Aug 08, 2014
Bonnie Mandoe knew she wanted to be a painter since her teens – but it took a while to realize her dream.
The Las Cruces artist grew up in California, and studied art at the University of California, Berkeley. After that came children, a move to Hawaii, and a career as a writer and an author, but Mandoe’s desire to paint remained strong.
Thirty-six oil paintings that capture the beauty of New Mexico’s land are featured in a new exhibition at the New Mexico Farm & Ranch Heritage Museum. Mandoe’s “New Mexico Land & Landscapes” will be on display in the Museum’s Arts Corridor from Aug. 15 through Nov. 30. There will be an opening reception for the exhibit from 6-8 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 21.
“I always knew I’d paint myself silly when the time came, and the time finally came,” she said.
Mandoe renovated an old adobe farmhouse in Las Cruces, where she now paints full-time and often hosts her own solo art shows. At one such show Bonnie’s paintings of cotton gins caught the eye of Mesilla educator and former state representative J. Paul Taylor, who has helped promote her work.
She captures the rugged beauty of New Mexico in her paintings and many of them feature the state’s diverse agriculture, from irrigated fields, orchards, to cotton gins.
“Of all the things I love to do, painting New Mexico tops the list,” said Mandoe. “Desert, forest, planted fields…. lakes, mountains, rivers, churches, colors, extraordinary light. Here, you see what I can’t say with words, my heart’s vision of the place I love.”