Voyage Chicago article May, 2018


Art & Life with Bonnie Rabert

Today we’d like to introduce you to Bonnie Rabert.

Bonnie, please kick things off for us by telling us about yourself and your journey so far.
While attending Morgan Park High School and Purdue University my art experience was mostly with crafts and a few art courses. After graduation, I worked in the Quaker Oats test kitchens and designed photos and wrote copy for the recipes developed there. On to Leo Burnet Advertising working on 8 food accounts and leading me to a free-lance career as a food stylist, preparing food for packaging, magazine and tv commercial photography.

Once we retired to St Simons island GA, I had the opportunity to take watercolor painting classes with several teachers in this artist rich area. After carefully arranging and rearranging food, the freedom and challenge of watercolor appealed to me along with the many techniques and styles that could be pursued. Once established, I was invited to exhibit in several regional locations and sell my paintings and prints privately and through my website, currently being redesigned.

Can you give our readers some background on your art?
I enjoy studies of still life, flowers, koi and scenes as inspired by photographs taken locally and while traveling to several countries. Painting mostly in watercolor, with a composition in mind, I especially like to pour my backgrounds first using a triad of yellow, red and blue medium value colors. These blend and flow to make several colors. Then the darks are added to create the shapes. Sometimes I paint with water first and then add the colors, allowing for a freedom of movement. Outdoor scenes are often interpreted best with many, many layers of color. At a certain stage, some may have acrylics or mixed medium textural items added.

With several sources of online instruction and books available, go ahead and try it using good 140 cold press paper and quality paints – just 3 to 5 colors, such as Aureolin, Permanent Rose and Cobalt Blue plus Burnt Sienna and 4 bushes, a 3/4″ flat or angular, #8 and 12 rounds and a 2″ rigger. If you don’t use good supplies, you will not have good results. As I learned, some paintings go together easily, some require a time out and some may be cut up to be a note card. Just enjoy the process.

Do you think conditions are generally improving for artists? What more can cities and communities do to improve conditions for artists?
The art market ebbs and flows with the economy and it is still difficult for most artists to get into a gallery. Styles change as well with the inspiration and direction dictated by interior design and publications. Artists have to decide if they are painting to sell as a career, sell occasionally to finance more classes and supplies and as an affirmation or just for release from work and worldly pressures. Art serves all levels of interest and ambition.

There are more opportunities to sell on sites like Etsy, Amazon Art, eBay Collective and DevianArt for artists now as long as you can put in the time to paint and promote your work. And, with the advancement of Giclee printing for water media and oil paintings, a digital image may be offered individually in a variety of sizes.

Chicago has a wonderful network of high quality Art Fairs in the summer. It would be wonderful if companies could devote a wall or space where their employees could exhibit their creativity. It is also vital to reintroduce or continue art in schools, after school clubs and churches

What’s the best way for someone to check out your work and provide support?
Having just finished 2 solo exhibitions and as a participant in the Jekyll Island Arts Festival where a watercolor won a Second-Place ribbon and a mixed media won an Honorable Mention, upcoming exhibits will be posted on my redesigned website, available soon at and on my Facebook page, Watercolors by Bonnie Rabert for viewing and purchase. I offer framed and unframed originals as well as prints.

At the age of 75, I have made a commitment to create and hang a major solo show at Goodyear Cottage on Jekyll Island GA in 2020 along with my husband, Daryl, who creates exotic wood cheese serving boards and Wine gift box birdhouses.

Contact Info:

  • Address: 702 Hamilton landing Drive
    St Simons Island GA 31522
  • Website:
  • Phone: 19125806739
  • Email:
  • Facebook: Watercolors by Bonnie Rabert

Bonnie Rabert