Categorized | Community Spotlight

Living in the Now, Key to Agelessness for Nehalem Artist and Framer by Dana Taylor

Posted on 05 September 2015 by Jason

Since the days of Ponce de Leon and before, people have been seeking the fountain of youth as if it offers the same quality of life provided by its close cousin, agelessness. Nestled in the picturesque hills of Nehalem, Oregon, Bonnie Speer, proprietress of Art Happens, a local’s favorite art framing boutique, proves that agelessness is alive and well on the Oregon coast and has very little to do with one’s age whatsoever.

With a face framed with gossamer filaments of hair that seem to shift with every whisper of the wind, Speer recounted a life filled with joy and pain, blessings and lessons, and a deep appreciation for the timelessness of now, which informs her understanding of agelessness as she models it for others today.

Speer’s first real experience-turned-lifestyle with agelessness came to her in a time of life transition. “A friend of mine invited me to go sailing on her boat when I was going through a lot of stress, raising my three kids by myself in Houston. She said, ‘You’re going to have to leave all your baggage on the shore and just concentrate on sailing—otherwise, we’ll be wet.’”
That was more than 25 years ago.

Not too long after that life-changing sailing trip, Speer attended a weekend workshop called Beyond the Power of Positive Thinking in Dallas, Texas, while her former mother-in-law kept her children for the weekend, where she learned that even the smallest impressions have an impact on one’s subconscious and therefore mood. She credits that workshop with having a profound influence that made her more aware of that to which she chose to lend her attention, and how shifting things that add to positivity to her life was one of the most important moving parts to crafting and cultivating a lifestyle that results in agelessness.

“It made an impression on me; I went home and took down all of the photographs of my former husband who was already with another wife. Because every time I walked into that bedroom and looked at those photos on the walls, I got sad, even if only subconsciously. That was adding to my stress because that part of my life was over.”

She then began paying acute attention to everything she added to or subtracted from her life and the attendant results on her overall happiness until she had curated a set of life circumstances that kept her far happier than they did depressed. “And then I left the world of banking and finance and became a framer. I had no idea how happy it would make me.”

Skip ahead 15 years to when, at the suggestion of friend Lori Dillon, Speer took a formal art lesson on the Oregon coast and began communicating with her inner artist. She was pleased to learn after all those years of framing that she had a natural ability to create art, not just frame it, even though she was encouraged by her parents to become an intellectual while growing up in the artist colony of Laguna Beach, California.

“That sailing trip started my life-long lesson in living in the now. That’s one thing that’s also true of framing—if you’re not in the now, you’re going to hurt yourself. And the lovely thing about art and framing is that you have to be in the now, you can’t be anywhere else.”

Besides framing and creating her own art, Speer also attributes her sense of agelessness to her current hometown, a place she describes as “just paradise—I have to be near water, salt water, preferably.” She also has a small fleet of Cavalier King Charles Spaniels that get her out onto the beach daily in the salt-saturated wind, and provide unrelenting companionship. “These little mutts keep me ageless because they like their exercise, so they’re always taking me out on walks.”

If you visit Speer’s home and framing studio, it’s impossible not to notice how many hummingbirds visit, incessantly, buzzing the ears of anyone who stays still enough to experience one of hundreds zooming by on its way to take a sip from the various feeders strung around her property. Coincidentally, the hummingbird is a Native American symbolic spirit animal for joy and something to which Speer attributes her sense of agelessness.

The only thing that brings Speer more professional joy than creating her own art is framing art created by her clients. “I find deep satisfaction helping artists find a frame that suits their art and their budget.”
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And although the only concession Speer makes to her numerical age is confessing that wrangling 60-inch by 80-inch pieces of glass is a little intimidating without help, she adds, “I figure I’ll be framing until I die, which is lovely.”

To inquire about having your art framed by Bonnie Speer at Art Happens in Nehalem, call 503-368-3835.

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