Category Archives: Art

Painting Chicago History

Painting Chicago History

Chicago building portrait

completed painting

One of the most exciting things about being an artist is that I am constantly presented with new ideas and challenges by my customers. One particularly interesting challenge came as a commission for a building “portrait” of a Chicago landmark building on Lake Shore Drive. Being a Chicago native and lover of architecture made this project really special to me. The first step was to meet my client at her home and listen to her ideas. She wanted something extra special as a gift for her husband, and she thought a vintage style painting of his favorite building, which was also the location of their second residence, would be just the thing. I happily agreed:) After deciding that an approach that mimicked a vintage travel postcard would be a fun way to replicate the building and hint at it’s historic past, I quickly got to work. I first photographed the building to get my reference. Then the fun began…

The first step after applying the plaster to the panel is to sketch in the building.

sketching out the painting.

I decided to create the painting on a cradled wood panel distressed with Faux Effects Plaster Tex to create interesting texture and an “aged” quality.  I then sketched a line art version of the building onto the panel.

getting to the fun stuff now!

now it’s starting to get somewhere…


step by step the building started to come to life…

adding details to the painting

adding details

I really enjoy getting into all of the tiny details that give the painting it’s character. The reflections in the windows are a fun challenge that make a ton of difference in the final painting!

Lake Shore Drive painting progress

Lake Shore Drive painting in progress- almost at last step

almost there…

detail of painting

Chicago Lake Shore Drive building painting detail

Chicago building portrait

completed painting

The wording at the bottom labeled the painting. The spelling of “ILL” also created an illusion of age because the abbreviation no longer is spelled that way. I custom ordered and hand painted a floating style frame to give it just the right mood.

To see more original paintings, please visit my Fine Art Gallery, if you are interested in commissioning a portrait of your own, please contact me.

music nursery

Music Theme Nursery


This summer I had the opportunity to create a really fun mural for a lovely family in downtown Chicago. My client’s requests were simple and well defined with the help of local Interior Designer, Norma Zeiger of Entwine Interiors. She wanted something gender neutral, modern, and sophisticated. After our initial meeting, we decided on a large scale graphic approach which included musical notes, a treble clef, and piano keys on a textured background. I put together a few options for her. Her two favorites are featured below.

1) The first option was created with Faux Effect Plaster Tex and glaze. It was rustic in feel and neutral in color.

music mural ideas

sample for music themed nursery mural

2) The second option was more of a “modern” take on the same idea (see above) and featured the same elements painted and embellished with a clear “wax-like” product from Golden Decorative paints; “Smooth Translucent Glazing Medium” plus sheer color. The result was a change in sheen and a modeled effect over the painted elements.

The mural also included very subtle large scale musical notes “dancing” around the room.

music themed nursery

music themed nursery detail

To see more mural samples and ideas, please see my mural gallery page 

raven painting

Rustic Autumn Artwork, It’s Time to Decorate for Fall!

Hooray! It’s here…It’s time to decorate for fall! It’s the season of bonfires, hot cocoa, hoodies and new boots:) I love it!! I also love pulling out all of my autumn decorations and adorning my house with the colors of the season. Halloween and Thanksgiving provide lots of great inspiration for me:) Here are just a few examples of new and old pieces…most are available on my Etsy store.

Tiny pumpkin painting

This tiny folk art piece pulls all of my favorite fall colors together. It works great as an accent piece or propped on a bookshelf.

Pumpkins make great subject matter for decorating throughout the fall season! Put them out in September and keep them on display until you are ready to put up your Christmas decorations. I have special pieces that I pull out every year for the holidays. Each one holds special memories and will one day give my kids the opportunity to pull them out and revisit their happy childhood memories of home and family celebrations.

folk art halloween painting

“Trick or Treat” 12″ x 12″ x 1.5″ acrylic on wood panel

I love the halloween and fall colors, green, orange, black and tan are the most prevalent colors in my home:)

another small pumpkin painting

“Witches” 6″ x 6″ x .5 x 75″ mixed media on wood panel

Witches and pumpkins and black cats, “Oh, my!” This painting is one of my personal favorites.

"bad kitty"

“bad kitty” 12″ x 12″ x 1.5″ acrylic on wood panel

Crows and ravens also make great inspiration for halloween decor that also can be left out all year!

crow painting

“Crow” 12″ x 12″ x .75″ acrylic on wood panel

How do you like to decorate for the holidays? Leave me a comment and let me know! I’d love to hear…



Only 3 more weeks until IDAL Convention 2013! I’m looking forward to seeing old friends and seeing new products on the market. Tons of ideas and inspiration for decorators and decorative artisans!! Don’t miss it. Here are the classes I will be teaching. Sign up today at

grisaille landscape

Grisaille Landscape Mural Class Panel

cardinals on a branch mural

IDAL Convention Birds and Foliage class

I hope to see you there!

Bonnie Lecat Designs. Contemporary Art with a Vintage Flair: Fine Art, Murals, and Custom Gifts

  • "Three" 40” x 30” acrylic on wood panel ©2013 Bonnie Lecat, Nest painting with three blue eggs
    "Three" 40” x 30” acrylic on wood panel ©2013 Bonnie Lecat

Bonnie Lecat is a Chicago based artist that has been providing fine artwork and decorative painting services to art collectors all over the United States for over 12 years. Bonnie’s work features realistic imagery portrayed with a vintage flair.

Now also offering unique handmade and personalized gifts!

To visit the custom art and gift shop click here. To order giclee prints of available work, please click here.

Please visit our artwork page to see examples of our fine art on on canvas or panels, mural commissions, decorative painting projects, and fine art gifts.

Contact us today to schedule an appointment for your free in-home portfolio review and consultation!