Artist draws inspiration from nature, fellow hikers |

Artist draws inspiration from nature, fellow hikers

Carla Jean Whitley

If you go

Bonnie Daniels opening reception

Friday, 5-8 p.m. Meet Bonnie Daniels during Cooper Corner Gallery’s second Friday artist reception. Refreshments will be provided.

Cooper Corner Gallery, 315 Eighth St., Glenwood Springs | 945-5199 |

Regardless of what you do, it’s hard to avoid inspiration in Garfield County.

That’s certainly been the case for painter Bonnie Daniels. She’ll show the results of that inspiration as Cooper Corner Gallery’s featured artist for the month of May. Her show “Trail Mix” highlights the things she loves in her everyday life. Recently, Daniels did a question-and-answer session with the Post Independent about her work.

Post Independent: What inspired the concept “Trail Mix”?

Bonnie Daniels: I was an avid hiker/backpacker from 18 to 26. Then work/life changed that dynamic.

I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to hike in Switzerland and Austria in my early 40s.

A year ago, when I retired from Vicki Lee Green Realtors after 30 years, I connected with a women’s group of hikers that live in and around New Castle. These gals had me on trails I never knew were even out there!

I chose a variety of scenes from our weekly outings and came up with a dozen different subjects to create a mix. There are fall colors, a chipmunk, a mountain vista, mushrooms, a nutcracker, snow scenes and wildflowers. What better way to save a memory — paint it and put on your wall and see it every day to remind you of a day well spent.

PI: How did you become a professional artist?

BD: Initially, it was an eighth-grade art teacher that encouraged me. Teachers can make a difference on so many levels, can’t they? I did this tile mosaic clown, which was absolutely scary as clowns tend to be. Luckily, I moved on from that nightmare.

A class here and there with some great artists — Dan Young, Dean Bowlby, Kristen Johnson, Joel Johnson — annual paint trips with the Glenwood Springs Art Guild, participating yearly in the Fall Art Festival and entering a few other shows. The Art Guild members were encouraging and helpful with their critiques at weekly paint sessions.

I have been at Cooper Corner Gallery for two years. Some of my paintings have gone to China and the East Coast. An interior decorator from Denver follows my work and buys the statues and old cars for his clients.

Since retiring I now have that precious element of time. I am anxious to get back to watercolors — my favorite media — and exploring/expanding/improving my painting techniques.

PI: Do you paint what you like or what you think locals and tourists would like?

BD: I struggle with producing works that will sell and those that I want to do that might not sell. Tourists love Hanging Lake, Mount Sopris, Hotel Colorado — all that they can take home as a memory of their time spent in our special valley. Or painting what I want to paint — dogs, statues, old cars. So, I mix both!

Nature is an easy choice. Painting plein air (outdoors — my favorite place to be) covers both worlds — nature and art. For myself, I paint special places and subjects from my travels — Pompeii, Amalfi Coast, Switzerland, Amsterdam.

PI: What are some of your favorite hikes?

BD: Three Forks, above Rifle: Best wildflowers to be seen if you time it right.

Old Snowmass has it all: water, flowers, wildlife.

Lake Constantine outside Minturn: One tough hike.

I hope I have it in me to do it again because it is incredible.

Lower Palisade Rim: Don’t do it if it is raining. But the petroglyphs, at the top, are worth the journey.

And speaking of journeys: special thank yous to Ines, Janine, Mary, Carol, Diane, Joanne, Marcia, Manette, Mogli, Olgi, Dee, Sarah, Arlene, Portia, Sally, Melissa, Tori and Cynthia for expanding my world, physically and artistically.

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