Read Bondo's PostScript by clicking here
Welcome to the Artist Gallery
Castle in the Wind
speedball ink, watercolor, acrylic
30” X 22”
As a practicing artist, I have always avoided painting commissions. My fear is that the patron can already visualize what they want and my interpretation would not hit the mark.
I only paint what I love and what inspires me. I love watercolor and embrace the way it paints itself as the pigments travel through the water. I love organic paintings with the fluidity of the medium creating their own shapes.
This challenge was difficult in that we were given the task of creating a piece of art that was different than what we normally do. We could change mediums, substrates, hands… I chose to work in Black Speedball ink, white acrylic pens, and a touch of watercolor.
My piece is filled with symbolism about the journey we make as artists from excitement, to doubt, to fear, to elation when we feel successful. The dragon that appears in my painting is the JUROR who can make or break your success! My steps leading up to the castle open to reveal words that capture an artist's feeling and my own journey.
Fear of the Mouse
acrylic on overlapped canvases
40” X 48”
I took a little time to set up the overlapping canvases, which I believed would form a more dimensional visual result. After spending hours working it out in my mind, the image appeared visually on the blank canvas. The work then proceeded smoothly and efficiently.
The partially-seen mouse at the top replaces the sun or moon. The fear then spreads throughout the diffused branches as a strong force, directly towards the innocent angel-like female figure at the bottom of the overlapped canvas. This creates a more suffocating struggle as she is now completely surrounded by an invisible cage, with the inescapable dreadful omen that indicates more pressure upon her light seeking wings.
Confrontation between two forces: Seeking the light towards where and what has blocked her reach and freedom, while the Mouse symbolizes the fear conveyed through her curved body language.
Where You’re Concerned, I Don’t Have a Heart.
18” X 24”
Born on Hispaniola, one island divided into two nations, I have always been haunted by a sense of separation. Eventually, I understood that this feeling is common to the human experience. We are all searching for security in a constantly changing world, forever longing for belonging. My art emerges from this universal desire to make things whole again, especially to bridge the mundane and the divine. From the darkness of loss to the reverence for mother earth as love itself, these are the sources of my inspirations.
In the center of this oil piece is La Vaquita, the world’s smallest marine mammal and also the most endangered. There is an estimate of 10-15 Vaquitas remaining, and the idea of rescuing some by capturing them and placing them in human care is no longer considered viable. Alas, “Where You’re Concerned, I Don’t Have a Heart.”
Seven Days of Sushi
24” X 36”
When I lost my mom five months ago, my life’s joy was snuffed out, and I stopped painting. This challenge was just the kickstart I needed to wade out of my slump.
My painting, “Seven Days of Sushi,” emerged from my imagination and helped me find humor in my life again. One day when I was at the sushi bar watching the chefs create their delicacies, I pictured them as cats using chopsticks to fish for goldfish in a bowl. I quickly sketched my idea on a placemat, and the painting grew from there. Before I knew it, the glass sushi case became an aquarium, and the poor little fishies were awaiting their fate.
To help you understand: I was Morris the Cat’s press agent, a Japanese company employee, and a sushi-loving pescatarian. Does it explain why orange Tabbies rule and this pastel satire was born on this stage? Hah.
Eating Candy in the Beehive
acrylic on canvas
24” X 30”
She sits in a pool of the gift of the bees,
And feels not a sting,
So enamored is she.
Surrounded by sweet,
She nibbles her treats,
Each plastic-wrapped sugar brick stokes her heart beat.
This project with "Are You Thinking What I'm Thinking?" was a wonderful challenge to step outside my regular genre of artwork and do something completely different! I chose to interpret the title "Eating Candy in the Beehive" somewhat literally, but with my own deeper meaning intertwined. I'm curious to know... How do YOU interpret MY interpretation?
