Bonnie Shapiro’s paintings have a soothing, almost dreamy quality to them. They evoke memories of a world we’ve all experienced, but perhaps have forgotten. Such things as childhood carnivals, or maybe just the simple pleasure of enjoying a beautiful Florida landscape. Her palette is calming, yet compelling, as if the images urge us to take a moment and cherish what surrounds us, reminding us that everyday life can be truly remarkable.
Q. Where are you from and where do you live now?
A. I currently live in Coral Springs. I grew up in Miami, Florida
Q. As a child, were you encouraged to pursue your art?
A. Both my parent encouraged me; I studied art both privately and in school. Although my father was adamant that I have a second career when I went to college.
Q. When did you first start painting?
A. I was always drawing even as a very young child. I started taking painting classes at about age 11.
Q. Did you attend art school?
A. I attended the University of Florida and although I did study art there I ultimately graduated with degrees in Anthropology, Psychology and Rehabilitation Counseling.
Q. Do you wait until you are inspired to paint, or do you just start painting and then get into the process? What inspires you?
A. I try to paint everyday inspired or not, but really most days I can't wait to get into the studio. I love the outdoors particularly in the early morning or evening time, when the light is the most beautiful.
Q. What is it about South Florida that intrigues you?
A. I love the everglades and wandering around the small towns. South Florida has become such an exciting place to live with so many diverse cultures.
Q. How long does it take you to complete a painting?
A. It can take a while to complete a painting as I paint in thin layers (glazes). Each layer must be completely dry before going on the next layer. A small painting can take up to a month, a larger painting much longer perhaps 6 months or so. I usually have several paintings in progress at any one time.
Q. Who were some of your influences?
A. The Ashcan School, Edward Hopper, as they depicted reality as they saw it without sentimentality. There is a starkness about Hopper's work that I respond to and of course his treatment of light
Q. What are/were some of your best and most memorable exhibits?
A. I recently took part in the Doing Business As exhibit which was a wonderful experience. I had the chance to work with a really talented group of people. I have been fortunate to exhibit regularly around Fort Lauderdale and each exhibit is unique experience
Q. Your palate is very soothing to the eyes, almost dreamy looking – how do you achieve this unusual style?
A. I use a limited palette which allows me to keep a harmony within the painting and mix beautiful neutrals and allows the few bright colors to really sing.
Q. What advice would you give to young artists who want to break into the art world?
A. Of course they must develop their artistic skills in whatever medium, but it is also important to educate yourself on the business side as well. It is important to listen to critiques of your work but in the end one must be true to one’s inner voice.
Q. Where may we see some of your work?
A. I exhibit with Gallerie Jenner and he will be having an anniversary exhibit in October and I exhibit at Tom Rossetti Gallery from time to time. My art work can be viewed on my web site, http://www.bonnieshapiro.artspan.com