Bottomley unveils new style at Alta Vista

Article Published: Aug. 26, 2010 | Modified: Sep. 7, 2011
Bottomley unveils new style at Alta Vista

Painter Tonya Bottomley sees purple in just about everything.

"The most inspirational thing for me is color," Bottomley said. "Putting colors together with large shapes and making something out of them; it's like putting a puzzle together."

Bottomley's stylized landscapes, as well as her new series of female nudes, are now being exhibited at the Alta Vista Gallery in Valle Crucis.

The gallery will hold a reception for her on Aug. 28 titled, "Bare and Bold." The exhibition will be from 11 a.m. till 5 p.m.

"People like her paintings because they're fun - geometric shapes and cheerful bold colors," said Maria Hyde, owner of Alta Vista Gallery. "We can feel the joy of childhood again."

Bottomley has always had the artistic impulse.

"I was always artistic as a child," she said. "When other children were taking piano lessons, I was taking art lessons."

Bottomley's style of painting developed into representation, but not always reflection of the world.

"My paintings are not intended to provide a mirror image of conventional reality," she said. "The images are fragmented, simplified or distorted; they are recognizable, but just extremely stylized."

The paintings have earned Bottomley awards such as being chosen as a top 10 cover contest finalist from among 12,000 entries for Artsync Magazine.

"Winning awards and ribbons makes you feel good," Bottomley said. "But when someone wants to own your work, it feels like you have connected with them, that they get it."

Bottomley's work has been displayed in many galleries, including Alta Vista and Ashe Custom Framing and Gallery.

While Bottomley has explored many media, she relies on oil paints for most of her work and for this particular exhibition.

"I got my first set of oil paints in elementary school," she said. "Oil painting is my first love."

Bottomley's style includes a technique known as "scumbling," which has her painting her whole canvas before she paints a scene or portrait, and then changing the amount of paint on top so that the bottom coat shines through at points.

"A lot of artists will paint a complementary color, such as red underneath a green tree," Bottomley said. "I tend to paint the whole canvas a darker color, and then let it show through at spots. Then I put lighter colors on top, and it gives it a lot of depth and dimension."

Bottomley is a native of the area, and is currently living in West Jefferson.

"I've travelled more than most people, but I still feel like this is one of the prettiest places I've ever seen," Bottomley said. "That's really inspirational for me."

The new selection of female nudes take the stylization from the landscapes and applies it to portraiture, in addition to her background in anatomy and figure drawing.

"My style of painting allows me to focus on the pure physicality of the female form," Bottomley said. "I combine organic and geometric shapes with bold lines and colors to create an interesting composition that will provide an entertaining experience for the viewer."

Bottomley does not play favorites with her paintings; her favorite piece is constantly changing.
"My favorite piece is usually the last one I create," she said. "It's new to me, I'm still bonding with it."

The reception will include light refreshments, and will be a time to meet the painter and to see the variety of paintings available.

Alta Vista Gallery is located at 2839 Broadstone Road in Valle Crucis, and more information is available at; learn more about Tonya Bottomley at her website,

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