Joseph Lorusso | “Scenes From the City”

Nationally known figurative artist Joseph Lorusso will have his debut show with Bonner David Galleries on Thursday, January 21, from 6-9pm. His paintings depict the natural beauty, intrigue, and romance of urban life. “As with any new work, I am interested in the reaction from the viewer. My work is mostly narrative in nature – the viewer’s interpretation is meaningful,” Joseph says. “These works have an edginess and ephemeral quality that I’ve been having fun exploring.” With this show, Lorusso is venturing into cityscapes, trying to keep them loose yet atmospheric and powerful.

Although he is not a stranger to Scottsdale, Lorusso is eager to exhibit his latest body of work in a new setting.  Collectors will recognize his poignant, familiar style and should be delighted to experience his insights into the simplicity and complexity of everyday relationships. His show will be hanging in our gallery from January 21 to February 9, so make sure you stop in between now and then to take your favorite piece of his home!

Ellen: The Little Girl Who Found Her Voice

ellen-book-front-coverEllen Skidmore has always had trouble communicating. Her speech impediment prevented her from expressing herself, which lead to a lot of sadness for a long time. Ellen said, “All my life I have had great difficulty trying to understand the underlying nature of my existence. For a long time, I looked outside myself for connection, direction and validation. I searched and struggled with this until I could go on no more and felt my spirit was broken.”

In college, Skidmore started looking into art therapy and found a professor who really challenged her. She found that painting was the place where she was at peace. “Part of the painting process is to paint your pain and it somehow morphs into beauty,” Ellen explains, “I could paint something really sad and someone could say ‘oh my god, that just makes me so happy.'” Ellen found happiness in painting, and she really wanted to share that with people.

When thinking of how she could share her own story of accepting herself, she thought about creating a children’s book. “My own story came out in a flurry,” she remembers, “Making the book was a labor of love and it’s been very cathartic.”

Ellen wants her own story to inspire children to be more accepting of themselves. She said, “I’m just really hopeful that it will be inspiring to children, and girls especially, I want them to be captain of their own ship.” Writing her book, Ellen was able to reflect on how painting has changed her own view of herself.

Ellen is debuting a new show this week with an opening reception on Thursday, December 17th, from 6-9pm. We are so excited to see her book and her latest works on display at our gallery! You can learn more about Ellen and her remarkable story through this video.

Scottdale’s Anniversary ArtWalk Exhibition:

“Away from Here” | Max Hammond


“The Watcher” | 16″ x 20″ | oil on panel

Bonner David Galleries is excited to be featuring a solo show and artist reception will debut during the Anniversary ArtWalk on October 22nd, from 6-9pm. The show, featuring Max Hammond, who is been with us for more than 10 years, is titled, “Away From Here.”

In this series, Hammond draws from his dreams to create his abstract scenes. He says, “I find myself pausing at dream memories, having to remind myself they are dream memories and not something that really happened.” His paintings have a hazy, dreamlike quality to them that allow you to feel as if you’re in his dreams with him. “Most dreams are forgotten quickly, but sometimes a dream will come along with such vividness that it sears memories as clear as waking images. I feel as though I’ve met some of these imaginary people.”

Hammond paints his abstracts through layers, often during 6-10 different painting sessions. He plays off each session, sometimes enriching previous layers, sometimes adding a layer that opposes the previous, balancing and pushing limits of previous layers. Contrast is where he has made his home for this show, with more texture and saturation against chromatic grey.

Hammond’s pieces for his solo show are vivid and stunning. The range in color in his work is a testament to how vibrant he wants these scenes to be. The images, although abstract, allow you to step right into them and feel the scene, as if you were really there. Hammond’s solo show will be on display from October 22 – November 17, 2015.

Click “Attending” on the event page for more details and sneak peaks to come!

Copper & Bronze

image001Benjamin Shamback and Nathan Fischer both use metal as a central part of their art, yet the way they put it to use is drastically different.

