Featured Artist of the Month
Bonnie Rose Bryan
For our very first ‘Artist Inteview’ this month I’ve had the pleasure to interview the magical Bonnie Rose Bryan! I can’t quite remember when I first came across her fabulous work, but I do remember that when I first encountered it, I was instantly mesmerised and in love with it.
Fairies, goddesses and magical beings of the natural realm can often be seen in her work, they inspire and speak to me on all sorts of levels! But her talent doesn’t stop there, additionally, Bonnie also paints people, portraits, cups of coffee, butteflies, animals and beautiful abstracts!
She likes to work with watercolours, acrylic paints, coloured pencils and ink pens. She often uses bold, bright colours in the most attractive combinations.
In addition to Bonnie being an extraordinary artist I’ve also found her personality one to be gentle, kind and generous. She always has something affirming to say about other people’s work and I find her endlessly encouraging. When I think of Bonnie, I think of faery dust that smells of cotton candy, I really hope to meet her in real life one day! :)) (I am also thrilled that she’s agreed to be an administrator on the site here, yay!)
I am the lucky owner of one of these little love houses (ATC), lookit how cute they are! ->
I hope you enjoy the below interview with her!
|1. Who are you and how would you describe your work/ art?
I am Bonnie Rose Bryan, a woman and an artist, made of stardust.
Primarily, I’m a figurative artist; my specialties are the female figure and the “fantasy” genre (particularly faeries.) All of my work contains personal elements, and I often infuse spiritual currents and sacred archetypes into my work. Typically, my mediums of choice are watercolours, acrylics, coloured pencils, and ink pens; I have quite a variety of mediums under my belt, but those four seem to be the ones I reach for the most.
2. Who or what inspires you to create?
In a nutshell: colour, nature, aesthetics, music, spirituality, my moods, and my conversations with the Universe.
With my figurative works, I think the inspiration behind the work can be quite evident (for example, I like coffee and I like purple, so I paint a purple coffee cup.) However, there are some paintings which come to me from the outside-in. I often feel, especially with my faerie portraits, that the images come in a sort of intuitive messages and conversation with the faeries, and with other subjects, the inspiration comes from messages and conversations with the Universe… I don’t always know who’s sending the signal, only that I’m receiving it.
|3. What is lying on your art desk today?
At the moment, I have one mixed media work in process, a large portrait of Green Tara, which has been lying on the shelf, untouched for quite sometime, and is next on my list of things to finish.
I don’t actually have an art desk, per se. My studio (more like art storage) space is shared with the office. Much to my dismay, my art-making space is very impermanent, and has to cooperate with meals, my husband, and a rather clingy fox terrier. For small drawings, I’ll often work on the tiny corner of free space next to my keyboard. For small paintings, I usually work on a little wooden folding table, either in the office, or while sitting on sofa in the living room. Larger works are done on the dining table, or I’ll set up the easel in the living room, in front of the windows. When I’m not painting, everything gets packed up and tucked away, where it sleeps, while I go about the non-painting parts of my day-to-day.
|4. Out of everything you’ve ever painted, what is your favourite painting/ creation and why?
Ouch… this is a difficult question to answer!
If I had to choose a favourite from my recent works (within the last 10 years,) it’s a toss-up between “La Tristesse” (an acrylic) and “Sharing Secrets” (a watercolour).
I consider them to be two of my best works, and at the time of their creation, each was a technical accomplishment for me in both of their respective mediums. Both include deep esoteric and emotional undercurrents, which appeals to me. The depth, gossamer glow, and soft rendering in “La Tristesse” always surprises me (Did I really paint this?)
I love the jewel toned colours and all of the decorative details in ”Sharing Secrets”. That painting always makes me feel satisfied, accomplished, and glittery on the inside. (It also features a moth, a symbol that pops up in a few of my works, which has a special significance for me).
|5. What is your favourite piece of art by another painter/artist?
Oh, this is equally as difficult as the last question! The works of Brian Froud, Alfonse Mucha, and Vincent Van Gogh have always touched me so deeply, and been such tremendous sources of inspiration throughout my life. Almost anything and everything from those three saints of paint would fall into my “I’m in love, it makes me swoon” category.
|6. What is the worst bit of art advice anyone has ever given you?
“You have to make sketches first.” This was an anthem in my university art classes, and I spent countless hours forcing out sketches for pieces that were more than ready to be painted. Lots and lots of sketches… sketches until my eyes could blur shut and my hands could fall off… sketches until I had no will left to paint anything at all. What utter nonsense! When the baby’s coming, you breathe and you push, you don’t say “hang on a while, kid, I gotta make an itinerary and a blueprint first.”
“Have to…” this is art, there is no have to!
I tend to work on things in my head, and when it’s ready to come out, I make it. Sometimes I have no idea what I’m going to make, until I put the brush to the canvas!
From time to time I have done sketches to work out parts that aren’t finished baking in my head, or isn’t coming through clearly from the cosmic conversation, and sometimes I sketch to jot down ideas for artworks that I plan to work on later. But, I can’t make a painting wait, just because it hasn’t been planned and practiced down to the finest detail – to make it wait is counter productive and creatively stifling, and I certainly don’t consider the pre-planning of artwork to be a mandatory and necessary precursory step to the actual making of it.
