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Plein air artist paints landscape

Tammy Malgesini

East Oregonian

Published on September 3, 2018 4:24PM

Utilizing pastels and oils, the artwork of Bonnie Griffith is featured in ‘Pure Color.’ The exhibit opens Thursday at Pendleton Center for the Arts.

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Utilizing pastels and oils, the artwork of Bonnie Griffith is featured in ‘Pure Color.’ The exhibit opens Thursday at Pendleton Center for the Arts.


With the rich pigments of pastels and oils, Bonnie Griffith paints the western landscape — telling a story with the strokes of her brush.

The stories can be experienced during “Pure Color.” The exhibition opens Thursday with a reception from 5:30-7 p.m. at Pendleton Center for the Arts, 214 N. Main St. The public is invited to the free event.

Currently residing in southwestern Idaho, Griffith describes herself as a plein air painter and landscape artist. Drawn to oils and pastels, Griffith said the media allow her to create the best representation of the landscape. The brilliant pigments, she said, creates texture, light and mood.

“My goal is to create works that draws the viewer in, allowing them to use their senses to experience the time of day, the warmth or coolness, the message of the painting … to merely ‘get lost’ in the work,” she said. “If that happens, then I have done my job.”

Griffith, who grew up on a ranch near the Missouri Breaks region of Montana, experienced the rugged Big Sky Country mostly from the back of a horse. Childhood vacations to Glacier Park provided a sharp contrast of the landscape in central Montana. In addition to ranching, her father was a musician and her mother was a visual artist.

As the child of artistic parents and living in a remote environment, Griffith spent her evenings reading and drawing. At a young age she declared herself an artist. She studied the effects of light on the landscape and the resulting deeply imprinted colors.

She headed to college in the early 1970s in Chicago, pursuing a career in medical technologies. Missing the landscape, she returned to the western United States where she worked and lived in Montana, southeastern Washington, Utah and Idaho. She began focusing on her artwork full-time — both painting and teaching classes — in the mid-1990s.

The Lorenzen Board Room Gallery will feature the work of Alice Thomas, a Pendleton High School art teacher, and Brian Purnell, who teaches classes at the arts center. Both gallery exhibits run through Sept. 29. Featuring free admission, they are open Tuesday through Fridays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Saturdays from noon to 4 p.m.

For more information, visit www.pendletonarts.org or call 541-278-9201. Also, Griffith’s website is www.bonniegriffith.com.

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Contact Community Editor Tammy Malgesini at tmalgesini@eastoregonian.com or 541-564-4539



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