Emerging Artists | Posselli, Aho, Matson,

Winter by Bonnie Posselli. painting, southwest art.
Winter by Bonnie Posselli

Bonnie Posselli
Utah artist Bonnie Posselli paints a variety of subjects from rock formations in the desert to scenes from her travels around the world—but she always returns to trees. “I have a very strong connection with trees,” she says. “I try to portray their essence. They’re living things, and I want to capture that spirit.”

Posselli cultivated a love of nature as a child growing up in Salt Lake City. Her mother, also an artist, encouraged her to explore art as a way to express her fondness for nature, and Posselli has been hooked ever since. Inspired by artists such as early landscape painter John F. Carlson, Posselli strives to capture the beauty of a natural setting in her paintings.Her hard work has paid off—she won the Grand Canyon National Park Association Purchase Award at the 2000 Arts for the Parks competition in Jackson Hole, WY, and the People’s Choice Award at the 2000 Maynard Dixon Invitational in Mount Carmel, UT. She is represented by Williams Fine Art Gallery, Salt Lake City, UT; A Gallery, Salt Lake City, UT; and Torrey Gallery, Torrey, UT. —AH

Three Cut Fields, Bally Castle, Iceland by Eric Aho. painting, southwest art.
Three Cut Fields, Bally Castle, Iceland by Eric Aho

Eric Aho
Whether painting the landscape around his home in New England, visiting the Southwest, or traveling to Ireland, Scandinavia, and Russia, Eric Aho is attracted to the serene beauty of the world around him. The elements that intrigue the plein-air painter have to do with “all sorts of things,” he says. “Sometimes someone will tell me about a certain place that sounds appealing, and I’ll go there for that reason. Sometimes I’ll look at a map randomly and find a place with a wonderful name and go there. Or if I’m driving along a highway or hiking in the hills, I might be attracted to how the landscape composes itself—how the shapes establish themselves in the distance and the foreground.” Aho received a bachelor of fine arts degree from the Massachusetts College of Art in Boston, a postgraduate certificate from the Institute of Art and Design in Lahti, Finland, and a diploma in advanced printmaking studies from the Central School of Art and Design in London. His work is represented by Munson Gallery, Santa Fe, NM; Spheris Gallery, Walpole, NH; Susan Conway Gallery, Washington, DC; Barton-Ryan Gallery, Boston, MA; and Walker-Kornbluth Gallery, Fair Lawn, NJ. —MB

Todd Matson
Eight years ago, Todd Matson quit his “day job” to devote himself full time to painting plein-air landscapes, most of which are completed within a 20-mile radius of his Kansas home. It’s a good life,  Matson says: “I drop my kids [ages 11, 13, and 17] off at school in the morning, take a drive, paint, and get back home before they do.” Explaining his preference for on-site painting, he says, “Painting ina studio—taking days or weeks to complete a single piece—may involve the same emotions, but plein-air painting brings me intense and immediate results.”

Matson has always loved making art, but never realized it could be a career until he visited a gallery run by a friend’s father, where he saw a one-man show by John Encinias. From that time on he began painting in earnest but says he was “just empty-headed” until he took an inspiring workshop from artist William F. Reese, who helped him with both technique and focus. Matson began showing his own works in galleries in 1983, and paints continually because “it’s a cliché, but practice does at least point the way to perfection,” he says. He is represented by Meyer Gallery, Scottsdale, AZ; Anthony Sobin Fine Art, Santa Fe, NM; Wichita Gallery of Fine Art, Wichita, KS; and Lewis Art Gallery, Omaha, NE. —BD

Featured in “Artists to Watch” February 2001