7. What is the best bit of art advice anyone has ever given you?
Two things: “Paint it however you want.” and “So what if nobody else likes it or understand it.” Following those bits of wisdom has made an enormous impact on my work, and the personal satisfaction I get from the process of making it (as well as enjoying the finished results.) I cannot and will not please everyone, nor do I aim to, but I can strive to be true to myself and my art.
In my opinion, art-making shouldn’t be about rules. It’s not about making work to please other people and fulfil their expectations of how my art should be, either. If I wanted to paint with a set of rigid instructions and inflexible absolutes, and paint it to the specifications of someone else’s ideals, I’d simply and exclusively do paint-by-numbers.
I’m of the opinion that in art making, nothing is mandatory and no technique is absolute. If I want to scrub with my brush until the bristles fall out, or use a “watercolour” brush with acrylic paints, I will! If a faerie says to me, “I’m blue,” well then, she’s blue, and if she changes her mind half way through, she might turn out purple instead… If I want to have a yellow sky and an upside down tree, so be it! I just go with the flow.
Just like the infamous Bob Ross, I regard each piece as a little world, and in my world, I can make it any way I want to. My artistic process is highly intuitive and personal, where “normal” and “traditional” may or may not be invited.
8. Have you ever put your paintbrush in your cup of tea by mistake?
Haha! Oi vey, if only I had a coin for every time I’ve put a paint brush into a cup of tea or a glass of wine, I could buy myself a paint factory.
9. What is the strangest medium/material you’ve ever worked with?
The strangest mediums: blueberry juice, for painting… strips of textured plastic mesh from potato sacks (which I knit into gold fish, for an assemblage work.) … and a digital scanner, for making auto portraits.
10. What hopes and dreams do you have for your art & future?
I hope, firstly, for the time to continue making it on a daily basis, secondly, for the ability to improve and hone my skills, and thirdly, for the luck and prosperity to sell more of it.
11. If you couldn’t be an artist in this life, what other job or hobby would you really want to give a go?
If I were not an artist, I would not be myself… Art is so interwoven into the fabric of me; I’d have to be someone else in order to stop making it.
Being a rock star would fun, of course! Meanwhile, back on planet Earth, stage-fright is the major culprit who holds me back from more seriously pursuing my musical interests, but I do enjoy playing in the privacy of my home. I suppose if I didn’t make art, I would spend more time rehearsing and improving musically, if only for a hobby, not necessarily for a career choice.
While in school, if I had been at all clever with maths, the slightest bit capable of suffering through chemistry lab, and had actually been more practical and studious, rather than spending hours getting dirty with art supplies, it’s likely that I would have pursued a career in either veterinarian medicine or forensic psychology, both of which hold great interest to me.
12. What are your favourite 5 art related websites or blogs?
Of course, I’m quite fond of www.willowing.org ! I’m a frequent visitor to www.worldoffroud.com, where I can keep up to date on Froud goodies, and also discover new faerie artists via the webring. Although it’s not specifically an art site, I spend a lot of time reading and researching about artists and art history on www.wikipedia.com I enjoy reading random blogs and discovering artwork on the 2 Ning groups I belong to: willowing.ning.com and garyreef.ning.com (hugs and sparkles to all the Ning-a-ling artists!)
13. Give a shout out to a fellow artist whose work and/or person & energy you really love!
Without sounding like a total butt-kisser, Tamara Laporte has been one of the most motivating and inspiring artists I know… I always look forward to a new video, blog post, and artwork from Tam. Her energy is so positive and uplifting, and I always feel so at home on her Ning group, where the inspiration, support, and joie de vivre is so amazingly abundant. Thanks for sharing the energy, love, and art, Tam!
14. If you could give one piece of advice to aspiring artists, what would it be?
Make art. Make it as often as you can. If you don’t pick up that brush or that pencil and actually make a mark, you’ll never advance in your artistic journey. Take it one step at a time, but take the step!
I think a lot of people are overwhelmed by the fear of failure, succumbing to the whisperings of the gremlins who say, “you can’t… you won’t… you don’t know how to…” and so, ultimately they do fail, because they never allow themselves the chance to begin.
We all learn and grow by experience, by doing, by trying. Remember, we all begin at the beginning, even the greatest art masters started with scribbles and stick figures (and some of them kept on scribbling, too!) If you feel like you need some guidance in your techniques then take an art course, check out books about art, or watch tutorials online; whatever helps you feel confident, whatever helps to motivate and support you in actually making your art, is a good thing!
To be the artist you want to be, MAKE ART
… and make it the way you want to, no matter what anybody says!
Bonnie Rose currently has a summer sale on! You can buy her work here;
I hope you enjoy this month’s artist interview!
Stay tuned for next month when we’ll be interviewing the wonderful Rhomany from Rhomany’s Realm and learn more about Rosie & her adorable cat Marmalade! :-)