Emerging Artist | Bonnie Holmes

Last of September by Bonnie Holmes

By Jessica Jones

When Bonnie Holmes was asked by her husband to accompany him on a fly-fishing trip to the Bighorn Mountains, the Los Angeles native had no idea what effect it would have on her artwork. Holmes was so taken with the scenery, she knew she had to paint the landscape. “I am intrigued by the beauty of nature untouched by man,” Holmes says. “In this way, painters of the natural world are almost like historians.”

Fifteen years after that first trip, the former figure painter and watercolorist still fishes but has turned almost exclusively to painting plein-air oils. “Plein air has an inherent pressure,” Holmes says, “like cooking a beautiful gourmet meal on a budget.” Her goal when choosing a subject is to communicate nuances—details in the weather or the time of day, for example. For that reason, she especially enjoys painting water. “I am drawn to how its movement, reflection, depth, and opacity are defined in painting,” she says.

Holmes’ interest in defining what defies definition led her to marry traditional and impressionistic elements in her work. “Impressionism distills a feeling,” she says. “My goal is to keep the eye of a child, to train the eye to see what the average person misses.”

Holmes and her husband, Tom Schauwecker, are featured at Showcasing Montana gallery in Ennis, MT, on July 7. She is also scheduled for an August show at Chemers Gallery, in Tustin, CA, and a miniatures exhibition in Ketchum, ID, in September. Holmes is represented by Showcasing Montana, Ennis, MT; Kneeland Gallery, Ketchum, ID; and Chemers Gallery, Tustin, CA.

Featured in “Artists to Watch” July 2006