Painting the town

SUNDAY SNAPSHOTS

Bonnie Bonnell: Maryland Institute grad...

November 05, 1995|By Carl Schoettler

Painting the town; Bonnie Bonnell: Maryland Institute grad 0) has exercised her talents everywhere from Botswana's Sun City to Baltimore's Patterson Park.

Bonnie Bonnell's goofiest job may have been painting murals in the dome of a fake South American "Lost City" near semi-real Sun City in Botswana in Southern Africa. She didn't like it and came home fast.

She's a 42-year-old old Maryland Institute, College of Art grad who once did a lot of painting for Evergreen Painting Studio in Manhattan, which gets jobs like the South American theme park in South Africa.

Her painting has taken her from Sun City to Miami Beach, from Ocean City, Md., to Orchard Beach, Maine. She's done murals in a South Baltimore church, landscapes in Patterson Park, figures from life that look as though they'd wandered away from the empty cityscapes of the Italian surrealist Giorgio de Chirico.

"I have no idea who my influences are," she says. "I just do what my hand feels like doing."

She draws a cartoon, "Bubbles," about a modestly disoriented modern woman who lives mostly in her own black and white mind.

"Bubbles" has appeared occasionally in New York Press, a Brooklyn alternative paper called Hoodags, the City Paper and now in Joe, Baltimore's brand new journal for sincere coffee drinkers.

Ms. Bonnell works in a roomy, airy loft studio over an empty video store in Fells Point. She manages six studios, a mini artist colony piled up over the store like shipping crates in a warehouse.

She's putting together a show for the Corradetti Gallery, opposite Hollins Market in Sowebo, which will open Dec. 3. She's sorting out landscapes, some figure paintings and drawings.

"I think a couple of landscapes have a sort of oddness to them," she says. "Stillness. I may try to keep that theme."

@ As one of the top-ranked women officers in the Navy, Kathleen M. Bruyere held chief-of-staff positions in the Navy's space program and with the U.S. Pacific Fleet in San Diego, ran a boot camp in Orlando, Fla., and drew up plans to close seven military bases.

Now Ms. Bruyere, who retired as a captain after 28 years in the military, will apply her leadership and management skills in a different arena: as the new executive director of the American Heart Association's Maryland branch.

She's in charge of making sure the association is reaching young people with its anti-smoking messages and older people with its nutritional information. The AHA also gives seed money for research and provides information about how to prevent and recover from heart disease and stroke.

Soon after starting the job, she gave the organization's staff and volunteers six weeks to do field research and then advise her on how to make the organization more helpful and better-known. Next come the changes, which are likely to be organizational.

When you spend your life in the Navy, you have to be a quick study.

"Just because I moved so much, I always think there's a better way of doing things," says Ms. Bruyere, 51, who grew up an Army brat and joined the Navy in 1966. She and her husband, Tom, a retired naval fighter pilot and Naval Academy graduate, rarely stayed anywhere more than two years.

She was hired from among 450 candidates, and is the first executive of a major affiliate to come from outside the organization. The Maryland Heart Association is one of the 10 largest chapters in the country.

"It's a business," Ms. Bruyere says, "but you can be passionate about it."

@

Patricia Meisol

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