Full moon risin’
Las Cruces artist Bonnie Mandoe’s Full Moon Open Studio Sale will be held from 5 p.m. until moonrise (8 p.m.) on Saturday, July 8, at Quesenberry Farmhouse Gallery, 825 Quesenberry St.
“This is Quesenberry’s first Full Moon Open Studio, inspired by the turnout at our Memorial Day event and the unprecedented number of visitors in its wake,” Mandoe said. “I love it when my paintings find new homes! You’ll be surprised to discover the ambiance of this historic farmhouse and the art it contains – a hidden gem in industrial Las Cruces.”
Sale prices and studio visits by appointment continue through July 15, Mandoe said.
For directions to Quesenberry Farmhouse and more information, visit www.bonniemandoe.com/events.
Profile: Painter Bonnie Mandoe: The art of an inner journey
By MIKE COOK
Las Cruces Bulletin
For Bonnie Mandoe, art is both an expression of the world around her and an inner journey.
Painting means “getting to look inside my unconscious mind,” Mandoe said. “A painting to me is so visceral, so satisfying. I want to share it with other people.”
Mandoe’s inner world is a space filled with color and light, if the paintings that hang on the white-washed walls of her Quesenberry Street farmhouse are any indication.
“What terrific fun to paint these paintings,” she said, looking down her hallway at art with names like “Mynah Miracle,” “Ruins at Jemez,” “Flight from Gin” (as in cotton, not distilled), “Red Cloud Cottage” (Mandoe’s personal favorite) and, in the nearby kitchen, a painting of two cows walking toward a house, which Mandoe calls, “Love You ‘Til …”
Her work depicts many places she’s lived and visited, including Mogollon and Corrales, New Mexico; Berkeley, California; and the island of Maui, where she lived for 27 years.
“Copper People” is about the Santa Rita open-pit mine near Silver City and bringing together the people who fought over its development, Mandoe said. The three-piece work is “based on certain petroglyphs,” she said. “That painting feels like my own skin.”
“Aguirre Morning” is based on a photograph Mandoe took at Aguirre Springs, looking east toward White Sands. It’s one of three paintings she’s done based on that single photo, and the only one of the three she hasn’t sold.
“Each one of the paintings has its own story, its unique history,” Mandoe said, “which is my history.”
Mandoe often paints with a palette knife, and loves layering. Sometimes, instead of adding paint to a work, she will scrape off a bit to expose another color or another vision. Artists, she said, “put color on canvas. Equally important is taking paint off the canvas. You get really physical with the paint, the canvas, the palette knife.”
Mandoe uses vivid colors in many of her paintings, and often leaves out one primary color in each work.
“Blue Door,” for example, was painted on top of Mandoe’s vision of the tiny Venus of Willendorf, which is the world’s oldest known sculpture. But the painting was too big, Mandoe said, so she painted over it. But “she’s in there.”
Sometimes, Mandoe paints over another painting, which represents “part of the growth” as an artist. And, she’s still working on some of her older paintings, like plans to add shadows to a 1994 work depicting an old bridge.
Most of Mondoe’s paintings have a specific visual reference, but some come entirely from her subconscious. “The things that happen without thinking are almost the most precious,” she said. Or, like “Legend of Lost Padre Mine,” they might be a compilation of “ideas, memory, story and fiction.” That painting combines a centuries-old legend from the Organ Mountains with a drawing of Mesilla.
Mandoe has always been an artist “in one form or another.” Early on, she was praised for her writing, not her paintings.”
She began a journalism career and still writes a regular column for The Ink monthly arts paper. Mandoe also was the first natural foods caterer on Maui. She discovered then that “food was art,” and so was decorating tables with flowers.
Mandoe visited New Mexico in the early 1990s, where she “drove around and experienced the hugeness” after living for decades “on this speck in the ocean.” She and her then-husband settled in the old mining town of Mogollon, north of Silver City. She started to paint but also realized “how little I knew about what I wanted to do” as an artist. Mandoe took two years of art lessons at Western New Mexico University in Silver City, until her teacher told her, “You’ve gotten all you can get.”
She moved to Las Cruces in 2003 and bought and renovated the farmhouse built more than 100 years ago by James Quesenberry. She even met a man in his 90s who had worked on the farm.
“The first thing I noticed (about the house) was how big the walls were,” Mandoe said. “That made me know I could put up a lot of art here.” Mandoe also is a teacher, of both art and cooking. She designed her large kitchen to accommodate students learning to paint or cook.
With a daughter in Hawaii and a son in Portland, Oregon, Mandoe also “travels quite a bit. It keeps my artistic juices flowing.” After a recent three-week trip to Hawaii, “When I got home, I was hungry to paint, I got in my studio and beautiful things started to happen.”
For more information, contact Mandoe at 575-523-9760 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mike Cook may be reached at email@example.com.