The Secret Lives of Wine
oil on canvas
20” X 16”
In creating my painting I selected to use the sacred–profane dichotomy. This is an idea posited by French sociologist Émile Durkheim. Durkheim noted two distinct areas within religions: Sacred and Profane objects. Sacred objects are regarded as having special significance and should be treated with awe and respect. Profane objects are ordinary and everyday with no special meaning attached to them. Among wine enthusiasts a vintage bottle of wine is akin to a sacred object and fast food would definitely be considered profane. I portray this duality by pairing a vintage bottle of Opus One with a Big Mac and fries from McDonalds. I’m afraid this painting may not appeal to true Oenophiles.
The River That Runs Through My Heart
acid wash on copper plate
20” X 16”
I must try to meet the “Bondo Challenge” of artistically depicting my assignment of his unique subject title stated above. Thus I could not paint a river scene with my customary oils on canvas as I have in numerous oil paintings of major rivers in the Yukon, Alaska, and the Sierra. So I experimented creating a bird’s-eye view of “The River running” or rushing through its watercourse using a sheet of copper, which I then treated with acids and a butane torch. This proved difficult to control but somehow satisfied my objective.
Next was “through My Heart”. Agonizing over its depiction, I fondly remembered the unique mining town of McCarthy, AK, with a massive river running through it. Suppose an early gold miner’s first strike was a small heart-shaped nugget. He names his claim “My Heart” and it is now a one-cabin ghost town on the map occupied by me.
I used a topographic map to put the scene in context.
Traveling With The Pope
Oil and Conté on Linen
24” X 18”
The power and beauty of the coastal environment is undeniable. I am fascinated with fractal detail of water and light in the shallows, weathered materials and the forces that created them. Through drawing, painting and sculpture, it has been my practice to point out the spectacular in the mundane. Pointing out the spectacular in the mundane, I teach how to see. The Pope, the sky, the sea… all evanescent. This painting reminds us that we travel in impermanence together. When we look deep into detail, subject and scale become irrelevant. Contemplating this paradox creates a crack in our façade of certainty about identity and meaning. We are compelled to pay attention, to unknot our minds and wake up. In this age of information overload, I curate that rarest and most elusive commodity: peace of mind. It is this intention, authenticity and capability, which viewers find compelling and discerning collectors seek.
Waking Up In My Halloween Costume
oil on canvas
24” X 20”
I was baffled by this title, partly because we never had such costumes or fancy dress, as we called them, in Liverpool.
On the other hand I have many memories of this Hallowed Evening before All Saints’ Day because it was also Duck Apple and Mischief Night and just 5 days before Bonfire Night, another pre-Winter celebration of light and fire. Other imagery of “Waking Up” struck me as the enduring exploration of space during my life, and the explanation of matter and black holes.
Orion’s Belt overlaps the three teeth of the carved pumpkin and its stars spread out. Candy is the currency of Halloween and for me that was Licorice Allsorts: a perfectly symmetrical British concoction of licorice and coconut.
My horoscope proclaimed that my creativity comes from my connections between things that I make and choose!
“On Being Taught Ballet by Peter Pan”
oil on canvas
18 X 24
Theme: Live Life To The Fullest Each and Every Day.
"All the world is made of faith, and trust and pixie dust."—J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan. Wendy reaches up to join the ballet in flight with Peter Pan—a life filled with adventures. Tinker Bell uses her wand to sprinkle pixie dust to make the magic happen. The light from Tinker Bell's wand reveals the shadows behind the two. Peter Pan's shadow, his alter ego with a mind of its own, performs his own ballet and morphs into the Black Swan. His shadow understands that death is part of life's adventure, even to those who never grow up, and gives a small glimpse of Peter's future. "To die will be an awfully big adventure."—J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan. Wendy's older self-shadow casts a thought-filled reflection of her life, grounded, but still with the loving memory of the dance.
Without Having a Dog’s Name, How Will Your Master Call You?
mixed media on MDF panel
36” X 24”
The title is a question and my project attempts to answer the question.
