Monday, September 16, 2013


Your artistic work
Why do you do what you do? I try to capture the “wow” moment I felt when I first saw an image.     
How would you describe your own work?
My work is a reflection of the world around me. 

Why did you choose the kind of materials you’re currently working with?
For the most part the materials I work with are chosen because of the ease of portability.  My life rarely affords me the opportunity to work where I want so I take my materials with me.  If I have free moments, I can fill them doing something I love. 
What makes your work personal to you?
As we muddle along through life there are things that grab our attention.  I work in realism but notice the combinations of light and dark, negative and positive spaces in tandem with color.  Those things are fascinating to me.  It’s about stopping to notice, to take it in and reflect it in my art. 
Who taught you how to perform your art or craft?
I began my studies intending to become a master calligrapher under Jaki Svaren.  A master herself, she wisely encouraged me to do some career research on the job opportunities available as a calligrapher.  It didn’t take long to realize I had to expand my horizons if I ever wanted to make a house payment.  I first studied Commercial Art, earning my Associates Degree from the local community college.  I was very practical and enlisted in the military so I didn’t end up with a nightmare of a student loan and in the process got working experience as an Illustrator/Draftsman and took night courses to work on my degree requirements.  Plus I earned the GI Bill to help pay for my continuing education.  After completing my active duty tour I re-enlisted in the Oregon Air Guard Reserves as an Illustrator and returned to my studies.  I was able to use experience in the military toward my degree requirements.  I finished my Bachelor of Art degree at Marylhurst University.  Although Marylhurst teaches contemporary art, they gave me the latitude to pursue Illustration.  And here I am.  Ironically, when I finished my degree I received my commission in the military and have to give up being an Illustrator/Draftsman but I never stopped drawing. 
What are common responses you get from people about your work?
“Amazing”, “Inspiring”, “Awesome”, “I love it!”, “Wow”. 
You as an artist what life experiences shaped you as an artist?
For some reason American society has evolved in to an extroverted society accepting the constant assault upon their senses to the point it has become the norm.  Silence is an uneasy friend so now what people think is an empty space is filled constantly with noise.  I thrive in the quiet and with that quality, I have tremendous focus.  Because introverts are the minority in American society, it’s often assumed we are defective.  I was often asked as a child why I couldn’t be more like my sister.  I honestly didn’t know.  I was labeled as shy but I wasn’t.  I was just quiet.  I can’t tell you how many times I was told I need to “get out of my cave” because I didn’t/couldn’t conform to the extrovert standard.  I used to think something was wrong with me.  It took me well in to my adult years to realize there is nothing wrong with being an introvert.   I live my life in quiet observation.  Those observations inspire my art. 
When do you feel most inspired?
Early, early in the morning, in the quiet before the world wakes up. 
Did you set goals for yourself? Have you met any?
I want to work faster so I can finish more pieces and with more stunning detail.  Working in mixed media allows me both.  I would like to show a minimum of six times per year and get my work in to select galleries.  My work has been well received in shows and has consistently won awards.  I am very pleased with the notice my work has been receiving so far. 

Where do you take your work?
I choose a number of shows I would like to enter each year. 
Could they meet you in person on any art shows?
I will be at show openings beginning Fall 2014. 
Is there an achievement in your creative life you’re very proud of? What skills are you currently learning to master, or are on your to-do list? My goal for 2014 was to finally learn watercolor so it wasn’t so intimidating and I’m making good progress.  My other goal is to develop faster methods to achieve the look I want to capture.  It’s really a work in progress - to constantly push my skill levels.  There's so much more to experience!

Your life
What are your dreams for the future? I’m searching for a gallery to represent my work as it seems to be the most logical next step in my professional progression.  And to be healthy so I can take on the opportunities that come my way. 
Where do you live? Is it an inspiring place? I live along the Columbia River in Columbia County in Columbia City.  It’s a beautiful place to live. 
Do you have a family? 
I met my husband on a blind date 35 years ago.  We have three grown children and two grandsons, the youngest of which lives with us. 
Where do you like to spend most of your time?
If it were possible, I’d spend most of my time drawing.  Hours feel like minutes and it is so fulfilling to watch something on a piece of paper literally come to life. 

What other things, next to creating, do you enjoy in life?
I very much enjoy working with my rabbits. 
Did you win any competitions with your work? Lots.  I took fifteen years off from art to try to conform to real world expectations.  I became, or tried to become, more corporate by having a 9 – 5 desk job.  It worked for a while and because of my ability to focus I was good at what I did. One day I it hit me… I just couldn’t take being a robot anymore and I started to draw again.  I began entering my work in shows and judged competitions.  I am more than pleasantly surprised when my work consistently wins top honors after so much time off but it seems my artistic ability didn’t stand still even though I wasn’t using it. 

What do you have to offer your visitor? How could owning your work enrich their life?
A lot of people say if they wanted a piece of art that was realistic, they would take a picture.  A picture rarely has the heart and soul of a drawing or painting.  My work is very realistic but it reflects so much more.  It's what I see and conveys the emotion of the moment.  That kind of dynamic you won’t get from a photograph in the same way.
Has your work been mentioned in the media? If so, where? Which piece in your collection is your own personal favorite, and why? The pieces that are my most favorite are the ones of my rabbits but the pieces that speak the most to the general public are the watercolors I’ve done of the Columbia River, the Cascade foothills and Mt. Adams. 
Do you accept commissioned work or custom orders? Yes – let’s talk. Inquiries should be emailed to bonnywagoner at 
Thanks for stopping by!


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