Born and brought up on eastern shores, and having just graduated from a Midwestern college (Lake Forest College, Lake Forest, Illinois; BA in art history) Sallie came west to Montana as an adventure-filled young woman to volunteer at Boulder, Montana's School for the Developmentally Disabled in the summer of 1968. This experience led to a career in teaching special education, but not without additional coursework: 5 summers of college classes resulted in degrees (BA, Fine Art and MS in Education) from MSU-Billings, Montana.
Bowen's first watercolor instructor was Ben Steele, Professor Emeritus at MSU-Billings, now retired. He is a survivor of the Bataan Death March in the Philippines and the subject of a heart-wenching biography, "Tears in the Darkness" by Michael and Elizabeth Norman.
Always an artist since grade school days, early in her artistic career, Bowen taught evening adult education classes in drawing, art history and watercolor. Having taken workshops with many professional artists over the years, (including Alvaro Castagnet, Betty Lynch, Irving Shapiro, Frederick Wong, Mario Cooper, Cheng Khee Chee), Bowen exhibits with a number of galleries in Montana as well as Cimarron Blue Gallery in New Mexico. She continues to teach privately in her studio, combines travel with painting (all over Montana, New Mexico, California, France, Italy, Wales, Greece, Turkey, China, Japan, Israel and Jordan), is a signature member of Montana Watercolor Society, and exhibits nationally in many juried shows around the U.S.
In 1985, she was accepted to a Chinese landscape painting workshop in the People's Republic of China and spent two months studying at the Zhejiang Art Academy in Hangzhou with Chinese art professors. The coursework included landscape painting, field sketching, calligraphy and Tai Chi. Subsequently and by invitation, she painted an Easter egg for the White House Easter Egg Roll in 1986; this wooden egg is now at the Smithsonian Institute.
Her painting, "Prince William Sound", is the cover of the book "Season of Dead Water" published by Breitenbush in 1990.
Sallie Bowen resides in Butte, Montana with her husband and mostly Maine coon rescue cat.