How will my master call me? By cell phone, of course! My cell phone is an electronic leash, connecting me to the outside world, whether I like it or not. My movements are tracked, my purchases documented, my online friendships are monitored.
Who is my master? Does it matter? Every contact is by cell phone, maybe the cell phone itself is the master.
My project is a self-portrait of me walking my dog along the beach in a favorite idyllic spot. It shows me connected by cell phone to a tree-like cell tower connected to various other electronic parts, which transmit my actions out over the internet. It shows how a quiet meditative activity is no longer private but belongs to the world.
Are You Thinking What I’m Thinking?
oil on canvas
24” X 36”
"Are You Thinking What I’m Thinking?
My fortune cookie painting title is synonymous with the title of the overall art challenge, “Are You Thinking What I’m Thinking?” My painting represents a political perspective for the year 2020. The painting’s political perspective is a simple expression of right and left political views, and the institutions and attitudes which generate them. It also expresses a deep concern for the fragility of our democracy and many long-held American beliefs. Lady Liberty represents the stalwart of what America represents, and which hopefully she will continue to represent in the future in welcoming the oppressed, poor, weak and downtrodden who approach our shores. The banners represent the loud voices that bombard us. Finally, our democratic institutions are paramount, but fragile. The guard dog keeps watch over this important aspect of our nation.
The Hotel in the Old Apple Tree
acrylic on canvas
24” X 36”
Bondo’s challenge excited me. Being more involved with layered photography, I hadn’t touched my paints in a few years. Since I usually paint abstractly, illustrating a title certainly forced me out of my comfort zone.
At first I had no idea how to depict my assigned title. Apple trees have trunks that are too slender to hide a hotel. Should the hotel be within a single fruit, seen close-up on the branch? Or should it be a treehouse?
To come up with a theme, I sifted through what I associate with apples: “Don’t Sit Under the Apple Tree,” apple of my eye, apple of discord, Newton, Steve Jobs...and wait -- the Garden of Eden! Did Eve tempt Adam into the hotel? Or is it time to hear her story?
Echos from the Wrong Side of the Glass
oil on canvas
24” X 30”
“Echos” went through a week of sifting various ideas of glass, glasses, breakage, mirrors and reflections. After settling on this version, l found it evolving during the process. In looking for reference, I borrowed the glass window from Hopper’s “Nighthawks” which I think too adds to the title. Also, originally the mannequin having head and arms was gazing at the woman but I felt it was distracting and gave too much comment. So “off with the head!” (and arms) and then the scene came alive. The emotionality of isolation and aloneness came through as did the quiet night. It does just echo.
Lying in Wait by the Golden Gate
40” X 12”
When I got my title I immediately added bridge to the phrase, “lying in wait by the Golden Gate.” So, I thought about the bridge and then my thought thread moved to clouds and rain. Thus my clouds and raindrops piece. My daughter can see the Golden Gate bridge from her living room window and she told me that the fog in San Francisco is named Karl. She says the weather news actually refers to Karl.
I am a printmaker so I use ink and plates and a press. This piece is printed on both sides of mylar. Then I printed some raindrops and added them so they dangle and provide a bit of movement. The cloud is printed on gampi paper, a very delicate rice paper, and then crushed.
Martians to the Left, Humans to the Right
Ink on Watercolor Paper
20” X 30”
After visiting an exhibition of Raymond Pettibon’s work in Los Angeles I had no doubt that my galvanizing art challenge would be made with ink and paper. The opposite of what I usually do. In order to follow my first insight, I rescued some of my childhood memories of when I learned ink. How could I create something as unique as my usual colorful canvases?
Throughout my artwork, rather than presenting a factual reality, an illusion is fabricated to conjure the realms of our imagination. For this specific painting, I used repetition and interconnection, exploring the energy field created by all living things that bind.
