Indian Time - A Voice from the Eastern Door

Tammy Bonaparte ~ Artist Profile

 

Tammy Bonaparte displays her Painted Ladies.

If you're driving down St. Regis and you find yourself at the four corners of School Road you may notice some women made of wood wearing brightly painted shawls and placed neatly on the lawn in front of the well-loved Tammy Bonaparte. A woman who has taken a shine to paint after her children grew up and started families of their own. Bonaparte is an example of someone who is not afraid to try new things and encourages everyone around her own age to do the same.

Bonaparte began painting around the age of 50, when she found herself idle since all her children had grown up and moved out of the house. She found a talent for it and began to paint all that inspired her, such as her family and the environment around her.

Recently she found her niche by designing and painting lawn ornaments or as she calls them, 'her ladies'. This is something that began just for herself; painting carved wood into women wearing their elegant ribbon dresses and striking shawls. She started painting 'her women' about two years ago and within the last year, many people have gained interest in her lawn ornaments.

While she has enjoys the growing popularity of her lawn ornaments and her paintings, she treats each painting like her children, putting just as much love she has into each painting. When asked about her schooling in the fine arts, she does desire to go back and complete her schooling at Iohahi:io. She wants to learn everything she can about painting and it was where she enjoyed going to school.

A more colorful version of Painted Ladies.

She enjoys the aesthetic of her paintings, being "simple shapes and broad colors" in her own words. It's a way she likes to paint, but would like to learn about other techniques. When asked about using what she knows to teach or engage in a program that teaches Elders in the community about painting, she expressed an interest in doing so saying that, "I think that anyone can learn to paint, or knit, or sew - at any age."

Bonaparte also enjoys painting with her grandchildren, allowing them into her workshop so they too can watch and paint with her. She feels its something that she enjoys greatly and allows for her to grow closer to her grandchildren. Right now she is continuing to work on 'her painted ladies' and will be commissioning them out of her home. And from there she will explore more creative adventures.

 

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