John Bonner finds his inspiration in the gritty seaside towns of the North Shore of Massachusetts Bay. The wind roughened clapboard, houses perched on harbor side hills and elusive views of the ocean through historic homes are his chosen imagery, but it is the thinly applied glazes of paint and broad strokes which are the true appeal of his paintings.
Sewall Street Fall Over Spring is the quintessential Bonner scene. Painted clapboard has lost its vivid color and milled lines through exposure to the ocean. The colors are muted and edges lost, but the expanse of blue sky with billowing clouds brings freshness to the scene that might otherwise be missing. The bright blue sky glints off of windows and reflects on the wind coarsened homes. Long shadows cast between the closely built homes and randomly arranged telephone poles bring a strong sense of place to these pieces. These can only be paintings of a Northern New England town. As in Sewall Fall, Harborview Over Porch provides a small glimpse of the ocean placing these scenes firmly on the coast.
These rugged scenes give Bonner ample opportunity to ply his craft. In the small gem Fallen Spruce, he uses rough oil washes to imply fences or wispy branches of a tree. By not wasting the viewers gaze with detail he calls attention to the heightened morning light and strong structure of the buildings. “It captures my informal nature,” says Bonner. In Wild Blue Yonder the artist puts this informal nature to work with bold strokes in the blue sky and unusual perspective looking past a house to the sky beyond. These are paintings to remind you of home, but then take you beyond to a place of color, movement and light.