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.

“Eau My Goodness”

Peregrine Heathcote "Thunderball"

Peregrine Heathcote
“Thunderball”

“Eau My Goodness” is exactly what you’re going to be exclaiming when you see the latest of Peregrine Heathcote’s work. His work is reminiscent of a time before him – with old models of cars and planes paired with vintage-style clothing. “I love to see the design and craftsmanship and am intrigued by the histories of these objects, boats, planes and cars from the 1950s to 1970s,” Heathcote explains, “It’s a form of nostalgia as escapism. I would like to invite the viewer to somewhere else.”

His newest works focus more on water-scenes. From taking photographs on a beach to boating in the middle on a lake, water is front and center in this appropriately-named show. “I am inspired by the water,” Heathcote says, simply. “I work in a converted garage amidst a beach wood on the side of a hill.” He pulls from the view he has and puts that into his art.

In Heathcote’s paintings of glamour and luxury, there is a classic attraction in the details. His works have a feel of perfection to them; every color chosen and every stroke of the brush have been carefully thought out.

You can look forward to Heathcote’s opening reception this Thursday, December 3rd from 6-9pm where you’ll get the first viewing of Heathcote’s latest work to add to your collection. For a sneak peak, here’s the show catalog. The show will be on display in the gallery from December 3rd to 24th. Until then, watch this video for a glimpse into Heathcote’s style and process and feel free to take a look at the show catalog

Michael Carson “Mixed Emotions”

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Bonner David Galleries is excited to announce the latest show, by internationally collected painter, Michael Carson. This year he will feature his characteristic figures in an array of media. In addition to his highly collected oil paintings, which have gained recognition and attention in the art community, he is expanding to use new techniques on metal and paper.

His process on metal, which he calls ‘unpainting,’ depicts his same poised and moody figures in a fresh and unique way. He first paints the metal with a coat of white paint, then sands away the layer of white to create the figures. He then finishes them by adding a special coating to help the metal rust in a way to add dimension to the shadows and figures.

Carson has also begun to create smaller original works on paper. Using a combination of charcoals, graphite and water, he creates black and white figure drawings with all the elements characteristic of Carson’s work.

This beautiful, must-see show opens on March 20th, with a special artist reception from 6-9 pm. The show will be hung in the gallery through April 10th.  This is a show you don’t want to miss, so mark your calendars and come see these incredible works for yourself.

 

“Storytellers”

IMG_6945_edited webFor Scottsdale’s Native Artwalk, Bonner David Galleries has a spectacular show featuring two native artists, Painter Nocona Burgess and the our newest sculptor artist,  Holly Wilson. Together their works express two different ways of carrying on traditional and their works are both inspired and informed by stories of their histories, culture and beliefs.

Nocona Burgess, who is Comanche, uses accents of highly saturated colors in unexpected way to create the portraits of the real-life people from his heritage, those from the history of art and the animals he that filled the stories he heard as a child. His unique style blends the an often monochromatic figure, which vaguely resembles the black and white photo he may have used as inspiration with bold, unmistakable pops of vivid color, leaving his own mark on the pasts that inspire him.

image001Holly Wilson, Cherokee/Delaware, creates incredibly intricate, bronze and wood sculptures inspired by a mixture of observed human emotion and the legends of her background. Using the traditional lost wax method, Wilson creates each of her sculptures as one of a kind pieces, singular in edition, as she believes that each work of art has a unique spirit that can not be duplicated.

The show will open February 27, 2014 and remain on display until March 17, 2014. On Thursday, February 27, from 6-9 pm there will be a special artists reception to open the exhibit. This stunning show is one you do not want to miss, so come and join us for a night of exquisite art.

Eric Bowman “Personal Space”

Blue Benediction (24x30) panelEric Bowman’s paintings focus on the many perspectives of everyday life and human emotion. From backstage scenes of ballerina’s stretching and getting in costume, to performers lost in the height of a song, his newest show features a variety of ways to view the term, “personal space.” He has the ability to portray these intimate scenes in a delicate way that embraces the grace, intensity, passion and fleeting nature of the moment.

Nationally awarded, Eric Bowman’s work can be found in private and public collections worldwide. His latest work comprises a beautiful and eye-catching must see show, which opens on January 23, 2014 until February 3, 2014. There will be a special opening reception on Thursday, January 23, from 6-9pm. Join for an evening of art celebrating people being people.

