Kitty Dodd
About me "You'll never reach your destination if you never try"

KittyI 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.

KittyI 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!

I 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 do list.”

I finally have my own, beautiful studio, “with a view”, 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 is impossible. 

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.

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