Costa Mesa resident hopes to make a splash with artwork show at John Wayne Airport

Stella McDaniel

From a bungalow apartment that doubles as a studio, Costa Mesa artist Bonnie Matthews has been operating to generate a piece of general public art that showcases her whimsical design and style although conveying a concept about the worth of environmental stewardship.

And, boy, is it a single a whale of a challenge.

A wood panel lower into the shape of a newborn grey whale is covered with brightly painted scenes of a beach front cleanup. Men and women on shore and in the h2o engage in brisk perform as fish, grateful for the housekeeping work, dart by blue waters.

“Set in Movement, a Improve for the Ocean” was produced by Costa Mesa artist Bonnie Matthews for Mesa Water District as portion of a countywide drinking water stewardship marketing campaign.

(Scott Smeltzer / Staff Photographer)

“I believed, why do not we present people volunteering and remaining joyful,” Matthews, 58, said Monday, making use of thinned-down acrylic paint to a determine in a technique resembling watercolor. “And the fish are delighted because they can swim in the h2o, and it is wonderful and thoroughly clean.”

The operate, titled “Set in Movement, a Improve for the Ocean,” was commissioned by Mesa Drinking water District and will before long be hung in John Wayne Airport in recognition of Earth Thirty day period.

It will be one of 40 whale-shaped artwork items produced below a monthlong campaign “Streams of Hope,” a collaboration of the nonprofit Wyland Foundation, the Municipal Drinking water District of Orange County, the Orange County Conservation Corps and the county of Orange.

Bonnie Matthews, seen on March 28, 2022, uses a painting method "gouache" to create a vivid yet lightly applied color scheme.

Bonnie Matthews employs a portray process named gouache to create a vivid however flippantly applied color scheme.

(Scott Smeltzer / Staff Photographer)

The child whales — each uniquely developed but all named “Stella” — will be shown through the county to remind viewers how they can stop water air pollution and be very good water stewards.

“It’s a pleasurable community outreach campaign,” claimed Mesa H2o spokeswoman Celeste Carrillo, who stopped by Matthew’s residence Monday. “It’s a great way to get the term out there about drinking water and educate people on the value of water and how we can continue to keep it clean up.”

“Streams of Hope” will also incorporate several neighborhood cleanup functions major up to Earth Working day on April 22, which will be listed alongside a slate of routines on the web at

A utility box art wrap created by Bonnie Matthews in 2020 stands at the corner of Bear and Bristol streets in Costa Mesa.

A utility box art wrap created by Bonnie Matthews in 2020 stands at the corner of Bear and Bristol streets in Costa Mesa.

(City of Costa Mesa)

Carrillo said representatives of Mesa Water District — which serves 110,000 buyers in Costa Mesa and parts of Newport Beach front and unincorporated Orange County, which include John Wayne Airport — had a number of artists in head when they learned Matthews on an on the net listing of artists who’ve worked with the metropolis of Costa Mesa.

Matthews created a huge-scale artwork piece in 2020 that was applied to a utility box at the corner of Bear and Bristol streets. She’s also participated in ARTventure, an once-a-year local artwork exhibit organized by the metropolis, its Cultural Arts Fee and Segerstrom Centre for the Arts.

“As she was telling us about her illustrations and her passion for what she does, we thought, this is the fantastic match,” Carrillo recalled.

A longtime children’s e-book illustrator who also generates and photos cookbooks, Matthews moved to Costa Mesa in 2013. Though she put in decades performing in typography and as an artwork director, her artistic artwork is self-taught and usually finished with a method known as gouache, which produces an opaque watercolor effect.

Bonnie Matthews' illustrations can be found 25 children's books, as well as catalogs and other publications.

Bonnie Matthews’ illustrations can be found 25 children’s books, as nicely as catalogs and other publications.

(Scott Smeltzer / Personnel Photographer)

The result is the two vividly hued and light, which, when paired with Matthews’ deft ink drawings of quirky creatures, children and animal figures, gives her art a sprightly and fantastical sensation that looks a natural suit for educational resources.

Aside from her adore of artwork, Matthews is also an avid snorkeler who’s traveled to Honduras, Bermuda and the Cook dinner Islands and has noticed firsthand the environmental harm that is being inflicted on coral reefs and other maritime habitats.

She stated she selected to depict a seaside cleanup scene mainly because it illustrates how quick it can be to make a difference.

“I hope this will market some discussion,” she said. “If kids are there and searching at it, possibly they’ll begin a conversation with their mothers and fathers and determine to acquire some motion.”

"Set in Motion, a Change for the Ocean," a Stella whale created by Costa Mesa artist Bonnie Matthews.

“Set in Movement, a Adjust for the Ocean,” a Stella whale designed by Costa Mesa artist Bonnie Matthews.

(Courtesy of Bonnie Matthews)

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