In 2011 Williams Lake artist Kathy Lauriente-Bonner experienced a renaissance.
“I got my motorcycle license and started painting,” Bonner said during the opening of her art show at the Station House Gallery last Thursday.
Titled Canadian Road Trip Project, the show features paintings inspired by a 55-day bike trip across Canada Bonner made with her husband Lynn Bonner in 2013.
“I took a series of photographs and used them as my basis,” she explained.
Insisting she was hesitant to create an art show because she’s only been painting for three years, Bonner was quick to credit gallery manager Diane Toop for nudging her to take the plunge.
“We have been doing the Medieval Market for a few years and Diane started nagging me to put in a proposal for the gallery,” Bonner recalled.
When Bonner voiced her insecurity about being able to meet the challenge, Toop insisted.
“Yes, you are ready,” she told her.
So by the time the Bonners were ready to depart from their Riske Creek home on the cross-Canada trip, she had committed to doing a show and kept that in mind as she took photographs along the way.
Looking back now she said her word to the wise is never float a proposal until you’ve completed the show.
“Creating the paintings was nerve-racking because I work full time. I teach in Thompson Rivers University’s human services program and as a psychotherapist,” she said.
The end results, however, are anything but nerve-racking.
From scenes of East Coast towns, a puffin, a lighthouse set against the ocean, to the rural prairies, the paintings take a vibrant and playful approach.
They go beyond the realm of being replicants of photographs, and instead offer a rich and colourful interpretation of what Bonner saw along the way.
A great conversation piece is a multi-media creation titled Price of Salvation about a church her forefathers helped build.
It is now open to tourists with a guide and paid admission.
And to augment the exhibit, a map pinpoints their route and stops. She’s included her motorcycle and helmet, their travel trailer, which only weighs 200 pounds, and video footage of the journey which the viewer can watch while sitting on a motorcycle!
Bonner moved to Williams Lake in 2008 for her job at TRU and met and married Lynn in 2009.
When asked about his role in the creation of the show, Lynn smiled and said, “it’s all her.”