Bonnie Pray-Brunow’s work explodes with earthy colors, defining the muscling and physical beautify of the horse, coupled with subtle backgrounds that complement the main focus of the piece. Each layer is part of the structure of the painting, creating the sheen of the mane to the darker colors used in the shadows. Bonnie’s self taught skills are made from years of practice through her childhood and adult years, until a shoulder injury ended up changing her life made her reevaluate art as more than just a hobby. Two years later, Bonnie is creating and selling volumes of paintings and enjoying process. Located in Northern Florida, Bonnie has lived in several states on the east coast, though she is a native to New Jersey. Her acrylic paintings show her passion and knowledge of horses in each any every detail, creating a realistic and stunning portrait of every horse she paints.
TFS: How long have you been an equine artist?
BPB: I’ve been drawing horses my whole life, but started painting and selling my work following a shoulder surgery late 2015. It was my therapy.
TFS: What inspires and motivates you?
BPB: For a good painting or drawing I love drama! Dramatic lighting or feel. Horses themselves have a certain level of drama…even if they’re just standing lazily in a summer pasture under a tree. They make me stop and feel. But I love when horses are feeling powerful or playful! Somehow by watching them I get caught up in it all. If I never rode my horses again I would be content to just stand out there in the pasture and BE with them. They are my inspiration and they heal my soul.
TFS: What mediums do you work in?
BPB: I’ve fallen in love with Acrylics. I also enjoy charcoal, pastels and colored pencils.
TFS: Are there an mediums that you would like to work in, but haven’t yet?
BPB: Oils and clay. It’s going to happen this year though!
TFS: Is you family involved in horses or art?
BPB: My father introduced me to horses at age 6 and it’s been a huge love affair ever since. He was also an artist and challenged me to do better and better drawings as a child.
TFS: What is your favorite thing about the art you do?
BPB: Feeling them come to life. There those certain magical pieces that have a life of their own. That’s how this began really. I lost a pony that I deeply loved to EEE and I painted him one night to try in a way, to bring him back to me. I posted it and got my first commission.
TFS: What’s a typical day in your studio like?
BPB: When I’m done caring for our horses and other animals, I settle into my studio surrounded by horse show ribbons, model horses and show tack and put on music that feels right for the day. Then I choose which painting feels right for the day, and get started. If I’m working on a commission they usually take precedence, but sometimes I need to let them sit and come back to them so I work on something that I love. It keeps things fun!
TFS: How do you start a painting?
BPB: Sketching it out on the canvas, sometimes using a projector to help me get the proportions right. Other times I just started painting on a blank canvas and honestly those always sell the fastest. I’m just a perfectionist.
TFS: Any current WIPs?
BPB: I have a big 36×40 that I need to get back to. I wasn’t able to paint the big ones while my shoulder was recuperating, so this is exciting to me! There are a few small ones that I’ve put aside also.
TFS: Do you sell prints?
BPB: I haven’t started doing that yet. I’ve checked into it, but not yet. Again, I feel that this year will be my big push.
TFS: How would someone go about commissioning you to create a painting?
BPB: They contact me on Facebook. Most are through my art page Silverngold Gallery, but I get a lot of requests through my home page also. Word of mouth has gotten me some local work.
TFS: How would you describe your art style?
BPB: I’m honestly not sure. I’m mostly self taught and I just do what feels right. I’d have to ask someone with more experience what they’d call my style.
TFS: Have you ever taken lessons from another artist or gone to art school?
BPB: All through school I was put in the advanced art classes, with my final high school year being at a Vocational Technical School taking both Commercial Art I&II in the same day. When I graduated I was hired immediately by Collegiate Pacific as a graphics artist.
TFS: Any future shows/exhibits?
BPB: Due to having 4 surgeries in 2 yrs and being diagnosed with Lyme disease, I haven’t been able to do any of that. But…I’m planning to for 2018!
TFS: If you weren’t an artist, what would you be?
BPB: I’ve worked in medical records, and in Drs offices most of my life, but I was managing a pet store before I quit to do my art full time. So it would be something with animals. They are my passion.
TFS: Do you ride horses?
BPB: Yes, we have six horses. Three AQHAs, one POA, and two minis. My POA filly will be started this coming spring and I’m very excited about that.
TFS: What have been your biggest challenge so far in your art career?
BPB: Honestly trying to stay injury free and healthy, lol! All of the major things have been dealt with so look out, lol! I’m very thankful that I’ve had so much support and help from my husband. I couldn’t have done it without him.
TFS: What has been your greatest success so far in your art career?
BPB: Having one of my paintings published and getting to know so many amazing artists who have offered advice and support.
TFS: Any advice to other artists?
BPB: I’d have to say follow your heart. And don’t be afraid to ask questions. Don’t be afraid to take risks.
TFS: Where can people find your art?
BPB: This coming year I’ll have an Etsy page, but for now anything that is for sale is on my Facebook page Silverngold Gallery.
4 Comments Add yours
Thank you so much Shya, for such a beautiful article. I’m honored! ~Bonnie
You are so welcome, Bonnie!
I am so proud of your accomplishments and for my cousin to be such an amazing, supportive husband to you. Keep your talents & dreams alive. I may have to send a pic sometime if my dad & his mule he loved more than anything. A painting of him on Jake the mule by a family member of such great talent would be a forever keepsake.