Bonnie Zahn Griffith

I am a plein air painter and landscape artist who mostly works in pastels, oils. This rich pigments of pastel and oil allows me to create paintings that have the brilliance and the bold color we see in the landscapes of the in the western United States and oils give one unlimited options of color and texture. These mediums lets me present this world with rich color and texture. I experiment with a variety of mediums such as encaustics, inks, paints and pastels, continually. I have come to realize that my best representation of the statement I wanted to make is with the bold and brilliant pigments; whether it be pastels, oil or waxing. These allow me to bring depth and texture, light and mood into a painting or print. My goal is to create work that draw the viewer in to experience the time of day, the temperature, the sound, the smells. I want the viewer to experience the work and get lost in it – even for a moment. As a child of artist parents, I grew up on a ranch near the Missouri Breaks in central Montana. We lived in a remote area and there wasn’t much for a kid to do in the evenings but read and draw. I did both, getting into my mother’s paints and paper; and create I did. My life was riding horses, drawing and painting, reading and all the stuff including chores a kid growing up on a good sized ranch does. I don’t remember ever being “bored” because there was always something to do that interested me! Pretty much all of that stuck with me through a career in medical technologies and I chose to continue with the artwork and experiment with different mediums, finally, nearly exclusively settling on pastels and oils as the mediums of choice, painting now as a full time artist. My love of the landscape prompts me to paint it. I look for a story to tell when I look at the sagebrush hills, the lush river lands, the wheat fields, the intense greens of spring in rich mountain valleys and the ever changing colors of the desert. My mediums allow me to tell that story with great color and intensity and if I have been able to create a piece that brings the viewer into it to experience it…then I have done my job. I went to college in Chicago in the early 70’s and worked there after graduation. Missing the west, I moved back to Montana in 1975 and worked there until employment moved me to southeastern WA. After living there 20+ years I now share my time mostly in Montana, Utah with my base in Meridian, Idaho. My art is my full time work both painting and teaching classes. Much of my work is plein air done on location. I am the Secretary for the Pastel Society of the West Coast, a signature member of and past President for the Northwest Pastel Society (IAPS), member of the Landscape Artists International (juried membership) and board member for the Plein Air Painters of Idaho. Currently I serve as the vice chair for the Meridian (ID) Arts Commission, have served as the executive director of a museum and curator for galleries. It has been with pleasure that I have been selected to jury and judge art shows and plein air competions. I teach workshops in pastel painting techniques and multimedia art.

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