Have fun, learn, and enjoy
By Edward Ding, 9th grader in MRHS
Meeting Bonita Somers was very interesting due to her unique artwork and background as a teacher. Her work of acrylic and alcohol ink stand out from other artists’ work. One can notice her style to emanate positivity with her use of color, in particular her alcohol ink paintings. Her animals are depicted in a bright, lighthearted and goofy fashion. Her alcohol inks landscapes, though more tame, are very unique in terms of the way ink is applied. She is not afraid to let the marvelous splotches of ink develop naturally, giving them a more free flowing and loose feel.
An attribute of Bonita to consider is her experience as a teacher to children. She is the author of a children’s book series called Ms. B’s Art on a Cart which, teaches kids not only about art, but about life lessons and essential vocabulary. Some may not understand the essential role in today’s art world which Bonita has experience in. This role as a teacher or mentor to the youth plays a major role in forging and inspiring the great artists of the future.
I asked Bonita if she enjoys working with kids and what they offer to her as an instructor.
“Absolutely. I think children are not only adorable but children also find joy, so much joy, in so many different things that us older people have forgotten to find joy in. So, they make me laugh a lot and I like to laugh."
In addition, I asked why she includes life lessons in her books.“I feel like parents are so busy trying to make a living or sometimes kids don't have active parents in their lives. Where I originally taught, many of the students were being raised by older siblings, single parents or grandparents. I incorporated life lessons in my book so that they would get that information on a level that they might understand it.”
Not only an instructor of the arts, but an instructor of life. Her picture books are not only educational in the field of art, but also in the field of other subjects. Being a teacher of a certain department does not make such teacher an instructor in only that subject. I believe teachers should keep in mind that tips on life, such as how to act, how to react and how to cope with many situations are essential to bringing up kids to be smart and independent. To conclude our interview, I asked her about her personal philosophy towards art.
“Some people have a fancy philosophy of or artist’s statement. If you read my artist statement it says not to take anything too seriously. Have fun, learn, and enjoy the process. You are never going to arrive, so keep learning and pay your knowledge forward. I do art because I find joy in it. I do think that paying your knowledge forward in whatever form or fashion is also important. It’s not just for children, it can be adults that never got a chance to do art but later in life found that they have a love for it. It’s never too late to learn."
What one can conclude from my experience with Bonita is that she is a very talented artist giving to the world in many different ways such as her unique and bright artwork and her service as a teacher to those of all ages. One can say that because of her, he or she became a successful artist all because of the one time Ms. B came to their class with art on a cart and a story to tell.