Bonnie Bews

Artist Statement/Biography

“My work explores the magical world of the fairies hidden in the Muskoka woodlands; this is where I draw and seek inspiration from- this natural environment. Muskoka has brought energy to my paintings – not only with ideas, but with the way I perceive and apply the colours.”

Bonnie Bews was born in 1967 and raised in Queensville, a rural farm community in Southern Ontario, Canada. There she developed her imagination and keen sense of observation.

During 1986 -1988 Bews attended Georgian College of Applied Arts and Technology in Barrie, Ontario. She graduated receiving a 2nd year scholarship in creative arts. In 1990 Bews backpacked to Australia and throughout Europe. While sketching in a piazza in Munich, Germany, she was approached by artist, Rudolf Schmid. This prominent Bavarian Glass painter showed an interest in Bews’ style of work and offered her an apprenticeship at his studio. Bews accepted this unique opportunity and returned to Germany in 1992 to discover a whole new medium including Hinterglas.

Hinterglas is a traditional European technique in which the artist paints on the reverse side of the glass. The earliest examples of Hinterglas (cold painting) are from the time of Constantine, 3rd century. In the 13th and 14th century (Italy and Germany) the primary use of Hinterglas was to decorate furniture. By the 16th century, glass painting replaced most enameled decorations in religious and decorative objects. Hinterglas gained popularity for its use of brilliant colours and intricate designs. In the 18th and 19th century, great demands for reverse glass painting opened many small businesses within the European community. The industry continued to thrive throughout Europe until the end of the 19th century when its demand was replaced by colour lithography and photography.

During her three month studies in Bavaria, Rudolf Schmid passed on his unique method of applying watercolour and charcoal on the glass. Since that time, Bews has put this technique to practice. Bews now lives in Muskoka, Ontario and in 2007, ‘Hinterglas Castle’ was built. This working studio/gallery is home to Bews’ reverse glass paintings. Her work explores the magical world of the fairies hidden in the Muskoka woodlands; this is where she draws and seeks her inspiration from – this natural environment. Muskoka has brought energy to Bonnie’s paintings – not only with ideas, but with the way she perceives and applies the paints with soft delicate lines, bold brush-strokes and vibrant colours.

She’s showing people that glass painting is a beautiful and vivacious art form seventeen centuries later! (From the Artist, with permission)

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