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A passion for horses molded the life of Karen Bonnie since she was a little girl in Wisconsin. Growing up in the Midwest, she spent many summers indulging her love for horses through her pencil drawings. In adult life, it was her admiration for these noble animals that spurred her interest in western history, cowboy legends, and Native American culture. While retraining retired race horses for the dressage arena as a hobby, she expanded her commercial photography career into advertising and graphic design.
In 1991, Karen drew on her knowledge of ancient and traditional techniques to found a buckskin garment company. She won "Best New Collection" for her designs at the 1999 Western Design Conference in Cody, Wyoming.
During the 1990's she concurrently showed hand tinted photographs and drawings at her gallery in Albuquerque, New Mexico. In 1991 she was an invited artist at "The Governor's Choice" Art Show in Santa Fe, featuring hand tinted photos from the famous Bell Ranch.
Now turning her efforts to painting full time, Karen renders the objects of her passion.....ranching, Native American culture, the American wilderness, wolves and, of course, horses... using the vibrant, lush colors that are dramatically evident in oil paints. "I see horses as heroic, powerful, fun-loving and affectionate beings, and I try to express this to the viewer in my work."
Karen shares her century-old ranch house in southern Colorado with her Cheyenne husband, Pete, two wolf hybrids, two horses, and a dog, and she hikes or rides daily in the nearby mountain wilderness when not riding with the crew for neighboring ranchers. The surrounding community of ranchers and farmers provides her subject matter, and supports and inspires her in her loving portrayal of cowboy culture in its present-day reality, and in all things "of the Horse".
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