“I’m a person who is not bound by boundaries. ... I’m a feeling painter, an emotional painter, and when I feel like painting, I may not have a specific thing in my mind of what I’m going to do.” — Dot Duggins
Through September, Walkertown Branch Library is hosting an art exhibit featuring work by local Walkertown artist Dot Duggins. Five pieces (“Moonlight Dance,” “Stage Fright,” “Resting Place,” “Australian Beauty,” and “Pledge of Allegiance”) will be on display and are available for purchase. You are invited to come and experience these wonderful works of art and support an acclaimed local artist.
Dot Duggins began attending painting classes in 1973 and won her first purchase award from Wachovia Bank in 1975. In addition to painting part time, she also worked as a seamstress and bridal dress designer. She started painting full time in 1993, using primarily watercolor and acrylic paints. Her love of color is evident in paintings that range in style from realistic to abstract.
Dot Duggins: Color Outside the Lines
The Art Show on display at Walkertown Branch Library through the end of November.
Walkertown Branch Library
2969 Main St. Walkertown, NC 27051
Call (336) 703-2990 for more information.
Click here for driving directions.
Natalia Tuchina, branch manager at Walkertown Branch Library, interviewed Dot Duggins about the exhibit.
Please tell us about the largest painting in the show.
Duggins: The largest painting is of two dancers who are dancing with no clothes to catch your attention. It’s just the forms and that’s what it’s all about. I saw a picture in a magazine of honed metal. When the light hit it, it shined in different forms. That picture inspired me to do this piece. The piece is so large in size that I had to paint that canvas lying on the floor with a long brush. At first, I played with the rhythm around it, and then I played with the color. I thought that the color takes away from the actual meaning of the painting. So I thought that I would do it vaguely to show movement.
It is such an honor to have your first and only oil painting displayed for the first time at the Walkertown library!
Duggins: Yes, this is my new work, the first and only oil painting I've done. I had never used oil paint. I had started off with acrylic paint because I am a very fast painter. Acrylic paint dries really fast. While the oil dries really slow, you need to wait and let the oil dry between coats, unless you want to just mix them.
So you think you just became more patient?
Duggins: [laughs] I did. I had to be patient to do oil painting. The colors that I imagined for the piece I saw not in my eyesight, but in my mind-sight. A lot of times, when I’m riding down the road, or parked somewhere, I’m looking down at a scene that catches my eye and I want to paint it. Or if there’s a portion of it that I want to paint, then I will squint. Artists don’t realize that if you squint, you will see color form. Then you can see the dark, the light, the medium. You see your painting first in your mind. I may end up with a totally different painting than what I started with. And that's totally fine.
What is art for you?
Duggins: It is the color! Color is so important to me! As a very young child, I had at my disposal a little watercolor set like you would pick up from the dimestore. That’s what I painted with at first. I still have those first pieces in my painting collection. I’ll use ink, I’ll use anything. There are some rules in art that can be broken and some that cannot be broken. For example, you don’t ever put a center, a round center, in the center of a canvas. If you do, then the person who is looking at your piece will not wander through the painting. Their eyes will be stuck captive at that center point. The four corners of a painting need to be of different colors, so mix the colors that you’re using. I will rotate my canvas as I’m painting it. You need to have a foreground, a background, and a middle ground.
When did you start painting? Was it in Walkertown?
Duggins: I started in Winston Salem, at the Arts School that used to be downtown at the Hanes Community Center. I took six years of art from Gene Hege. I didn’t know that he was a Walkertown person, but he actually graduated from Walkertown High School. He is deceased now, but he was a wonderful artist. I’m not a person that likes to do one particular thing. In the art classes, they kept saying that I would find my niche and I would stick with it. I thought that “No, I don’t want a niche and I don’t want to stick with it.” I wanted to paint many different things, and I did! I love abstract, but I live in a traditional community where people appreciate traditional paintings. So I mix things up and can do an abstract piece that looks like a traditional painting.
How would you describe the theme of this exhibit?
Duggins: Art is everywhere around us. Anywhere you are you can see and pick out portions of the things you see. You can take a photo, take a portion of it, and paint it. That’s really exciting because you can take one photo, make several paintings from that photo, and have it not be the photo at all.
What would you say to a beginning artist?
Duggins: Explore, and if you can afford to take classes, take them. You will learn all kinds of things from different teachers. If you allow yourself to explore, you won’t be so rigid. You don’t have to color in the lines. This is what my art teacher told me: “You are like a sponge. Young people need to explore colors outside the lines”.