Shamback creates beautiful floral still life paintings with oil on copper. His work beams with color, as he considers himself a colorist, first and foremost. His dynamic coloration of a simple bouquet of orchids or day lilies with richly toned backdrops result in stunning pieces that embrace the elegance of the style of old masters in a way that is refreshingly contemporary and unique for our current day.

During a recent visit to the Art Institute of Chicago, Shamback was able to see the work of three artists who have directly inspired his latest show; Fantin Latour, Chaim Soutine and Simon Chardin. “All three achieve what I’m looking for in my paintings in completely different ways and I find their solutions to the problem of painting very inspiring.”

This year Shamback’s work is in a larger scale, setting him apart from others who paint on copper, as works on copper are traditionally done on a very small scale. However, Shamback states that his desire to go larger has to do with their “physicality” and the physical presence that can be achieved by a bigger painting, reminding the viewer that a painting is not just about imagery, and “these paintings are not about flowers.”


Nathan Fischer utilizes a very different approach to creating his work. He uses minerals and chemicals which react with the metal to change the surface color of the metal, creating a patina color, allowing for an intriguing creative process. However, this process can prove to be equally challenging, as the minerals can have a mind of their own, often reacting in unexpected ways. Yet this challenge is a part of the creative process Fischer has come to embrace as he continually experiments with ways of applying his solutions to achieve new and exciting results.

Fischer is drawn to the “interplay of elements,” which in inspires the work he cursive 32x20creates, alluding to where water meets land or land meets air, then elaborating on the colors and patterns found there. By implementing natural colors and textures he finds something we can all relate to, then adds an element of intrigue. His focus is on capturing “experiences and natural elements that will not expire.”

The result are stunning works of art that seem to dance in the light. Full of depth, texture and intrigue, they make a statement with a bold presence that fills the space they occupy.

“Copper & Bronze” will open on Thursday, October 3, with a special artist reception from 6-9 pm. The show will hang in the gallery  through October 21st, and then will be moved to Bonner David North | Baker, for an encore show beginning October 24th.


“Unintended Light”

Coming to Bonner David Galleries on February 25 – March 20, 2012, is local painter Max Hammond. Embracing the pure untainted beauty of abstract painting, Hammond creates work that catches the eye and stirs you at the core. Focusing on color, form and texture, he is able to create unique paintings that evoke emotion and intrigue.

Hammond received his B.F.A from the University of Utah; painting landscapes of the salt marshes he grew up around, as well as studying the classical human form. However, his love for color began when he won a six-week trip to Mexico. There he saw color used in a way he had never seen before. The people utilized color to bring life to otherwise dull and unsightly living quarters. Later, Hammond received his M.F.A in painting from Arizona State University.

Hammond’s upcoming show, “Unintended Light,” will feature his newest paintings, which seem to emit a light and a life of their own. Hammond says of his art, “Abstract painting is the poetry of painting; it exists to converse with you in solitary moments as in the solitude it was created. It doesn’t tell you what it means, it suggests, teases and eludes, perhaps even whispers to you when you can’t sleep at night. And even as the words in a sentence may change their intonations with time so may the color passages shift in your eyes.” Come join us at the reception, Saturday, February 25, 2012, from 1:00-5:00pm and enjoy these amazing works of art for yourself.

Benjamin Shamback

Bonner David’s newest artist, Benjamin Shamback, is adding a unique flair with his paintings. His work is characterized by the rich color and vivid detail, expressed in his simple, yet beautifully intricate still life paintings. Using subject matter such as filled glasses, vases, delicate flowers and brightly colored bags he creates eye-catching work that seldom fails to draw one in.