The School Bus Driver from Hell
16” X 32”
“The School Bus Driver from Hell” immediately caused me to think of the classic allegory about Heaven and Hell, The Great Divorce, by C. S. Lewis, in which a busload of unsubstantial “ghosts” take an excursion from “The Gray City” to Heaven, to see if they would like to stay. In this artwork, we see in the rearview mirror of the transparent, unsubstantial bus, “The Driver himself,” who “seemed full of light” and “had a look of authority.” The bus is about to land in the Valley of the Shadow of Life. If the ghosts decide to stay and become sturdy souls who can withstand the more vibrant reality of Heaven, this Valley and all the earthly past will have been Heaven. But most of the ghosts decide to return to Hell because there is always something they insist on keeping, which they prefer more than love. A copy of the book comes with purchase of the artwork.
Which One of Us is the Cat?
27” X 20”
There is an undeniable rhythm of relationships between objects in nature. I enjoy the application of various degrees of abstraction that play with the nature of visual harmonies and stories.
Eric Kandel’s recent book The Age of Insight (The Quest to Understand the Unconscious in Art, Mind and Brain) is a major influence on my current artistic process.
As I thought about the title “Who is the Cat in the Room?” [“Which One of Us is the Cat?”] the anthropomorphic implications and archetype of the cat was inescapable. I created an autobiographical story as part of the creative process. The goal is that the questioning nature of the title and the inside to outside perspective of the painting will initiate each viewer to create their own narrative.
The style and philosophy of Kandinsky, Diebenkorn, and Hockney are the nearest influences for this particular painting.
Swan Lake to Swanee River
oil on canvas
20” X 24”
Right away the title conjures up the image of the classic white ballet by Tchaikovsky, “Swan Lake”. I was able to see it performed by Bolshoi Ballet many years ago which always remains in my mind. But the title asks a question: What would Swan Lake look like if it were performed by HeeHaw?
I Danced with God, But I Stepped on His Shoe
24” X 20”
My interpretation of this statement began loosely and playfully. I wanted to keep the piece light and entertaining. I found such wonderful and fun images of dancers on the internet, and decided to make it more of a celebration of dance and just having fun, with a little silliness and drama, and a vintage feel.
The Milky Whale
Watercolor on Paper
34” X 24”
It is a well known fact that Jonah was a bad boy. God pointed him in one direction, and he went in another. The man in the moon might have told him that you can't run away from God. Jonah wasn't convinced until his ship was in a calamitous storm, and he went overboard. Not a good idea. But in His kindness, God brought him a whale who could care for the bad boy with his whale milk, while he reconsidered his poor decisions.
This painting was accomplished through much tribulation with the mediums of watercolor, gouache, acrylic, casein and Sharpie. Also with the input of Hanna-Barbera, Dr. Seuss, and the Holy Bible.
The Hands of The Rainbow
oil on panel
20” X 20”
I hardly ever do commissioned artwork, but this event allowed me to have the freedom to express what I want. The title "The Hands of The Rainbow" is somehow surreal to me, so I approached it with indirected presentation. I transformed the hands to birds as pigeons to promote Peace. I have an odd number of hands/birds to eliminate the guessing of how many people are in the picture. I created many circles as water drops, and randomly filled it in with the seven colors of the rainbow (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet). The painting "The Hands of The Rainbow" doesn't describe or explain what it looks like, but rather expresses the feeling of Harmony and Peace.
My Future Childhood
24” X 16”
At first, due to my advanced age, I assumed that I am in my future childhood. But on reflection I thought perhaps the title could refer to the return to life after passing and then I began wondering what the future world would be like, and what kind of a childhood and form a child of the future would have? I have done several paintings and can’t say which one truly suits the topic of the title.
Island to Island by Train
oil on board
11” X 14”
There are all kinds of destinations. The easy ones are physical, but the interesting ones, for me, are the spiritual. I won’t go into the machinations of it all, but for almost half a century I have wanted to know a place I’d read about as a child, and found myself just shy by a few miles of open water. Maybe one on one, I would tell you about it someday. But for now, I am content to keep it in my imagination, and preserve the perfection that can only reside in the unformed dreams of an unformed child, and can visit it in the pre-dawn hours between daylight and darkness like my own “big two-hearted river.” It will always be perfect. After all, isn’t it our dreams that sustain us?
