By Bonnie Gangelhoff
What inspired your winning entry? I visit the coast a lot, and that is where I get much of my inspiration. I love the Low Country of North and South Carolina and the sunsets there. The inspiration for SOUTHERN REFLECTIONS was a scene around 7:30 in the evening near Litchfield, SC, which is on the coast about an hour north of Charleston. The evening marshes are gorgeous at that time of day when the sun sets over them.
Do you come from an artistic background? Both of my grandmothers painted, but they weren’t professionals. I always used to watch my one grandmother paint. She was crippled with arthritis, but she still painted. She would share her paints, and I would paint along with her. For my birthdays I always wanted art books and canvases.
Where did you study art? I took a different route in college and ended up in the medical profession. But I painted at night and on the weekends until I felt like I could do it full time, which I did in 2003. I believe in taking workshops, and I have studied with Joni Falk and Scott Christensen. I believe you are always on a quest to learn from those who went before you.
What is your favorite subject matter, and why? I would say the coastal region. It’s so peaceful. I just feel close to it as subject matter. I do quick studies, and I also paint on location. I love painting outside because I think you learn a lot. You lose things working from photographs or memory. I also like to do still lifes. When I’m ready for a change, I will do a still life. Change is good. It keeps you fresh.
What is the best advice you have ever received? The artist is nothing without the gift. But the gift is nothing without work. That speaks to me because I believe talent or no talent, if you don’t work hard, you are not going to get anywhere.
What is the most meaningful recognition you have received for your artwork? One of my first major awards was in 2007 from the American Women Artists. I think so much of the artists in that organization; it meant a lot to me to be honored by artists like Joni Falk and Donna Howell-Sickles.
What is the one thing people will never see you paint? Abstract pieces.
Future goals? To have the next painting be better than the last.
Representation: Cheryl Newby Gallery, Pawleys Island, SC; Fountainside Fine Art Gallery, Wilmington, NC; Providence Gallery, Charlotte, NC; Rive Gauche Art Galleries, Scottsdale, AZ; www.paulabholtzclawfineart.com.
Featured in our annual “21 Over 31” competition in November 2010