There was a time in my career when I knew what the completed painting would look like. Now I never know where it will take me and I allow it a life of its own and open myself to the adventure and the journey!
Although the landscape remains my primary subject, I delight in painting the figure and street scenes in either oils or pastel. The range of texture, color and adaptability of oils is almost limitless. It can be maneuvered from a thin transparent wash to a rich, thick opacity Pastel, a dry medium, is exciting for its immediacy, freshness and sparkle. The colors are intense and vibrant and are available in a vast selection. When asked what my favorite medium is, I can't choose — I love them both equally!
In painting figures I look for poses that show them engaged in an activity that is unique to the model. Keeping my strokes loose and free helps to convey their gestures, emotion and inner energy.
Copyright 2016 Pikes Peak Pastel Society, P.O. Box 2443 Colorado Springs, CO 80901-2443
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A Path to Wander
Autumn on San Isabel Lake
Chapel on Old LaVeta Pass
Painting en plein air is a special joy; there is no experience quite like being out in nature, being one with it, and painting my interpretation of its splendor. Frequently, I need to turn my back to the scene so that I'm not tempted to become too literal in my interpretation of it. I want to edit the subject and paint its essence, ignoring the overabundance of details.
What initially attracts me to any subject are the shapes and values within it. I see objects-whether it's a pond, a tree or a road, as a shape - a form. Moving these shapes around to form a pleasing abstract composition is my first step. I've been known to move mountains, rivers and trees to manipulate nature into a cohesive arrangement on canvas or paper! Beyond composition, color and light are my passion and many of my paintings are more about these elements than they are about the actual subject matter. I've been called a colorist and my paintings are easily identifiable by my use of vibrant color and strong darks and lights. I love the simple act of pushing the paint or pastel around the surface developing lush color relationships and dramatic values.
I know a painting has succeeded when it presents a subject stamped with my own authenticity, using exciting and harmonic color choices and strong value patterns. I want it to have an imaginative interpretation of the subject and my own personal vision, rather than a literal rendering. I continue to grow as an artist; my learning and passion never ebbs. The destination is always before me and I never, ever "get there"!
Lighting Up the Morning
Dodd often refers to herself as “the original coal miner’s daughter” having been born in a small coal mining town in Pennsylvania. Her dad was a coal miner – her mother a milliner.
While still a child, the mines began laying off workers, eventually closing and Dodd’s father made the wise decision to move the family to Manhattan. It was there, during her formative years with easy access to all the museums and galleries New York had to offer that Dodd’s love of art developed.
After High School graduation, her first job was at Paramount Studios where she painted thousands of celluloid cells for cartoons such as Popeye, Casper the Ghost and Little Audrey. But continued education and an art career had to wait for some years due to an early marriage and the birth of her son.
When her son turned seven, Dodd registered at New York University and studied for only one year, feeling she was not getting the art education she had hoped. She then transferred to the Art Students League of New York where she took classes at night and Saturdays for five years under such masters as Daniel Greene, John Howard Sanden, Robert Beverly Hale, David Leffel, Isaac Soyer and others.
The first two solo exhibits of her oil paintings in 1981 and 1983 were at the Salmagundi Club in Manhattan, the oldest professional art organization in America and where she was one of the first women artists elected into the previously all male membership. These successful exhibits launched her art career as a professional.
For some years she had nurtured a goal of moving out west and that goal was finally realized in 1983 when she moved to Colorado. From painting the concrete canyons of Manhattan, she explored and painted the canyons, mountains, rivers and valleys of Colorado. She settled into a remote five acres in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains at 8500 feet overlooking the vast San Luis Valley and built her own small home having no electricity or telephone. The water was trucked in and poured into an underground cistern. Heat was provided by a wood stove for which she cut the wood herself from the abundance of the piñon forest in which she lived.
A special delight for her was plein air painting on camping trips that took her into the high country, discovering remote canyons, streams and waterfalls. During those forays her signature style of colorful, bold paintings in oil and pastel emerged.
Her new life was solitary and eventually propelled her to find kindred souls – a large community of artists in the San Luis Valley where she helped found the Associated Artists of the San Luis Valley and served as President for four years. As President she led the group in pursuit of exhibits which resulted in many shows in Colorado Springs, Alamosa, Taos, Pueblo and throughout the San Luis Valley. She found representation for herself in galleries in Alamosa, Taos and Santa Fe.
She lived and painted in her mountain retreat for eight years until 1991 when she met and married her current husband, Allan McConnell, who was then living in Colorado Springs. A job opportunity for Allan brought them to Pueblo three years later where they still happily reside
Dodd has had more than 20 solo exhibits over the years and has been the recipient of many awards. In 1997 she was one of 21 artists throughout the US and Canada invited by Forbes Magazine and American Artist Magazine to travel to France and paint as a guest of Christopher Forbes, staying at their fabulous Chateau de Belleroy in Normandy. This trip included one memorable day of painting in Monet’s gardens in Giverney.
As past President and co-founder of the Pikes Peak Pastel Society she holds signature membership in that group. She has taught Master Classes in pastel for the Colorado Art Education Association in Breckenridge, CO in 2002 and 2005 as well as many classes at the Sangre de Cristo Arts Center in Pueblo and the Cottonwood Art Center in Colorado Springs. She continues to teach occasional classes out of her studio in Pueblo West.
She holds signature membership in the Pastel Society of America and the Plein Air Artists Colorado. In 2005 she was awarded the coveted Master Circle designation in the International Association of Pastel Societies.
Other groups in which she is a member include the Pikes Peak Plein Air Painters and Oil Painters of America. In addition, she is President of the El Pueblo Art Alliance.
Dodd’s colorful oil and pastel paintings are included in the collections of Forbes Magazine, the Forbes family, MCI Telecommunications Corp., American West Airlines, Sangre de Cristo Art Center, Community Banks of Colorado, Colorado Historical Society, Parkview Hospital, Pueblo, CO and numerous other corporate and private collections.
Her work has been published in Southwest Art, 2009; Christian Science Journal, 2000; American Artist Magazine, 1998 and 1997; The Artist Magazine, 1993 and North Light Magazine, 1989.
Galleries representing her work are:
• Wilde-Meyer Gallery, Scottsdale and Tucson, AZ
• Max’ims of Greeley and Estes, Park, CO
• John Deaux Gallery, Pueblo, CO
• Firedworks Gallery, Alamosa, CO
• 7 Arrows Gallery, Woodland Park