Still Life with Symphony
18” X 24”
Okay, so I am an abstract expressionist painter painting a still life… What could go wrong? Plenty. Picking a symphony was easy. It's Beethoven's 250th birthday this year so I thought he would be the composer of my symphony; and choosing Beethoven's 5th Symphony just works with a still life. For 40 years I have been telling this stupid children's joke. What was Beethoven's favorite fruit? So I have combined this joke with the painting and thus you get "Still Life on a Symphony: BA NA NA NAAA"
Getting the score the right size and attached to the canvas in such a way that I could paint on it was a challenge. Matte medium be damned, curled edges and deteriorating paper were subdued with white glue. Finding a representation of Beethoven was a trip down memory lane. Remember those little plaster busts of composers your piano teacher would give you when you reached a milestone? They still make them... only they are plastic now. I ordered Beethoven. When he arrived I photographed him and then resized the image to fit with my bowl of fruit. I appreciate the challenge and the opportunity to do something totally different.
Crying Paper Tears
watercolor and paper collage
33” X 26”
“Crying Paper Tears” shows a world where making One Thousand Origami Cranes grants us one wish. A wish to save our planet from the disasters that will result from climate change. A wish to preserve the beauty of nature for generations to come. The weeping willow tree is crying paper tears that flow into a cracked and destroyed earth, while the tree is a nesting home for the paper origami cranes that soar into the air that is clean and pure forever. We are at the climate change tipping point today. Will the wish be granted?
When All Else Fails, You Can Ride the Purple Dog
pastel on board
302” X 18”
I have had formal teaching from many well known artists: Sergei Bongart,
Sunny Apinchapong, and Joe Mendez to name a few. I’m a free thinker,
determined to go my own way with my work and style.
Of all the different styles, I have found that abstract is my best field.
Landscapes I can do very well. Portraits, I find that what I see is not what the paying public wants to buy, though I still do them. I haven’t shied away from any opportunity with a subject or show, and have completed many shows crawling to the finish line.
There has always been lots of help every step of the way. For ten years I exhibited my own work and had group shows at Cannery Row Studios in Redondo Beach. I tried every type of show, from high school art department to handicapped women quilters. I estimate that I held over 100 shows .
My life is never dull, unless I want it that way. The future is bright with many more adventures coming around the bend.
Who’s Whistling at my Antiquities?
acrylic on panel
24” X 24”
I do a lot of reference to antiquity in my work, and I hope somebody is whistling at it! Was also thinking, "Who's laughing at it?" We shouldn't forget where we came from! Go ahead and whistle!
They Would Clap for Tigers
acrylic & resin
20” X 20”
This became a huge challenge for me, and not because of my ability to paint. Six paintings later I have finally achieved something that connects each word and its meaning together as a piece of art.
The Tiger has a spiritual significance. It teaches us the skill of walking meditation; throughout the day he is deep in meditation. The Tiger teaches us to align with the universe, spend time in solitude, and envision our next quest, seeing every step and accomplishing the secrets of our heart. The spirit animal is renowned for her focus, her patience and fearlessness. The symbolism continues to teach the lesson that patience is the forgotten key… holding perhaps the greatest powers.
The Tiger is frequently an emblem of the Samurai, carrying courage and bringing one to impossible triumphs.
Clapping represents many things, achievement, courage, talent, honor, glory, and much more.
One Block West of Central America
acrylic on canvas
48” X 36”
I usually start my paintings by throwing/splattering/pouring paint on canvas which frees my imagination to develop images from nothing. It is from a combination of gestural lines that brings other shapes to life and becomes the inspiration for the rest to follow. Starting with an “assigned” title took me on another path altogether. I actually found inspiration from a map of Central America in the shape of a woman and did several thumbnail sketches to incorporate the “block” in my composition. I am all about colorful Guatemalan fabrics, Mexican and ethnic folk art… So, it was sheer delight to do my painting using saturated and bold colors!
