Bonnie White spent most of her life working with horses at her family’s 75-acre hunter jumper barn in upstate New York. Although her first love was horses, she always had an interest in art. When she wasn’t riding horses, she was sketching them. During her senior year in high school, her art teacher offered her $50 for an oil painting of a mare and foal that she had completed in class.
After graduating from college, White not only continued working full time at the barn, but also worked part time as a compositor at several weekly newspapers. In 1987 she began working full time as a compositor at a daily Pittsfield, Massachusetts newspaper, The Berkshire Eagle. Nights and weekends were spent teaching riding lessons and taking students to horse shows. Her painting was put on hold for more than 20 years.
When her parents closed Spring Gait farm in 2000, White ended both her equestrian career and her job at the newspaper. She was then able to spend more time with her three young sons. With her weekends free, she began attending craft fairs and developed a fascination for folk art. Wanting to decorate her home with the paintings she had seen, she began to create her own. Soon family and friends were putting in orders.
In 2003, at the urging of a friend, White entered several art shows. She sold paintings at all three. Encouraged by the sales, she approached the owner of a folk art gallery in Great Barrington, Massachusetts. White was represented by the Bird House Gallery from June 2005 until its closing in December of that same year. During that time she did two one-person shows and one group show, altogether selling 23 of her paintings.
Next Day Art, a new licensing agency, contacted White via e-mail in October of 2006, and she signed with them that month. Then things happened really fast. Her jigsaw puzzles, calendars, and greeting cards are now sold worldwide. What began in high school with the sale of one painting has developed into a full-time pursuit.
White and her husband still reside on her families Spring Gait Farm with their three sons, their dog Misty and cats Mittens and Scooter.
Artists appearing in the 20201 Directory of Traditional American Crafts have been selected, and the best of their handiwork has been photographed at Cedar Grove, an 18th Century house museum operated by the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Look for the Directory in our August 2021 issue.
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