Saluda artist Bonnie Bardos featured in the Holy Cross Gallery in Tryon

Published 2:05 pm Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Saluda artist and Tryon Daily Bulletin columnist Bonnie Bardos is the featured artist at Tryon’s Holy Cross Gallery, located on the main floor of the church; open to the public. The gallery, located at 150 Melrose Avenue, is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and during services. The show will run through mid-January.

Bardos has lived in Saluda over 24 years, using her 1895 Victorian-era house as a working art studio with studio assistants River Dog and Pikachu Cat (the Poacher). She notes when people come to visit, they enjoy the gardens, house, and art!

Bonnie Bardos

“Saluda is the best place I’ve ever lived; and where I walked into my own as a self-supporting woman artist,” said Bardos. “It hasn’t been an easy path, but I wouldn’t choose another. For many years, a lot of people have supported me as an artist: whether by buying my work, helping me make ends meet (including groceries now and then in really hard times), or pulling me up when I think I need to go get another day job. There are people who deeply value artists and the arts, especially cognizant of what artists bring to this life–it’s not about money or things, either.”

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Born on Ketchikan Island, Alaska, she grew up in North Carolina and attended Wingate College/University. She says, “Over the years I’ve been awarded scholarships to art workshops: the last one I attended was at Arrowmont in Gatlinburg; one of my most influential ones was on Monhegan Island, Maine. While I don’t consider myself a teacher, I’ve enjoyed encouraging others to start creating: whether it be writing, music, visual art. So many people put off their dreams. It all begins with one sentence, one paint brush, one chord. If we don’t do it, there’s a loss to our very being.”

Paintings and sculpture have been featured at galleries and shows in North and South Carolina, and New Mexico, including several exhibits at the non-profit contemporary art gallery, Upstairs Artspace; and her work has found homes locally, throughout the US and Mexico, as well as England, France, and other countries. Working in oils or acrylic, as well as other mediums–including sculpture for many years, re-occurring themes are nature/landscapes, women, birds, and abstraction. Jungian symbolism is often featured in her paintings. “The Journey Home” series features landscape and lone boats, based on ancient Asian poetry. One on-going series of landscapes is called “Esto Perpetua”: Latin for “It is forever”….symbolic of the artist’s view of nature’s sacredness and fortitude. She also received a Regional Artist Project Grant in 2010, 2013, and 2015.

“My inspiration is what is right in front of me: I paint outside often, using my front porch in good weather as the ‘front porch studio.’ Nature is my muse; and the series of paintings called “Esto Perpetua” I began nearly 15 years ago are based on my feelings about nature; other series include “Songs of the Earth,” “The Haloed Bird Series,” “Crows” and “Because I Feel Like It.” As for process, it’s all based on intuition and ‘feel.’ Paintings and sculpture are a reflection of myself, I am art, and it is me, and there’s no division anymore. The older I get, the more aware I am of being part of my art, and it me.” You can see more work at and

– submitted by Gregory Wright