Many people champion the virtue and importance of public art, but fewer take the steps to actually make it happen. One of those people is Juliene Sinclaire. 

"It hasn't been as hard as I thought to find people and places interested in murals," Sinclair, 32, said. During the day, she's a civil engineer at Madison Engineering. But off the clock, she's an artist who works with some pretty big canvases. Her most recent work is the crane mural on Davis street as part of the Craighead Institute's Threatened and Endangered Species Project. She's been painting her entire life, but said over the past several years she "got serious" about it. 

Sinclair's work is visible in several spots. She painted the blue, gray and terra-cotta colored mural in Lindley Park and the dragonfly-chasing rainbow trout on the side of the Trout Unlimited in Downtown Bozeman, as well as a blue boar mural in Germany, where she went to high school. She said the experience of living in Germany, surrounded by public art, was a heavy influence on her decision to begin painting murals. 

"Everyone should be able to have beautiful spaces they don't even have to think about affording or not affording," Sinclair said, standing in the grassy lawn near her crane mural. "It's good for me as an artist, and for the community." 

Sinclair said her style has grown and changed as she's followed what inspired her. After she moved to Montana, five or six years ago, she struggled to figure out what to do with her art, since she had been doing lots of portrait paintings and less wildlife painting. She also wanted to make sure she wasn't another artist painting wilderness scenes to hang in high-end galleries. 

"I've been literally just following my inspiration and I found that by doing that I have been [evolving]," she said. "It's been kind of hard because it means I've had to shut out those voices, that external voice of society." 

Sinclair has been creating mandala-style symmetric backgrounds on her most recent works, including the crane mural. She takes photos of the mural at the end of her workday and looks at it in a different location — she said being away from the location helps her catch things she wants to change or add better than being on-site. Aside from murals, Sinclair takes her watercolor paints with her on backpacking and hiking trips for when inspiration strikes. 

"It just unfolds as the whole project goes on," she said. Sinclair's next mural is planned to be on the side of Joe's Parkway on College Street this fall. 

Photos of all of Sinclair's murals, as well as the rest of her artwork, can be seen on her website at www.julienesinclair.com