Max Hammond “Pieces of Her Presence”

horizontal hammond

Pieces of her presence | Max Hammond

thirty seconds of respite.
just enough time to,
ease the pain in her calves.
colorful bags piled at her feet,
she eases her toes from steep shoes.
a cup of expensive coffee
in a cheap foam cup,
steams in the light from an overhead window.
alone, behind sunglasses
her little sanctuary..
she sips with her eyes the guilty pleasure of
watching people.
here they are, a parade of purposeful humanity.
possessing a direction of sorts
until, distracted by a giant photo in a window
of all things to fill their emptiness.
a vague roller coaster of chronology,
projects in need of completion.
Disembodied, they have a cadence…
the pluckish angel, the unaware, the entitled, the ones beaten up
one too many times by life.
opposite her is a divergence,
a rock in the stream
a dress with no pattern
faces in shadow
others, illuminated by so many sources
that features are indistinguishable from the background
from a window seat across the atrium
she feels a gaze
discomfited, she moves her eyes without turning her head…
a man in paint smeared clothes
is sketching.

In today’s art world, the term “abstract” is used abundantly, often with the assumption that abstract art is about nothing. However, artist Max Hammond does not view his work this way, nor does he want those who view his work to see it that way. For him, the word abstract is used too loosely, diluting the meaning of it.

For his upcoming show, Hammond hopes to visually educate viewers about his art and “abstract” art.  It’s often assumed that abstract art and non-representational art are one and the same. However, he wants people to understand that, “abstract art is about something, it is abstracted from something.” In contrast, he defines non-representational art as a “more formal painting style that has an emotional base, yet is not abstracted from an object, figure or landscape.”

Max Hammond studied figurative painting while earning his bachelors degree from the University of Utah. There he received a very traditional training, with a strong focus on drafting skills, emphasizing classical figure drawing. Later, while working towards his M.F.A from Arizona State University, a professor made a suggestion. Noticing that Hammond’s work had a strong focus on formal elements, such as color, texture and line, his professor made a comment that he should remove the figure altogether and paint pure abstract.

Hammond took this comment to heart and started experimenting with a new style. This new, sculptural way of painting was exciting and freeing. At that point he did away with his old thesis and started over, creating a completely new thesis show. It wasn’t until several years later that he reintroduced the figure into his work. Since then, he has continued to experiment with abstracting his figures.

By placing two works, side-by-side, one abstracted female figure and the other completely abstracted to the point where the “figure is almost or completely lost in the paint,” Hammond is able to help the viewer understand his process better. In doing so, he is informing people that his work is not empty, but carefully constructed with a specific idea in mind.

For Hammond, the process of creating abstract art is not a linear process. He begins by sketching a basic layout for his painting and then roughing out the first layers. After that, the rest of his process is a constant balancing act, adding layer after layer and then reassessing and adding or subtracting more layers to maintain balance.

Hammond’s art is intended to have meaning further than just the emotions it evokes. How each viewer reads his work may vary, but his goal remains the same. He may be inspired by his wife, people watching as they go to lunch, or by the figures he sees walking down the street; but whatever the original inspiration, each painting he creates is has a meaning and a subject, whether identifiable or not, it is always about something.

Max Hammond’s show opens on November 7th at 6pm with a special artist reception until 9pm. On Saturday, November 9th, from 10-2pm Max Hammond will be in the gallery for a Conversation with the artist and will be talking more in depth about his new series and the concept behind it. His show will hang in the gallery through November 29th.

Max Hammond “Still Lives in the City”

leaning 48x36Max Hammond, a skilled abstract artist, has a way with colors. He masterfully combines the pigments of the paints into beautiful works of art on each canvas. His most recent paintings, inspired by cityscapes, only add to this exquisite body of work. In addition, Hammond’s show this year also features his distinctive figurative paintings. With unique skill, he captures the essence of the human form, fusing it with the expressive strokes of abstract backgrounds.

Hammond’s show opens March 21, 2013 from 6-9pm and will hang in the gallery through April 17. To see all the images from this new show, please visit our website, or click the following link to view the PDF for his 2013 show brochure: MaxHammondStillLivesintheCity

Nocona Burgess Native Artwalk

Kicks IronThis Thursday, February 28th, on Main street is Scottsdale’s Native Artwalk. In celebration of the rich culture and long standing tradition of fine art among Native artsts, Bonner David Galleries will be featuring the work of Native artist, Nocona Burgess.

Burgess is a Comanche from Lawton Oklahoma, from a family consisting of several artists, which specialize in many forms of art. Considering his close relationship with art all throughout his life, he feels it was inevitable that he would one day become an artist himself, it is in his blood. 

Burgess uses his own personal, contemporary style to depict traditional subjects and old portraits. He feels the act of  painting these images and looking them over for hours at a time, allows him to connect with the subject matter and “is a way of saying thank you to them for all of their sacrifices.”

Burgess’ show will open on February 28th, during Native Artwalk from 6-9pm. Make sure to come down to the gallery to see the beautiful and unique work of Nocona Burgess.

