Born on August 23, 1938 in Konigsberg, Germany, Monika, as she signs most her work, has been living in the U.S. since she was 14 years old. She has lived and had studios in New Jersey. Utah, Idaho, California and Hawaii and is best known for her eclectic work and ability to capture life and nature in its most colorful and jubilant forms.
Born in Konigsberg Germany, Monika grew up in the beauty and grandeur of breathtaking landscapes, old churches, and baroque ceilings, statues, columns, art work and elaborate priestly regalia. At the age of 4, she and her mother fled from the Russian Invasion to Bavaria where Monika was schooled in a convent by nuns. With this backdrop to help a vivid imagination she was supplied with many a subject for drawing and painting. Advent calendars, fairy tale illustrations and drawing themes and characters for classic children books were the first steps of the artist. Finding fulfillment in subjects and muses mentioned above, Monika continued painting with her love of nature and furthered her pursuit of becoming a painter….an artist.
At the age of 14 Monika moved to the United States. She then continued her training, furthered her education, double majored in Art and Art History, followed later by a Masters in Fine Arts from the University of Pennsylvania with Honors. At the institution she was chosen to curate an art show for icon Andy Warhol who was just breaking into the pop art scene. Little did she know Andy Warhol would become a big name in art.
In her twenties, residing in Trenton New Jersey, getting married, painting and exhibiting in shows in New Jersey, Philadelphia and Canada (while raising her kids) she was recognized as one of the Bucks County painters and steadily won awards and appreciation for her work. At that time, the Historical Crest Gallery juried and took her on as a artist while accepting artists solely for the Smithsonian Institute in Washington D.C. She was commissioned to do children portraits for the Smithsonian and was awarded the New Jersey Tercentenary year award (the only living artist to win such an award).
While the artist worked through her thirties and forties, her work was collected by the New Jersey State Art Museum, The Philadelphia Maritime museum and private collectors in Europe, Australia and Canada (mentionable collections at the time). Monika was invited to represent U.S. art in Japan and the Orient in 1974. Monika Bloedel worked in close association with the medical community being a wife of a doctor, lead, curated and exhibited for several fund raising committees including the Multiple Sclerosis society, American Medical Association and Medical Art Illustration Corporation.
Going ahead, solo shows were a constant feature at the Artist’s studio, local galleries in Bucks County, Trenton, and Princeton, New Jersey. Monika Bloedel was also the sole pioneer and founder of the Delaware River painters in the 1970’s. The group included Bernard Ungerleiter (a well know artist from Lambertville, N.J.) and invited Smithsonian painter Valdy Marris from Newark, N.J., to name a few.
Over the years, Monika was fortunate enough to paint with and learn from the following special teachers: Daniel Green for portraits (famous for painting our US presidents), David Drumman (best known for water color reflections) and Sigi Yomato (water colors in Hawaii).
One of her notable paintings is titled East and West, which is in the collection of the Gardner library to commemorate Joe Buttinger being instrumental in turning Vietnam over from the French to the U.S in the early 1980s. The Library was later taken under the wings of Columbia University.
In 1984 Monika moved to Sun Valley, Idaho and Maui, Hawaii where until this day she resides and works, having studios in both locations. Gorgeous scenery, peace of mind and endless inspiration was and have been all around her to be able to produce her love of natural subjects, local native inhabitants, breath taking scenery, flora and fauna. “I see all these magnificent colors”... “They are all there” she says... She works in pastels, watercolors and oils in the tradition of Plein air/landscapes. The Grand Tetons, Mount Baldy, Ketchum River, Redfish Lake, Salmon River, Golden Reef, meadows and pastures, floral arrangements especially roses, wild flowers and animals are ongoing themes and subjects in her work. Both her and local Idaho artist Lois Allison (a close friend) have painted wild animals on many an occasion with keen observation.
In the early 90’s, Monika was struck by tragedy, being gravely injured in a car accident in Hailey, Idaho while retuning from Budapest as a member of the Olympic Bid Committee for the 2002 Salt Lake Olympics. She lost several cognitive abilities and had to relearn many skills which were part of her daily routine and intellectual life. After this accident, in 1996 Monika stepped out to paint again. Her initial impressions of the landscape that she truly loved on the canvas were uncharacteristic and sparse. This setback did not deter the artist in her work and she was more determined then ever in searching for her past, present and future self. She regained function in several spheres including her drive to paint again. Miraculously, her ability to paint had returned and there was no stopping her.
Monika further explored her desire to paint, create and wanting to take on the beautiful landscapes of Idaho and neighboring Utah. This lead to her having a studio built in the “middle of nowhere” in Teasdale, Utah. Capturing the earth tones, natural and reflective light, open air spaces and contrasting landscapes of sand/stone, soft/hard and brittle natural elements have lead to some of her best work yet. In shape of canyons, golden reefs, lakes (notably Salt Lake, UT) and local mountain ranges have been very captivating and soul satisfying for the artist. “This is where I can breathe better than anywhere….and it is in the middle of nowhere”……the artist mentions with an air of peace and content around her!
