About 1.5 miles from New Mexico Cabin Rentals and Double E Ranch in Gila, NM lives Artist Bonita Barlow. All pieces in Ms. Barlow's slideshow are 12"x12" oil on cradled board. Each: $300.
My love of landscape painting began when I arrived in New Mexico as a young transplant from the east coast in the late 70's. The clarity of the light thrilled my eye . I tried my hand at Plein air painting with a group of Santa Fe painters. We'd head out with our french easels. I knew instantly that I was lost. Having gone to art school back in Boston hadn't prepared me for this. An artist, whose work I admired, suggested that I go study with Henry Henche back in Provincetown Massachusetts. Henche was a master of translating light through color tones as opposed to tonal painting. His mentor had been Charles Hawthorn who had been taught by William Merritt Chase. I had happened upon a great lineage of American Impressionists!
In the summer of 1980 I drove back across the country to take a month long summer course offered by Henry at his Cape School of Art. After Hawthorn’s death he took over the school and taught there for over 50 years. Henry was in his 80's when I met him and still a powerhouse. I lived in my car, bathed at the beach and frequently went dumpster diving to find groceries. This was the summer I started to really see. This changed everything.
By the late 80's I felt there was something more I wanted to say. Some buried mystery needed to be expressed so I jumped off into the world of abstract painting. It took me many years to finally find my voice in this realm. In 1999 I started what I call my “Light Sculpture” paintings. These are reflective interactive pieces consisting of oil paint, glass powder, and sometimes gold leaf. This work can be found @ bonitabarlowlight.com.
Though I moved on in my exploration of the light I find myself regularly returning to the practice of landscape painting to celebrate the beauty that surrounds me in the Southwest.