Michael Carson “Depth Perception”

Inspiration vs. Imitation
By Dr. Clark David Olson

Just where do artists draw their inspiration? Landscape artists typically spend much time in nature. Still life artists work with composition by collecting vases, flowers, tables, and fabrics. But figurative artists gather their inspiration from people—people everywhere. For Michael Carson, he admits “Anything I see, a hairstyle, whatever, I’m constantly gathering.” And just think of the variety of people one encounters during everyday life.
No doubt if you’ve visited major museums around the world, the Metropolitan in New York City, the Louvre or d’Orsay in Paris, or the Prado in Madrid you’ve seen talented artists in the galleries, working to recreate the works of the masters as they set up their easels and bring their palettes (and permits) to the museum to see if they can’t replicate these masterpieces. It’s commonly said that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

But where should, and where can one draw the line between pure imitation and genuine inspiration? Artists typically surround themselves with the arts—fine architecture, music, fashion, theatre, and paintings and sculptures. Often these influences resonate within an artist and they are synthesized into their creative spirit, distilled, and then reflected in the unique art they create. As Carson notes, “artists only do themselves a disservice by not taking from other people’s art.”

Indeed, various artistic movements and schools have begun and benefitted by artists collaborating toward different styles. Kandinsky was the first known “Abstract Expressionist” followed a generation later by American Jackson Pollock, Max Ernst and Willem de Kooning. Color Field was inspired by Mark Rothko, and continued with such artists as Robert Motherwell, Barnett Newman, and Helen Frankenthaler.

Carson willing admits to being influenced in his figurative work by college roommates and artists Malcolm “Skip” Lipke and Milt Kobayashi, who obviously influenced each other. Both of them became successful artists and teachers, who passed down their style and techniques to countless students, some of whom have become successful in their own rite. Among artists, there is a culture of sharing, of borrowing, of finding inspiration in another artist’s work and putting your own unique spin on it. In Carson’s view, this give and take is what helps artist progress with their work, finding new and more personal ways of expressing their own artistic vision. Without it, he cautions, there is a risk of falling into an artistic rut. “People who I see who have their own completely original ideas—or say they do—I don’t see them evolving as fast as other artists.” And while being inspired by other artists, finding elements he wants to uniquely work into his own paintings while still retaining his own creative voice, seems, for Carson, quite intuitive. He says, “I can never be influenced enough…any new idea is an influence.” Carson believes that his growth as an artist hinges on his keeping an open eye and open mind to what his fellow artists are doing, using those influences to break new artistic ground.

Within the past two years, since he’s relocated from his native Minnesota to the Arizona desert, Michael notes that not only have his figurative subjects’ wardrobes changed, but he is aware of a shift in his color palette, using fewer colors to create a more sophisticated look. “I feel like I’ve evolved into a different artist,” he comments as he now works painting in layers to achieve of simpler, looser style. He admits to a complete evolution as an artist. His upcoming show evidences a new confidence, leaving old influences behind, as he makes little effort to hide brushstrokes, drips, or even the sketches he began with on the canvas.

It is Carson’s hope that audiences who experience his paintings will be keenly aware of themselves as viewers and question how that affects their relationship with the work as he takes figurative painting in a new direction. “I want to take the genre and do something new in that field. . . .I want to do something different with it. I will always keep in the back of my head that I want it to be a beautiful painting. . . but I also want to create something new for myself. It’s kind of a selfish thing that I do, actually.”

Sadly, some observers still make unfair comparisons of his work, as well as the work of other figurative artists. Carson believes that figurative art is a little unfairly targeted when it comes to critical discussions of imitation, “It’s kind of interesting how in the figurative painting world, it’s a little more obvious to pick [similarities] apart. I could walk into a gallery right now and see two or three landscape artists whose paintings look exactly alike, but no one ever talks about this with landscapes. There’s something about the figure that’s so recognizable. . . .I notice more of a conversation around artists imitating when it comes to figurative work.”

Despite such criticism, Carson proceeds boldly in his own, new directions. Acknowledging his skillset gained from his teachers and mentors, he now works to combine all the influences he exposes himself to toward painting in his own, bold and unique direction. Both skeptics and believers agree that Michael Carson’s paintings are original and truly inspired works of art.

Michael Carson’s show, “Depth Perception”, opens on Thursday, February 7th at 6pm until 9pm. His show will run in the gallery through February 26th. Visit our website to see all the new works for the show or view our show catalog at this link: MichaelCarson2013DepthPerception

Peregrine Heathcote: New Works

During this time of the year in Arizona, classic cars are everywhere. London-based painter, Peregrine Heathcote has a taste for the classic, which is easily visible when viewing any of his work. He combines the intoxicating glamour of iconic pre-war design with modern conceptions of beauty and silverscreen-era romance, seemingly crossing the boundaries of time. Through scenes of beautiful women and classic cars and planes, he depicts the world of our dreams. It may be a vision of the international, jet-set culture, the calming allure of the water, or timeless silverscreen romance.

His show opening, which will be from 6-9 pm on Thursday, January 10th features several new works which encompass the intrigue of a by-gone world with a flair of contemporary spirit. To view the complete show catalog PDF, click here: Heathcote 2013, or visit our website. The show will run through January 30th.