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Volume 26, Number 6 — June 2019

Jackie Dolpp wants her work to give joy

Jackie Dolpp with her art.
Jackie Dolpp with her art.
Additional photos below »

By Leslie Grace | A! Magazine for the Arts | May 29, 2019

Jackie Dolpp has always enjoyed art — whether it was crayons and construction paper as a child or her recent work in watercolor and pastels. She began painting when she moved to Abingdon in 1974.

“I started taking classes when we moved to Abingdon in the mid 1970s. Nancy Garretson taught a pencil drawing class at Virginia Highlands Community College. Landon Woody encouraged me to join his painting group that met at the Depot first on Tuesday evenings and later on Wednesday mornings. It still meets as the Wednesday Morning Painters at the Depot.

“Through my volunteer work with the Virginia Highlands Festival Art Committee, I helped organize the yearly workshops. I was able to study with wonderful artists from across the U.S. Janet Rogers, Steve Rogers and Harry Thompson are a few of my favorites. Vera Dickerson and Robin Poteet from Roanoke, Virginia, have also broadened my horizons. During the summer, I belong to the High Country Watermedia group that meets at Cheap Joe’s Store in Boone, North Carolina, for a monthly workshop and discussion,” she says.

She particularly enjoys the pure, intense colors of nature she has seen in her travels to California, Arizona, New England, Hawaii and Europe. She enjoys manipulating color, in spraying or painting with water then dropping pure color and watching the change and movement take place before her eyes. Her love of flowers and gardening also plays a big part in her paintings.

“Flowers are what I paint most. Even in abstracts I see flower shapes. Landscapes intrigue me as I try to push and pull distance.

“I started in oil and switched to watercolor. Magic happens when you drop two or three colors into a puddle and watch them mingle. My style has changed over the years as I switched from stiff tole folk art, to oils and, finally, to watercolor. Over the years I learned about perspective and moving the viewer’s eye around your paper using color, holding interest by having a focal point (where darkest dark and lightest light meet). I enjoy realism and looser abstracts.

“In talking to people, I am always surprised to learn they are afraid to try watercolor because it is hard. I have never felt that way — it just amazes me. I enjoy the surprises and color mixes that happen. I am a traditionalist and like the whites to be the white of the paper for that sparkle, so I need to plan ahead somewhat. But there are various tricks of the trade that you learn along the way.

“I am mainly self taught but have taken many workshops over the years. The best way to improve is to try and paint most days. I took an oriental brushstroke class one time, and the instructor said even if you cannot paint, take time to grind your ink and meditate.

“Art enriches my life by making me more aware of my surroundings . . . shadows, sunlight and colors. I can lose myself in painting. I sit down at home to just paint for half an hour until the washer is finished, and two hours have flown by. I am astounded by other artists’ imaginations and their choice of subject matter.

“I would like people to feel happy when they see my art or feel drawn into a landscape and think how beautiful nature is ... life is good. Flowers are very nostalgic for me in bringing back memories of childhood (hollyhocks and lilacs) happy events (wedding flowers) or people (the flowers that bloom long after the person who gave you a start has died or moved away). I am happy to hear visitors tell me their memories connected to a place or flower,” she says.

Her work is on public display in her studio at The Arts Depot in Abingdon, Virginia. She also has a few paintings at Carl Jessee Art and Frame Shop in Bristol, Virginia, The Town Square Center for the Arts in Glade Spring, Virginia, the gallery at the Southwest Virginia Cultural Center and Marketplace, Abingdon, Virginia, and the Visitor Center in Abingdon.

She always urges visitors who come by her studio to give watercolor a try. She is at her studio in The Arts Depot, Abingdon, Virginia, Thursday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. “I appreciate friends and strangers who come to my studio and leave saying my paintings give them joy ... that’s what they do for me,” she says. Dolpp also teaches classes at The Arts Depot.


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Her colorful watercolors are pictured here.