J. Walitalo Woodburning
Welcome! We are glad you found us. We are a husband and wife team that offers fine art in pyrography for you.
We are Glad to Meet You
Together, we have created the family owned business “J. Walitalo Woodburning.” We are happy to offer a variety of original artwork and prints for you to choose from. If you don’t find what you are looking for, we also welcome custom orders.
Although we primarily offer high detailed fine art, we do have a very diverse range of artwork available. If you are looking for a quick gift for a friend, or something small to decorate your home with, please feel free to check out our Facebook Page for some of our lower priced work. We try to provide a range of styles, subject matter, and price ranges to accommodate your needs.
Our Mission: to create affordable, original artwork that promotes environmental ethics and shares the beauty of our natural world.
We try to use all scrap materials and charge minimum wage for labor, to keep prices down for you. We truly believe that fine art should be affordable for the average person. That being said, if you believe that the quality of artwork you get is worth more, and you are in a position to pay more, we welcome overpayments and donations.
Environmental Ethics: Each woodburning is done on scrap material, unless otherwise specified. Most of the wood is also obtained from local sources. We try to build environmental awareness into each piece of art, both with the subject matter, and the materials.
Sharing the Beauty
Sharing the Beauty: Although we do many pieces of artwork on request on a variety of subject matters, we strive to share the beauty we see with others. We live in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, and are fortunate to enjoy the natural beauty of the forest and wildlife on a daily basis. It is our goal to share the beauty we see on a daily basis with those that are not fortunate enough to see it in person on a daily basis.
Meet Joanna and James
Joanna Walitalo grew up in Oil City, Michigan, and moved to the Upper Peninsula after graduating from Central Michigan University with a BS in Biology and Environmental Policies. She then earned a Masters of Forestry from Michigan Technological University. She has combined her formal education with her lifelong love of artwork to create the unique fine art while maintaining environmentalism and a strong knowledge of wood properties and biological accuracy into each piece of artwork.
Joanna does most of the actual woodburnings (although James occasionally picks up the wood-burner, and does some artwork for fun too). She is primarily self taught as a pyrographer, having done artwork in other media (pen and ink, watercolor, and oils) as a hobby throughout her life. All of the artwork is done freehand, sketched in pencil first, and then burned directly onto the wood.
James Walitalo grew up in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, and worked as a 3rd generation well driller for most of his life. Due to the physical demands of that profession, James retired from well drilling early, and now invests his time in growing the new family business of artwork. He prepares all of the wood for the artwork, including selecting, cutting, planing, and sanding each board. After the artwork is done on the surface of the wood, James applies a finish to each piece to help preserve and protect it, and attaches the hanger to the back. Most works of art are not framed, unless specifically requested by the customer, but if framing is requested, James custom builds the frame for each piece.
In addition to the direct preparation and finishing of each piece of artwork, James also spends many hours each day going outside to take reference photos of local wildlife and scenery for the artwork. Taking our own reference photos gives us more control over composition and style, as well as the personal appeal of knowing the subject matter on a first hand basis. This allows us to create unique and original works of art that represent the beauty of our natural surroundings, and share the joy we have for our environment with the larger world.
When we are not busy with commissions, we try to keep working on artwork to be put out for general sale. We are currently represented in about 25 stores and galleries throughout the midwest, but things first become available on our Facebook page. Our originals usually depict scenes and wildlife from Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.
Pet portraits make great gifts and memorials. From cows to cats, all pets are wonderful and hold a special place in our hearts, and we try to capture their personality and the love you have for them in the art. Please provide a clear reference photo, and the approximate size you would like the finished artwork to be, in order to get a price quote.
Have something special in mind? That old picture of camp, or your new home? Maybe a child’s first birthday? Wanting awards made for a sports team or a contest? You provide the reference photo, and clear instructions on how you want the layout. We can add writing, and work from multiple reference photos to create one great piece of art for you, or several! Please note that we are not woodworkers, so we typically do not create things out of wood; rather we create art on wood. If you are looking for a bookshelf, jewelry box, or other wooden object or carving, we can refer you to one of our highly talented woodworking friends.
We currently offer signed prints of pen and ink illustrations (we have hundreds of pen and ink drawings to choose from). As we are in a very rural area, we have not yet found the idea source to have color prints of the woodburnings made.
Care for Your Woodburing
Woodburnings will fade if they are exposed to direct sunlight. Just like oil paintings and other fine art, you should keep your woodburning away from sunny windows, and heat vents (the wood may crack if exposed to significant temperature changes). You can frame your woodburning, and put it behind glass if you like, but that is not required. All our woodburnings come with 3 coats of polyurethane, to help protect them from the elements. Wood is more durable than many other art forms, but the surface can get scratched if not handled with care. If it becomes dusty, just wipe it clean with a damp cloth.
Drop Us a Line
Don’t be shy. Let us know if you have any questions!
Come check us out on other parts of the web.
Come check our our work in person at a number of small shops in the area.