Artist M Diane Bonaparte presents a colorful collection of paintings inspired by magnificent landscapes in the American Southwest. Visit her website to see more.
Even though I was born in Chicago, I grew up playing cowboys and Indians with the neighborhood kids. I was the cowgirl, complete with hat, boots and cap gun.
I was always drawn to Western movies and spent many Saturdays between three nearby theaters within a four block area. All the merchants in the local shopping district gave out free tickets for the movies.
I was influenced at an early age by my father, whose day job was welding for the Ford Motor Company. During his personal time he loved drawing flowers, and this inspired in me the desire to follow an artistic path.
Movies were also a great tool for zeroing in on the beautiful landscapes of the Southwest desert, with its fantastic sunsets, saguaro cactus giants and rain-filled washes during the monsoon season.
To capture all this wonder and color is quite a challenge. I must admit, however, that I enjoy painting scenes in black and white too. This is mostly because of one movie in particular—The Third Man, which was a fascinating character study of Harry Lime, played by Orson Welles.
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My husband and I were married in Chapel #1 on Sheppard Air Force Base when he was in basic training. We eventually transferred to Greenville, South Carolina for four years and had three children. After we returned to Chicago, I signed up for an oil painting class at the Beverly Art Center to finally get some “me time” and to make art. I felt like a late bloomer, but I was determined to learn as much as possible.
As luck would have it, we made another move, this time to Tucson, Arizona. It turned out to be the perfect place for me to create art, with mountains all around us, artists everywhere and easy access to workshops and shows to participate in. I was in art heaven!
By this time, I had added watercolors, soft pastels and acrylics to my art supplies. I like switching between the different mediums so I can stay fresh with each one.
In time, an opportunity was presented to teach at a community center, and a friend gave me a big shove in that direction. I said yes and twenty years slipped by before I realized it.
I am often asked to name my favorite color. My answer is, every last one of them!
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