In Their Footsteps — Deborah Pierce Bonnell Paints Weir Farm

The Greenwich Historical Society will present In Their Footsteps — Deborah Pierce Bonnell Paints Weir Farm at the Storehouse Gallery Museum Shop from Feb. 1-28. The exhibition will feature works painted by Bonnell as a 2016 artist-in-residence at Weir Farm.

Deborah Pierce Bonnell

Deborah Pierce Bonnell

Bonnell first became interested in American Impressionism as a docent at Bush-Holley Historic Site, where she studied and lectured on Cos Cob art colony history. Artist J. Alden Weir painted in Cos Cob and later settled with his family at Weir Farm, in Branchville (Wilton) CT, his home for more than 30 years. Now a National Historic Site, Weir Farm was a setting, like Cos Cob, that American Impressionists loved and painted frequently. Weir’s circle of friends, noted American artists John Twachtman, Childe Hassam, John Singer Sargent and Albert Pinkham Ryder, often visited and drew inspiration from the farm’s bucolic vistas, many of which remain intact today.

Bonnell, as artist-in-residence in September 2016, was able to spend three weeks exploring the very same paths, meadows and woods that these prominent artists walked a century ago. Using oil on canvas, encaustic on panel, watercolor on paper and even iPad digital paintings, she captured her own impressions. Says Bonnell, “As a landscape painter, I was able to immerse myself, not only in the beauty of the place, but in being removed from our hectic, modern sense of time and to imagine what it must have been like there at the turn of the twentieth century. I have come full circle. By working on the same ground as these artists whom I have come to love, I have connected on even more levels.”

Deborah Pierce Bonnell holds a bachelor of fine arts from the Rhode Island School of Design, has studied at the R&F Pigments Encaustic Workshop in Kingston, N.Y. and has done various residencies at Vermont Studio Center in Johnson, Vt. She is a former resident of Greenwich and currently resides in Norwalk. Her work has been exhibited at shows and galleries in Connecticut, New York and Texas since 1985.

Landscape painting by Deborah Pierce Bonnell.

Landscape painting by Deborah Pierce Bonnell.

The public is invited to attend an opening reception on Wednesday, Feb. 1, from 6-8 p.m., at the Greenwich Historical Society, 39 Strickland Road, Cos Cob. All paintings on view will be available for purchase. Admission is free.

Please RSVP to [email protected] with the number in your party.

There also will be an artist talk on Sunday, Feb. 5, from 2-3 p.m., at the Greenwich Historical Society, 39 Strickland Road, Cos Cob. $10 members; $15 nonmembers.

Reservations are required and are limited to 15 people. To RSVP, call 203.969.6899, ext. 10 or reserve online at greenwichhistory.org.

Walk back in time to the turn of the 20th century with artist Deborah Pierce Bonnell, as she talks about the American Impressionist painters and their way of life at the Holley boarding house in Cos Cob, Florence Griswold House in Old Lyme, and Weir Farm in Wilton.

A former docent at Bush-Holley House and recent artist-in-residence at Weir Farm, Bonnell will begin this tour in the shop at the Storehouse Gallery, where paintings she created at Weir Farm will be on display in a show titled In Their Footsteps — Deborah Pierce Bonnell Paints Weir Farm. Comparing her impressions of that landscape to those of the Connecticut Impressionists, she will discuss this earlier time when painters would take their easels outdoors to work on landscapes, and then gather in the evenings to talk about their day’s work.

In Bush-Holley’s art colony rooms, she will talk more about the painters such as John Henry Twachtman and Childe Hassam who stayed and worked there, and of their connection to each other as well as their association with the landscapes of Connecticut. This 45-minute tour will end with a brief question-and-answer period.

Landscape painting by Deborah Pierce Bonnell

Landscape painting by Deborah Pierce Bonnell

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