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

Barbara Merkley

From a bungalow apartment that doubles as a studio, Costa Mesa artist Bonnie Matthews has been doing the job to create a piece of public artwork that showcases her whimsical model even though conveying a message about the significance of environmental stewardship.

And, boy, is it 1 a whale of a undertaking.

A wooden panel slice into the condition of a baby grey whale is protected with brightly painted scenes of a beach front cleanup. Individuals on shore and in the h2o interact in brisk function as fish, grateful for the housekeeping effort, dart by way of blue waters.

"Set in Motion, a Change for the Ocean" was created by Costa Mesa artist Bonnie Matthews for Mesa Water District.

“Set in Movement, a Alter for the Ocean” was produced by Costa Mesa artist Bonnie Matthews for Mesa Drinking water District as section of a countywide h2o stewardship marketing campaign.

(Scott Smeltzer / Employees Photographer)

“I imagined, why never we exhibit persons volunteering and currently being content,” Matthews, 58, stated Monday, applying thinned-down acrylic paint to a determine in a system resembling watercolor. “And the fish are content because they can swim in the h2o, and it’s great and clear.”

The work, titled “Set in Motion, a Change for the Ocean,” was commissioned by Mesa Water District and will soon be hung in John Wayne Airport in recognition of Earth Month.

It will be a single of 40 whale-shaped artwork pieces established underneath a monthlong marketing campaign “Streams of Hope,” a collaboration of the nonprofit Wyland Basis, the Municipal H2o 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 utilizes a painting method termed gouache to develop a vivid yet flippantly used color scheme.

(Scott Smeltzer / Workers Photographer)

The child whales — every single uniquely created but all named “Stella” — will be shown during the county to remind viewers how they can prevent water pollution and be great h2o stewards.

“It’s a exciting group outreach marketing campaign,” said Mesa H2o spokeswoman Celeste Carrillo, who stopped by Matthew’s residence Monday. “It’s a excellent way to get the word out there about drinking water and teach folks on the worth of h2o and how we can maintain it cleanse.”

“Streams of Hope” will also incorporate numerous community cleanup events main up to Earth Day on April 22, which will be outlined together with a slate of functions 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 artwork wrap developed by Bonnie Matthews in 2020 stands at the corner of Bear and Bristol streets in Costa Mesa.

(Town of Costa Mesa)

Carrillo mentioned representatives of Mesa H2o District — which serves 110,000 consumers in Costa Mesa and portions of Newport Seashore and unincorporated Orange County, which includes John Wayne Airport — experienced a few artists in head when they learned Matthews on an on-line directory of artists who’ve labored with the metropolis of Costa Mesa.

Matthews produced a huge-scale art piece in 2020 that was used to a utility box at the corner of Bear and Bristol streets. She’s also participated in ARTventure, an once-a-year neighborhood art display organized by the town, its Cultural Arts Fee and Segerstrom Middle for the Arts.

“As she was telling us about her illustrations and her enthusiasm for what she does, we believed, this is the great in good shape,” Carrillo recalled.

A longtime children’s reserve illustrator who also generates and pictures cookbooks, Matthews moved to Costa Mesa in 2013. Nevertheless she used a long time functioning in typography and as an artwork director, her creative art is self-taught and normally done with a process named gouache, which produces an opaque watercolor outcome.

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

Bonnie Matthews’ illustrations can be identified 25 children’s textbooks, as effectively as catalogs and other publications.

(Scott Smeltzer / Employees Photographer)

The final result is the two vividly hued and gentle, which, when paired with Matthews’ deft ink drawings of quirky creatures, children and animal figures, gives her art a sprightly and fantastical emotion that seems a all-natural in shape for academic resources.

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

She claimed she chose to depict a seaside cleanup scene since it illustrates how simple it can be to make a big difference.

“I hope this will boost some dialogue,” she stated. “If youngsters are there and wanting at it, perhaps they’ll commence a discussion with their parents and make your mind up 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 Improve for the Ocean,” a Stella whale produced by Costa Mesa artist Bonnie Matthews.

(Courtesy of Bonnie Matthews)

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