Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

From pets to farm animals, Faribault artist creates vibrant portraits February 20, 2018

“LaFonda” from Squash Blossom Farm


I’D RECOGNIZE Faribault artist Julie Fakler’s art anywhere. She paints animal portraits that pop with personality and color, that leave me smiling and happy.


“Peters Farm Horse”


Her signature acrylic paintings feature domestic animals against a backdrop of bold color. No distractions of setting. Just the animal, full focus.


“Grandview Farm Cat”


I’m always drawn to the eyes. Julie has the ability to paint eyes that connect me to the cat or dog or horse or cow or goat or whatever creature she paints. I look into those eyes and I see an animal cared for, loved, important to someone somewhere.


A promo for Julie’s Faribault show.


The latest somewhere took Julie onto five area farms to wander among and photograph animals, talk with the farmers and then paint for her latest show, “Southeastern Minnesota Farm Animal Portraits Exhibition.” She received a Southeastern Minnesota Arts Council grant for the project.


Julie’s farm animal portraits, including “Squash Blossom Farm Chicken,” adorn walls in Buckham Commons.


Several days ago I photographed, with Julie’s permission, her art now displayed through February 28 at Buckham Commons, the hallway linking Faribault’s public library to the community center. Her farm animal paintings are also displayed through February 24 at the Austin (MN) Artworks Gallery. Julie’s new show deviates from her usual pet portraits. I always appreciate an artist who takes on creative challenges.


“Grandview Farm Goat”


Whenever I view Julie’s animal art, I envision her vibrant work beyond acrylic on hardboard. I see her animal portraits on the pages of a children’s picture book, on t-shirts, on pillows, on tote bags…the possibilities seem endless for this animal-loving artist.


Even Julie’s guestbook is handcrafted.


Portrait propped next to the guestbook.


Some of the comments penned in the guestbook.


TELL ME: What do you think of Julie’s art and/or other possibilities for her paintings?

© Copyright 2018 Audrey Kletscher Helbling
Artwork copyright of Julie Fakler and photographed with her permission. Julie paints animal portraits on commission and also teaches “Paint your Pet” classes. Check her website by clicking here for more info.