Working with oil is his specialty; however, Shamback is one of the only painters in the United States who paints on copper, exclusively. He began painting on this surface after studying a piece by Baroque artist, Artemesia Gentileschi, which was painted with oil on copper. By working with this unique combination, Shamback only adds to the depth and intrigue of his paintings. In addition, he seeks a greater discovery in his work, stating that, “the intense realism of these paintings is intended as a contrast to the physicality and harshness of the metal.” His passion for his art is evident in his work. “I am drawn in every painting, to the tension between the conveyance and clarity of information and the conceptual and technical potential of paint.”

Shamback received a BA in illustration from Central Connecticut State University in 1996. In 1999 he earned his masters of Fine Arts from Fontbonne University in St. Louis, Missouri. Located now in Mobile, Alabama with his wife and two daughters, he is also a Professor of Painting and Drawing at the University of South Alabama.

Not only can you find Shamback’s paintings in Bonner David Galleries, but they have appeared in movies, such as the 2011 film, “A Little Bit of Heaven,” not yet released in the US. (


Claudia Hartley and Dyana Hesson “Together Again”

Claudia Hartley and Dyana Hesson will be reuniting at Bonner David Galleries on February 2, 2012, in a role reversal of sorts.  Hartley, so well known for her colorful landscapes has used her move to the South to focus on creating cheerful interior scenes, while Hesson, mostly known for her botanical images, makes a foray into the world of landscape painting.

Claudia Hartley’s style has evolved over the years, leading to her newest works. During college, she experimented widely with abstracts. She later went through a time of painting portraits, using an impressionistic or realistic style, in oils. Yet, she missed strong, vibrant colors. Now, her love of Fauvist painters and their use of bright colors are very apparent, in her modernist paintings. She chooses to convey the love of her subject matter using exciting, bold colors in acrylics. When describing her own paintings, she says they are “happy, cheerful” and “intricate composition, [using a] large variety of colors and layers of patterns.” Hartley’s eye-catching creations of Southern interiors and stunning landscapes successfully convey her love for her surroundings, giving viewers the same chance to enjoy the world in which we live.

Dyana Hesson, known for her beautifully detailed flowers, will be showing her annual collection of conversation hearts, small paintings of roses named after the Valentine candy. Continuing with her love of nature and its beauty, she has recently begun painting landscapes, viewing nature from a different perspective. From the time she was young, nature has always been her love and inspiration.  Plants and flowers were always a part of her life. “God’s creation is what inspires me” and it is the diverse and mountainous landscapes of the West she has fallen in love with. The oceans of California, red rocks of the desert and the mountains of Montana andColorado, all provide Hesson with ideal inspiration for her Western landscapes. She hopes her art can be healing and free us, for just a moment, from the complex lives we lead, reminding people of the beauty that constantly surrounds us.

“The Path to Enlightenment” by Peregrine Heathcote

Well known British artist Peregrine Heathcote (yes, that’s his real name) will be showcasing his latest paintings at Bonner David Galleries for the Fiesta Bowl Art Walk beginning Thursday, December 29th continuing until January 18th.  Filled with nostalgic images, the show title comes from Oprah Winfrey’s final show which challenged people to continue their own “search for enlightenment.” 

Heathcote’s romantic, prewar era style paintings evoke a romantic, silver screen era focusing on mood, color, and tone.  Perhaps this nuance is best expressed in his painting, “The Healing of Memories.”

Being the son of an antique dealer, Peregrine is a collector—of vintage clothing, hats, period cars, planes, and trains that appear in his timeless paintings.  He uses live models to recreate the human feelings he portrays in his paintings.  Though children rarely appear in his paintings, he is tutoring his own children in his studio to express their creative spirits as he helps Harry and Lottie, with a soft word and subtle touch.

 This is Heathcote’s third solo show at Bonner David, and his collectable paintings typically find new homes very quickly.

Eric Boos and Robert LaDuke:Our Newest Artists

Thursday, December 8th marked the opening show for two of our new “family members” ceramicist Eric Boos and talented artist Robert LaDuke.  The gallery was filled with collectors checking out these two latest finds.

