pretty much grew up in the Detroit Zoo. Really. We lived just a couple
of blocks away and I used to run away from home on my trusty little
Schwinn bike. It was there I found peace and no one bothered me as
I observed the animals and drew all that I could. My dad said I was
born with a crayon in my hand and he always encouraged my young passion
by making sure I always had art supplies and sending me to any and
all art classes he could find in our area of Michigan. I spent many
Saturdays being driven up the long drive into Cranbrook Academy.
When I was about 10, I found out my favorite “Beatnik” aunt
was an artist and she got paid for drawing!!!! Well… that
was the beginning. My career choice was to be either a Fashion Illustrator
or Designer. My aunt was an illustrator for several department stores
in Detroit and Canada and she allowed me to do the “paste-ups” and
even occasionally draw in backgrounds, like snow. And I got paid!!!!
I was a “professional free-lance artist!” My high school
art teacher kept flunking me because “fashion illustration
was not art.” (My best friend did the proper assignments and
got all A’s) Upon graduation, I went to work with my aunt as
a “keyliner paste-up artist” and I was taught all the
aspects of retail advertising. I moved to the Washington D.C. area
and worked as a children’s illustrator for Hecht’s, Woodward & Lothrop,
and Kann’s, and working freelance for some stores in Georgetown.
Fast forward many years and 1 daughter, we moved to Culpeper Co.,
Va. and I was given the opportunity to start an art department in
a small private school. I stayed there for 15 years turning a “take
the art cart around” to a fully stocked specially built art
room for grades 1 – 9 where we produced some very fine artists
and award winners. That is one of the things I am most proud of doing
in my life.
have come full circle in that I observe and draw animals. I have
continued to take classes when I could, studying at Mary Baldwin
College, Savannah College of Art and Design, The Beartooth School
of Art, with Terry Isaac, John Banovich, and Paco Young. More classes
with Ann Kullberg, Robert Houck, Vera Curnow, James Sulkowski, John Seerey-Lester, Lee Cable, Heiner Hertling, and Gil Dellinger. I am now fortunate to belong in a learning
workshop with well known artist Sandra Forbush, who has become my
mentor. I will never get enough learning. I have been lucky enough
to teach adults at the National Zoo in D.C. (there’s
that circle again), and that was a thrill and in an art school here
in Virginia. I would like to teach more adult classes, even if it
means traveling around because I love teaching and I enjoy watching
the faces of the “old up tight, afraid
to look around” adults as they come to realize that this thing
called art is really a very easy thing to get comfortable with. To
share the joy when they see what they have accomplished makes me
feel very, very good. When I teach, I encourage everyone to try everything.
I generally show 3 or 4 ways to do something and tell them all are
right, there is no exact way to produce results, and learn the rules
so they can later break them. Art is an emotion. A passion.
Art should be approached with an open mind, and finding the parts
in the composition that make you happy… and doing them!
am doing art professionally now, mostly commissions of loved pets
with dogs and horses in particular. Dogs are my passion.. I have
hooked up with our local Humane Society and I do a lot of fundraising
with my art by donating proceeds from sale and donating art to
fundraisers. On my own, I still like doing animals; only they generally
have something to say, a title that makes one look twice at the
painting, or something that catches my eye that I just have to
get on paper or canvas. Learning to utilize a camera has greatly
helped in capturing things that won’t stay still. Sometimes
I will catch a scene and then my imagination takes over and I really
have fun. There are many things I want to paint, my brain never shuts
up, and the ideas come so fast that I have to keep a notepad so I
can keep track of my “to
I finally have my own, beautiful studio, “with
and that is where most of my time is spent in the company of 3 dogs,
7 cats, and any wild animals that find their way to this mountain.
I love the process of creating art. I love the feelings I get when
I am excited about starting something new, I love the total concentration
that takes me away from the every day world, I love the putting of
colors down and getting the transparent layers that excite me. I
live by the saying “You’ll
never reach your destination if you never try” so I feel nothing
Commissions are gratefully accepted. I hope you
enjoy the paintings and maybe one can be painted for you.
~ Kitty Dodd
You'll never reach your destination if you never try.