Bonnie Blue's story begins with a little girl who has loved art her entire life. That little girl would grow up to be a woman who loves art so much it's the only job she's ever held and for over 30 years it has been her sole source of income.
"If there's anything in a name, It would seem that being an artist was my destiny" says Bonnie Blue with a grin. "I was born Bonnie Green and when I married I become Mrs. Bonnie Blue."
in 1978 Bonnie Blue opened Blue's Restorations, a photo restoration service. Bonnie speaks with pride of her restoration work. "People would bring me their torn and wrinkled photos, or photos that had faded and I would hand them back a part of their heritage. It is very satisfying work."
Bonnie Blue Restoration Service
In 2001 Bonnie Blue's art took off in a new direction. She was in the Texas Hill Country on vacation. While walking along the banks of the Blanco river she began to take notice of the river rocks. She likes to tell that "the inspiration almost knocked me over." She started visualizing women's faces on the rocks. "They were all funny to me because of all the unusual shapes of the rocks." It was on that day, while walking along the river, visualizing and laughing that Women that Rock was born. She began collecting the odd shaped rocks. She would visualize a face to fit the shape, paint it on the rock, add a date and a name and offer it for sale in her shop.
"My Women That Rock make people smile" says Bonnie Blue. Her new found passion for painting famous faces on oddly shaped river rocks quickly became a hit. Several galleries in Houston, Galveston, and surrounding areas started carrying them and they sold very well and they continue to sell well to this day. As of this writing Bonnie Blue has created and sold over 6,000 Women That Rock.
The next year, in 2002 Bonnie Blue created the "Woman Rock Artcar." The car is a mobile gallery stocked with merchandise which she takes from show to show plying her wares and painting caricatures on rocks for people all over the country. So far Bonnie and the Women Rock Artcar have visited 15 states "spreading smiles across the miles" as Bonnie Blue likes to say.
Women that Rock by Bonnie Blue
The car is covered on all sides by large Styrofoam 'Women That Rock,' six in total. "I created it as a gallery to show my art and take it on the road and to bring honor to women everywhere I go." Every two years Bonnie changes the faces. Through the years 36 different women have rocked the car including such celebrities as Lucille Ball, Vivian Vance (Ethyl Mertz), Dolly Parton, and Marilyn Monroe. [click here to see a complete gallery of faces]. in 2012 she eschewed the celebrities she had used in previous iterations instead focusing on women from all over the world wearing the traditional garb of their cultures.
As Bonnie Blue's Women That Rock business began to take off she started to expand into other mediums. "I started painting women's faces on shoes, purses, boots, etc., and began selling those too."
In 2006 a new idea hit me. Instead of the crazy caricatures that had been my stock in trade, what if I began to paint actual people, real human beings, men, women, pets, kids on the rocks? This proved to be a tough sell and was slow going in the beginning. In an effort to spark her business Bonnie Blue painted a few caricatures of famous celebrities which she then sent to them. Mostly she got little to no response back. That is until April 17, 2007 when Ellen Degeneres showed her Rockin' Caricature on the air. That little bit of publicity was just what it took to jump start her caricature business. "So many people saw that" says Bonnie Blue. Now days I am kept quite busy doing Rockin' Caricatures at parties, and shows." It's the bulk of her business. She has painted over 8,000 real faces on rocks. In a twist of fate, now celebrities are coming to her. She has been honored to be asked to paint such celebrities as Bill Murray, Congressman Sheila Jackson Lee and Houston Mayor Annise Parker.
Houston Mayor Annise Parker with a Bonnie Blue Rockin' Caricature
Bonnie Blue is a folk artist with a reputation for painting on anything from clothing to car parts. Though you are still most likely to find her painting her Rockin' Caricatures at parties, or shows, or festivals of all sorts around Houston and Galveston and beyond. "Art has always been and remains my greatest passion."