It Was Then That the Bunnie Snarled
14” X 12”
What makes a rabbit angry? First I thought of the fires destroying Australia as they have so many rabbits there. Then, as I had been talking to the new mayor of Palos Verdes Estates who wants to restore the dry fountain at the Malaga Cove Library, I thought of an angry rabbit finding no water to drink.
But after a few days, I decided it was just a human that could make a rabbit angry, and looking up medieval illustrations of Hell I thought of the monsters eating humans. So my little bunny is eating a carrot that after a while you realize is human-shaped…
Making him angry was a combination of making his ears light up with backlighting, his eyes larger and red, his teeth longer and his fur bristling.
I don’t like anger so I don’t like him!
Late Thursday Night At The Aquarium
20” X 24”
I came across an intriguing definition of the word aquarium – “an enclosed environment that supports specimens of life.” My thoughts turned to our planet, cocooned by its atmosphere and populated by abundant species. My creation is a world of fantasy. Or, is it?
Thursday commemorates Thor, the god of thunder and lightning. “Wake up” we’re warned through the lightning bolt illumination! An ominous octopus checks his watch and reminds us it’s getting late. A disoriented fish drifts towards an uncertain future in a world that’s turning from serene “green” to one of heat, fire and environmental abuse. No wonder Thor is often an angry god!
The painting presented challenges in composition, message, new techniques, and considerable step-by-step planning. A new wax application tool, a tjanting, took significant trial and error to accomplish my goal. What a journey it’s been and oh, what fun!
Seeing Through Stars
oil on canvas
20” X 20”
“For my part I know nothing with any certainty, but the sight of stars makes me dream”—Vincent Van Gogh.
“Seeing Through Stars” honors the actors, artists and poets who have paved the way for future generations of creatives. Depicted is an aspiring actress viewing the iconic symbol of stardom, the Hollywood sign, lit up for a premiere; with stars reflected in her eye. Her tear reflects the original Hollywoodland sign in remembrance of the Golden Age of Hollywood.
“Only in the darkness can you see the Stars,” said Martin Luther King. This art challenge led me to discover macro views of the eye, the history of Hollywood, and constellations. Traditionally a wildlife artist, I could not resist including two animal constellations: Ursa Major and Lynx. I created my vision with water-based rather than traditional oils, contrasting loose palette knife and detailed brush work.
A Chocolate Night
oil on canvas
16” X 20”
Upon hearing my fortune cookie title, I was confused, annoyed and without a clue as to what to paint. How could a night be chocolate? Or was it a "Knight"? And what would a "chocolate night" look like? What I came up with was a very sad memory of being alone and turning to chocolate treats for solace.
My subject material has always been more of a romanticized, beautiful version of realism.
It was necessary to step out of my comfort zone to depict an experience that, rather than being beautiful, is unattractive and sad. This would be a portrait of a miserable girl in ugly socks and sweats.
In doing this challenge, the thing that surprised me the most was the positive response from those who saw it.
I am very grateful to have been invited to take part in this challenge!
To The Death To The Lighthouse
24” X 36”
I decided to keep the first fortune that the wheel spun for me...
“To The Death! To The Lighthouse”.
The beginning date was in early January.
Today is February 14th!
I had many weeks of trepidation until I added birth.
Now I was able to add rain representing tears of my losses of family and friends.
The lighthouse represents the light that God gives us for eternity. The birds represent the Holy Spirit that takes our souls to heaven once the traumas and pains occur until our last breath. This painting represents love, hope, peace and devotion to everything that represents God on earth and in heaven...
Read Bondo's PostScript by clicking here
To inquire about the purchase of artwork please click here
20% of the proceeds from sale of art goes to benefit The Palos Verdes Library District