower on a cold gray January day. After several requests, I plan to offer prints and greeting cards of this painting. Here in the Inland Northwest, this flower is a beloved part of spring as every open wild hillside blooms.

McKenzie Meadow

Ladd’s watercolor McKenzie Meadow has been selected for the Montana Watercolor Society’s Watermedia 2021 show. The painting will be on display in the Hockaday Art Museum in Kalispell October 7-December 18. Ladd is excited to have a painting displayed in his hometown’s art museum and plans to attend the opening on October 7. The painting …