By Bonnie Gangelhoff
What inspired your winning entry? I had painted that truck once before, but it was so foggy that there was water dripping on my canvas and palette, and I had to put up my plein-air umbrella. I wanted to go back and do that same painting in the sun to capture the massiveness of the barn.
Do you come from an artistic background? My dad and brother are artistic.
Where did you study art? I have a bachelor’s degree in fine art from Cooper Union School of Art in New York.
What is your favorite subject matter, and why? I like old buildings and vehicles because of the character they have. I enjoy the complexity of the structures and the challenges of getting the drawing right. I mostly paint in rural settings in Northern California. This painting was done up in Sonoma County. I discovered the scene during Sonoma Plein Air in 2009. I prefer to work outdoors because the colors are easier to see and things happen that you don’t get from a single image from the camera. Lighting is critical. Maybe a shadow will move across the side of a barn and everything suddenly becomes more interesting than when you started painting an hour earlier. You can incorporate those changes if you choose to.
What is the best advice you have ever received? If I am not for myself, who will be for me? If I am not for others, what am I? If not now, when?
What is the most meaningful recognition you have received for your artwork? Winning the Artists’ Choice award at Sonoma Plein Air in 2007. I had only been painting full time for a year. Many of the other painters there were people whose works I saw in magazines, and they were a source of inspiration to me.
What is the one thing people will never see you paint? San Francisco cable cars.
Future goals? I just want to get better. I can paint for the rest of my life and continue to learn every day.
Representation: Nancy Dodds Gallery, Carmel, CA; Giacobbe-Fritz Fine Art, Santa Fe, NM; Gardner Colby Galleries, Naples, FL; Tomales Fine Art, Tomales, CA; www.horndesign.com.
Featured in our annual “21 Over 31” competition in November 2010