"I shall dance in the radiance of the sun, and on the golden stage of time and space, I shall come to know the tempo of the earth and the rhythm of the universe."
Decades come and go, but the works of Jeanne Bonine will live on in the archives of art. Beauty and inspiration defines her newly released coffee table book, "Inspirations of Timeless Beauty" which is a twenty-year retrospective of the life and watercolor paintings of this Romantic-Idealist painter. Her journey and need to find reason and purpose is dictated by the twists and turns of opposition. Despite the struggles she encounters, that begin with the loss of her father, two early divorces, and single parenting on a young artist’s budget, she keeps her optimism, her drive and her search for self-realization. A self-taught painter, she boldly begins at an early age to self-publish her works as limited editions, dedicating herself to a life-long relationship with her art. Always haunting her is the desire to serve humanity. In her quest to do so and in the middle of her career as a successful artist, she is diagnosed with stage III breast cancer. Surrendering to a higher purpose, Bonine’s work becomes larger-than life and bolder with each stroke of courage. The remarks Jeanne begins to hear bring joy to her ears. "Your paintings take my pain away". These are the words that make her realize she is indeed fulfilling the intent of her life’s purpose. In a need to further express her self and communicate to others the beauty that she sees, Bonine begins to write prose of inspiration.
Taking a chance, she heads out west with her mother and son to heal the wounds and start anew. The dry and barren Sonoran Desert warms her spirit with the lessons of survival and she lives only to watch the passing of her brother, who had joined her life on the small ranch in Arizona and had become closely involved in her business affairs. She is left to attend to her aging mother, the property, as well as the business while finding the needed time for self-expression in her painting. Each day is one of gratitude for this artist who believes in the magic of life. She continues to paint in the now of the moment, bringing her spirit into her transparent watercolors for all to share.
Jeanne Bonine’s story is a spiritual journey of courage, optimism, sacrifice, belief and survival. As an artist she has been labeled a Romantic Realist, known for her soft and lush larger-than-life watercolors. Although her early works of the 70’s were executed in oils, Bonine soon discovered the challenge of transparent watercolor. It became the media of her choice, learning through the years to master "purist" techniques and the art of controlled freedom.
Watercolor images of Jeanne Bonine can be found in galleries throughout the United States and in collector’s homes and offices throughout the world. Her works have been featured on Northwest Airlines’ wine and food menus and in "Victoria" magazine’s "Favorite Things" column. They grace the walls of Arizona’s Hilton Mesa, Camelback Spa and Mayo Clinic, Scottsdale.
At home in the Southwest, surrounded by subtle beauty and luminescent light, Jeanne finds the Sonoran Desert a vital part of her inspiration and well-being. Her studio in North Scottsdale is open by appointment should you have the opportunity to visit.
"Art is a reflection of the self – the essence of what the artist sees and feels. It is through the process of creating that the art and the artist become inseparable, deepening a symbiotic relationship of awareness, interdependence and truth."
It is difficult to separate myself from my work. I am often called to do so in response to questions regarding my finished paintings. What inspires you? How long does it take to create a work? What is your process?
The process began long ago as a child, trying to fulfill my insatiable need to create. Finding the outlet through painting took some trial and error and further exploration and risks were necessary when I switched mediums and subject matters in midstream of my career. Artists, like myself who are seasoned with time, dislike to answer the question of "How long does it take?" My favorite way of responding is: "A lifetime and some very rewarding hours". How true it is, for every moment, every experience of life goes into each of my paintings, and my work becomes the eyes, the heart and soul of what I see and feel.
Nature, of course, has always been the inspiration of my work, lifting me to a higher place and teaching me the ways of life. Life, in itself, is more than one should need to create.
Technically speaking, I believe in mastering the art of strong composition. After I have fulfilled this step I sketch the image lightly on my watercolor paper then put it to rest for several days while my mind creates the vision of what I want to accomplish. Alone, in solitude and silence, my subject matter is given first attention. Using "Purist" techniques, which allows no usage of materials added to transparent watercolors such as masking or lifting mediums, salt, black or white paints, I execute my work by brush on 550- gram cold press paper. Layers upon layers are applied as I approach the essence of my subjects with a larger-than-life format concentrating on the individual detail of its components. The magic happens when the music is turned on and I begin to contrast the detail with the submissive abstract-like backgrounds achieving the luring essence of beauty. Totally submerged in time, I lose myself in this process and flow begins – the blissful and unnoticed time between here and there, the state between consciousness and oneness with all. The work here is done quickly and spontaneously; allowing my inner self to know where color placement is needed while unknowingly keeping an eye on the control of the water and paint. The focus is intense and emotionally draining.
With the last stroke completed, I place the finished work in hiding for several days until I can look at it objectively. Before signing my name, I give thanks and ask a question of myself: "Who actually painted this piece?"