Wall Art Takes Inspiration From Nature

Artists Bonnie Norling Wakeman and Joe Wakeman transform commercial and residential walls into works of art using the bas-relief form

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A blank canvas promises endless possibilities. When artist Bonnie Norling Wakeman sees a blank wall, her imagination runs wild. From a safari scene to an aspen grove, Bonnie creates nature landscapes of all sorts to bring the outdoors inside your home.

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For over 25 years, Bonnie and her husband Joe Wakeman (an abstract fine artist) have done the work of transforming walls in spaces all around the United States. After a trip to Italy in the early 1990’s, Bonnie was inspired by the bas-relief sculpted art she saw there and knew it was what she wanted to explore here in the States.  “When I got back from Italy, I started developing a process by finding the right product mixes and finally came up with a high-quality permanent mix that I use on walls.” Bonnie went on to hone her skills in creating trees, animals and landscapes in the art form, aided by her degree in Illustration.

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She insists on client collaboration during the beginning stages of the design. “Working with people directly makes all the difference for me. Once I start connecting with people, that’s a huge part of the process,” she says. Initial sketches are created from both the client’s and Bonnie’s vision for the wall transformation, and then Bonnie takes the reins to finalize the design before she starts her work. “Because it is a permanent art form, it has to look like it belongs on the wall forever.” 

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Using the bas-relief sculpture technique, Bonnie’s trees, foxes and bears are designed to project just slightly from the background surface. “This is art you can touch. You can feel the different textures of a pine tree or the aspens and the animals,” says Bonnie. “It’s really fun.”


With her unique material mix, style, and mural designs, Bonnie brings in the natural scenes she is inspired by daily. “Living in the mountains is amazing. We have a beautiful view out of our window. It’s why I moved here,” she says. 

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The finished product is wall art with a degree of three-dimensionality. “This is the ultimate homage to nature because of all of the texture,” says Bonnie.

“I’ve been inspired by nature in every single kind of art I’ve done,” she says. Those of us who are lovers of nature, too, can bring it inside to see and feel on our walls everyday. 

To see more of Bonnie Norling Wakeman and Joe Wakeman’s work, visit transformingwalls.com.

Categories: Artists & Artisans