A Budding Artist

Bonnie Seaquist poses beside her painting “2 in 20: Forward,” currently on display at Espresso Lane.

Twenty-five-year-old Bonnie Seaquist sips a chai latte with pumpkin spice at Espresso Lane in Baileys Harbor, among a few of her diverse paintings. From a painting of a young couple sitting on a bus to small abstracts that she considers still incomplete, all of the paintings are for sale, “but I’m not sure about pricing,” she laughs, admitting, “I am still trying figure things out.”

Seaquist has a number of ideas of where to take her artistic inclinations – from a card line to a series of ceramic vases showcasing local flowers. “Pottery is what I am best at, what I love,” she says.

Of the paintings on display at Espresso Lane, owned and operated by Seaquist’s friend and former classmate Anissa Ehmke, Seaquist says that most of her paintings are inspired from photos, though she is “trying some abstract, trying to push myself in that direction,” she says. “I work well in the literal sense. I really enjoy everyday moments – moments that are simple but profound.”

“Wading,” oil on masonite, by Bonnie Seaquist.

Seaquist, a demure young woman with bright blue eyes and an engaging smile, gazes at her paintings, a few which feature urban scenes and dark settings. “I’m not really sure where that comes from,” she admits. Though she says famous painters William Turner and George Inness have influenced her brush technique and color choices, and “they are odd ducks like most artists,” she laughs.

Another favorite artist of Seaquist is Egon Schiele, a figurative painter of the early 20th century. “He was a demented person,” states Seaquist, “and wrote a lot in prison. That elongated figure is inspired by him,” she points to a corner of the coffee shop, to a narrow canvas featuring the image of a woman.

Inspiration and an interest in art was passed on to Seaquist at a young age. “When I was a little girl, my aunt Linda was an art teacher,” she recalls. “I spent a lot of time at her house. I took piano lessons…classes at the Peninsula School of Art.”

Painting by Bonnie Seaquist

Seaquist began piano lessons at three years old with Gladys Austgen. “She showed me to be a better person, bringing out the arts in me,” says Seaquist, who also credits her parents, owners of Seaquist Orchards north of Sister Bay, for “supporting and fostering arts early on.”

“My parents are very creative,” she says. “[They] are innovative; [they] started the farm market, and it developed as I grew up.”

After graduating from Gibraltar High School, Seaquist attended Luther College in Decorah, Iowa, where she says she “started with music then moved to arts with an emphasis on oil painting and pottery.” After graduating from college, Seaquist worked with potter Dawn Dines-Christianson at Prairie Patterns. She also had the opportunity to help with an “Empty Bowls” benefit, an event in which the public purchases original ceramic bowls to help the hungry.

“I want to do more things like that,” says Seaquist. “God has given me a lot of things – I want to help people, send it forward. Nothing is greater than helping someone or showing them love. In the arts world, I struggle with how to do that.”

At the end of Door County’s tourist season, Seaquist will relocate to downtown Chicago for a few months. There, her future roommate has a studio and Seaquist hopes to apply for various positions at galleries or teaching positions in the city. “It will be an adventure,” says the self-declared homebody with a nervous smile.

Painting by Bonnie Seaquist

Though, city life is not entirely foreign to Seaquist, who spent a couple years residing in Iowa City between graduating from college and returning to Door County this past spring. “It’s a little hub,” she says of Iowa City. “I worked in an old historic house. [That experience] showed me that I can love, and do love, other places.”

In fact, Seaquist just began a painting about Iowa City – “a large painting about my friends,” she said. “[the painting is] kind of urban, kind of abstract.”

As Seaquist pursues her various creative ideas and considers the various avenues to take her artistic passions, she is learning little lessons along the way, such as: “paintings in bathrooms sell more quickly,” she laughs. “So if I have a studio or something someday, I will put quality art in the bathroom.”

To view Seaquist’s artwork, stop by Espresso Lane in downtown Baileys Harbor (and don’t forget to peek in the bathroom). For more information call 920.839.2647.

For more information about Bonnie Seaquist and her art call 920.421.2363 or email [email protected].