Boos, whose unusual, smooth ceramic works out of porcelain, refers to his works as “bowls,” even though they are more like basins.  Visitors could discover creative uses for his vessels as the refreshments for the evening were served on these novel sculptures.  Inspired by such internationally known artists as Anish Kapoor, the delicate porcelain is often frustrating to work with. His multicolored work in many sizes created a fun atmosphere for the evening.

Robert LaDuke’s narrative works are inspired from his own memories and dreams as well as his collections of old toys from his grandfather.  LaDuke finds humor and nostalgia exciting to paint as can be witnessed in his painting “Smoke” which details a woman teaching her dog to catch a ball, while in the background, her house is on fire.  Though the woman seems oblivious to the world around her, LaDuke claims this is often how he feels when he paints, as he becomes so involved in his art, that the world around him disappears.


This exciting show is on display until December 24th and definitely merits a visit to Bonner David!

“The Most Moving Still Life”


"It's Still Life"


 Bonner David’s first show of the season, “It’s Still Life”, will feature seven noted still life artists; Jane Jones, Cary Ennis, John Schieffer, Nate Ronniger, Richard Williams, George Gonzalez, and Jan Saia, all who bring flavor and brilliance to the term “still life.” Each artist captures something quite special and moving in their paintings.  John Schieffer’s marbles look so shiny and realistic that it seems you could just reach out and take them!  Nate Ronniger uses major contrast in color and dimension that captures your eye instantly. Cary Ennis’ paintings are both delicate and powerful at the same time. Both George Gonzalez and Jan Saia elevate still life to its classical form.          


 We had the opportunity to learn about the artistic process of Jane Jones, Richard Williams, and Cary Ennis:        

"Sunset", Jane Jones

You paint all sorts of different flowers, is there a particular flower that you enjoy painting most?      

Jane Jones: I am usually in love with the flowers that I am painting at any given time; I paint flowers that will more clearly communicate the important qualities of power and fragility.           

Where did the idea for the horizontal lines come from?          

JJ:  I have been photographing the ideas for the “stripe” paintings for several years. During the last year though, I have had opportunities to paint and show this new body of work. I love the crisp geometry of the stripes and find that they are an interesting and energizing addition to my paintings, and the geometry of the stripes enhances the organic qualities of the flowers.          

 You spend so much time around flowers and gardens, what is the most beautiful garden you have visited?           

JJ: The Denver Botanic Gardens is one of the very best botanical gardens I have ever visited, but if I had to chose one on earth to spend the rest of my life it would be Keukenhof Gardens near Leiden in Holland. If there is a heaven on Earth, it is there!! Just thinking about it I am ready to plan another trip!            

"Cobalt Teapot and Cherries", Richard Williams


Do you think your still lifes captures something special because they are miniature?          

Dick Williams: Of course! What I paint just doesn’t work larger. If you can put that punch in such a small place then that’s all you need.          

How did you start painting miniatures?           

DW: I saw a brochure from a teacher at the Scottsdale Artist School and she was going to teach a class on miniatures, I didn’t take the class, I just thought, “Hell, I can do that.”  I read a little about the technique and started painting.            

Are you inspired by certain objects?             

DW: Definitely! The blue of a vase is always exciting, the way the lights hits objects. If I am outside I like to paint on the spot.         

"Rhododendrons, Peach and Blue", Cary Ennis

 What are your inspirations for staging your still lifes?

Cary Ennis: From patterns of light and shadow or some color combination or shape. Sometimes from walking through the yard or into a grocery store and seeing flowers or some unexpected combination of colors in fruits or vegetables that catch my eye.

How long does it take you to set up before you knw when it’s right to paint?

CE: There is no knowing how long it will take to set something up. Sometimes it is very obvious and flows quickly into a finshes set-up, other times it can take days to get everything to feel right. It is ready when I fall in love with what I see.

 The show will hang from September 22- October 12. Make sure to come to the opening Thursday September 22 from 7-9 p.m.