Venice……. Between Reflections and Reality
Venetian vibes are evident in the body of paintings by Bonnie Howell for the November show entitled “ACQUA BELLA” – ( Beautiful Water), at The Artists’ Gallery,
239 High Street in Chestertown, Maryland. The show opens November 6, 2015 with a reception to meet the artist from 5 to 8 pm.
Bonnie has been known for her paintings of local water ways, so it is no wonder, when she and her husband traveled to Venice, Italy last fall, that the water of the Venetian lagoons made her feel at peace. But the results of that trip yielded a very different group of paintings. Though they boated across the lagoon each day, thinking how much it seemed like our Chesapeake Bay, the images that inspired this show do not reflect their similarities. No! What was really exciting she thinks, were the vibrating colors, forming bargello like tapestries across the canals.
One friend who saw the photographs that Bonnie used as references for her paintings asked if she had used a special camera to capture the images. The friend was surprised to learn that it was an ordinary pocket-size camera, but in the hands of one whose focus was on the water. That attention to the Venetian canals resulted in paintings that are somewhere between reflections and reality. What they capture are the glowing colors and vibrant energy that the city of Venice still holds dear. It truly is like nowhere else and is authentically beautiful. The following quote from a novel “The Gondola Maker”, by Laura Morelli, echos how Bonnie says she, too, saw the waters of Venice: “I row into the neck of the Grand Canal, and one by one, the reflection of each colorful facade appears, only to dissipate into wavering, shimmering, shards under my oar.” The serene waters of Venice offer ever changing images of her iconic structures, seldom mirrored, but stunningly beautiful in their abstraction.
Bonnie’s interest in art started with painting bulletin boards in grade school, to play sets in high school, then majoring in Fine Arts in college. She received her BA degree from St. Andrews University in Laurinburg, NC and her teacher’s certificate from Washington College in Chestertown, MD. She taught art in both public and private schools during her early career and has loved being able to live near by and paint here in the area where she was raised.
She has continued her art studies with noted portraitists John Sanden of Portraits Institute of New York, and John Ebersberger of Maryland Hall, Annapolis, MD. She has also taken classes at the University of Maryland and the University of Delaware.
Her works are in many private collections across the US as well as local public collections: The Shore Medical Center, The Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses, Washington College, Garnett School, Dr. Hickman Office, The PNC Bank, Galena and The Turnersville Assembly Hall, NJ.
Mrs. Howell works primarily in oils and regularly features paintings of life – portraits and nature at The Artists’ Gallery were she is managing partner and from her home Whistlefield Studio.