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.
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.