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Last week, a close friend of the Workshed family lost her battle with cancer. Diana Rice Bonin was not only a talented artist and a wonderful person, but she was also a former neighbor to me and my family, an honorary grandmother to my son and a valued family friend.

Diana was the first artist to show her work at a Workshed First Friday event and we had planned to have her and her daughter, Jessica, do a mother-daughter show in the future.

For those of you who knew Diana, you know what we’ve lost and can mourn with us. For those of you who did not know her, I invite you to read her obituary below, investigate her art blog and send her family kind thoughts.

Diana, you’ll be missed. Pat, Jessica and Joe; we are so very sorry for your loss.

Workshed will be featuring some more of Diana’s work tonight at our First Friday event, so please stop by to view and take solace in a small portion of the prolific legacy of art work she has left behind.

February 15, 1955 – May 29, 2008

Diana was born in Seattle, Washington to Cecil Rice and Olga Alexyevna. She resided in the Pacific Northwest, and most recently, in Camas, Washington. Diana grew up in Bellingham, Washington, where she met and married her husband of 30 years, Patrick Bonin. Her two children, Jessica and Joseph, who reside in Portland, Oregon, were her pride and joy.

Diana’s passion for art began early in her life and resulted in a highly successful career. As an artist for Alaska Silver and Ivory Corporation, she learned to do scrimshaw, the traditional art of sailors and native peoples. After leaving Alaska Silver and Ivory she continued in scrimshaw as a freelance artist. She became well known for her depictions of Pacific Northwest wildlife, with work in collections all over the country and world. Her more recent accomplishments include 20 published children’s books, an extensive portfolio of original paintings, drawings and illustrations, corporate art, layout and design, and a variety of projects with service organizations. Her commissioned work includes publications for the National Parks Service, Clark County Historical Society, and the Clean Water Foundation. Her latest work, “A Joshua Tree Named Lily”, was commissioned by the Joshua Tree National Park and includes 38 full color illustrations by Diana. In recent years she made the leap from illustration to fine art. Her paintings depict the beauty of the Pacific Northwest and its wildlife, and can be seen through her internet site:

In addition to her love for all types of art, Diana enjoyed collecting early American pottery, antiquing, animals of any kind, listening to music, motorcycling with her husband Patrick and their friends, and was an avid community volunteer. Most of all she loved her little cabin on Lake Merrill where she gardened and shared her love of nature and art with her family and friends. Her beauty, strength and compassion for life drew people to her and she had a huge fan club of friends. She was fondly nicknamed “Lady Di” by family members.

Diana is survived by her husband Patrick Bonin, two children Jessica and Joseph, her mother Olga Alexyevna, her great aunt June and uncle Earl Hendrickson, her brother Steve, sisters Carol and Karen, and many nieces, nephews and their children.

Memorial Services will be held at the First United Methodist Church, 401 East 33rd Street, Vancouver, Washington, Saturday, June 14, 2008 at 10:00 a.m. followed by a reception.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Clark County Humane Society.

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