The artist’s special affinity and like for local native Indian reservations and its inhabitants (Northwest regions: Utah, Idaho, Nevada, Washington, New Mexico) depicting the people in their native attire and grace has lead to large sized paintings trying to capture an aura of spirituality. “Color, movement and detail are at the heart of these paintings depicting the Apache, Navajo, Geronimo, Stony and Blackfoot tribes”….the artist states in a fond manner….when she talks about her Native American art collection. Local art galleries have time and time again represented her work in the Valley.
Having a spirit and energy compared to no other….the artist has also been painting in Maui, Hawaii and is very familiar with the local art scene at Lahaina. Together with notable friend and fellow Artist Margaret Bedel she often ventures out to paint the local scenery on location. She shares this combined spiritual experience with her long time friend (who has been gradually loosing her eyesight) at times helping her to capture the gold sunset, plantation fields, lava rocks, mountain ranges and seascapes.
Another important piece of art work by Monika Bloedel is titled My 9/11. This painting (one of two pieces of art work ever allowed to be reproduced… the other titled The Sentinels) commemorates the 9/11 disaster and was presented to the Dali Lama at the Botanical Gardens in the state of Idaho in August 2006. While accepting her work the Dali Lama stated “I usually don’t accept gifts….but this one….I shall keep!). This peace ceremony was in the memory of Joe Buttinger who was presented the peace award at the top of “the Windows of the World” in NYC. Also, a Smithsonian Travel exhibit and collection showcased her pastel work in June-August 2009 while traveling through the state of Idaho.
The artist recently celebrated her 70th Birthday among friends and her prolific art work. The “Queen of Color” (as she is known among Art Lovers and friends alike) continues to avidly paint in several mediums at present.
You can meet her in person in Sun Valley, Idaho in most seasons.
Solo and Group Shows
2009 Exhibitor at the St. Lukes Medical Center in Ketchum, ID
2009 Red Fish Lake Art Show (Group)
2009 Escalante Canyons Art Festival (Utah, Escalante) (Group)
2009 Artist Studio Belmont, CA (Solo)
2009 Nami (National Alliance for Mentally Ill) Auction Exhibit (Group)
2009 Trailing of the Sheep Idaho (Group) Invitational
2008 Artist Studio Sun Valley, Idaho (Solo)
2008 San Francisco Arts and Crafts Show (Group) Invitational
2008 Artist Studio Belmont, CA (Solo)
2008 Nami (National Alliance for Mentally Ill) Auction Exhibit (Group)
2008 Red Fish Lake Art Show (Group)
2008 Invitation to U.S. Open Plein Air, Whidby Island, WA (Group)
2008 Trailing of the Sheep Idaho (Group) Invitational (Curator)
2007 Trailing of the Sheep Idaho (Group) Invitational (Curator)
2007 Invitation to U.S. Open Plein Air, Whidby Island, WA (Group)
2006 Escalante Canyons Art Festival (Utah, Escalante) (Group)
2005 Escalante Canyons Art Festival (Utah, Escalante) (Group)
2006 Dunbar Studio Ketchum Idaho (Solo)
2003 2002 2001 Wildlife Show Salmon Idaho (Group) Invitational
1999 Ketchum Arts Festival: First featured artist (Group)
1999 Salmon Wildlife Gallery (Solo)….Gallery closed
1992 Salt Lake City Utah (Solo)
1988 Maui Hands Makawa, HI (Solo)
1987 Hawaii Travel Show HI (Group)
1985 Kneeland Gallery Ketchum Idaho (Group)
1978-75 Atlantic City Medical Society Annual Show, Atlantic City, NJ (Group)
1965-69 Toronto International Medical show (Group)
1960-75 Delaware River Painters Exhibits Bucks County, PA and Lambertville, NJ (exhibits and group shows in various locations and facilities)
Trailing of the Sheep, Sun Valley Idaho 2009, 2008, 2007
Dali Lama presented with representational work in memory of 9/11, Sun Valley, Idaho Botanical Gardens of Idaho 2006
Escalante Canyons Plein Air Show Winner 2006 and 2005
New Jersey and Pennsylvania Art Shows 2004 and 2003
Kihei, Maui Hawaii Travel Art Show 1981-82
American Medical Association Exhibits in NJ, USA and Toronto Canada
New Jersey and Pennsylvania Art Shows 1972
Multiple Sclerosis 1969
New Jersey and Pennsylvania Art Show 1967
Morrisville, Trenton Art Group Award 1969-1961
New Jersey Tercentenary Award (100 yrs of Art Award)
National Student Award (twice)
Idaho Plein Air Artists
Smithsonian National Travel Collection “Between Fences” Exhibit 2009
New Jersey State Museum (Trenton NJ), Boise Art Museum (ID),
Hewlett Packard Private Collection
Philadelphia Maritime Museum
Woodriver Journal; Idaho Statesman; Philadelphia Enquirer; Trenton Times; Atlantic City
Information provided by Fawad Malik