Alto Artists’ Studio Tour
Spotlighting Artist Bonnie Soley

When Bonnie was 6, her parents, especially her father who created beautiful charcoal portraits, apparently saw talent and enrolled Bonnie in an art class.  Unbelievably she began learning with oil paints and she loved it.  By the time she was 8, she was winning county fair prizes and was locally recognized for her depiction of Little Miss Muffet flying away from the spider.  Bonnie comments that “sadly, she wishes she still had some of her early art”.

Her interest in art, oils, watercolors, and stained glass grew over time and of particular note was in 2001 in Niagara Falls, New York.  An old high school building had been recommissioned as a non-profit school for arts and culture.  Huge spaces were available for artists to pursue their interests and for native New Yorker Bonnie, it was just what she needed to commandeer workspace for her now-complex stained glass creations.

Fast forward to Ruidoso, New Mexico, where Sally and her husband retired in 2007.  Her artistic nature was still present but it took a few years for Sally to realize she was ready to seriously pursue her art again.  As with several Alto Artists Studio Tour participants, Eastern New Mexico University (ENMU) provided an art program that could test and expand her talent in painting.  Bruce DeFoor, well-known art instructor at ENMU, was Bonnie’s mentor.  She explored not only oils, but lessons in pastels, watercolors and acrylics.

Today, Bonnie helps facilitate ENMU community education Freestyle painting classes.  Additionally, she is a founding participant in Art Ruidoso Gallery which provides space for artists to show, sell and conduct art classes, located in Ruidoso at 615 Sudderth, a great environment where artists can mentor each other.