Dorothy Mason – inspired and informed by the tranquil aesthetic of nature
“The purpose of my paintings is to connect people to nature – to remind us that we are part of the world around us, to see the beauty there, and to entice people to seek it out and engage.”
Dorothy Mason – drawn to color relationships!
The dull light grays that define a white petal of a flower set against the deep blue of the water. There is quite a bit of color in my paintings, yet they create a calm serene feeling. As an artist inspired and informed by the tranquil aesthetic of nature, my paintings are an organic extension of its peace and delicate incarnations. I see a healing loveliness in nature’s quiet scenes – in those singular instances of natural serenity. I love the color as it lyrically moves about the paper, particularly the heavily saturated pigments and their contrast with light soft colors. Through painting, I connect with nature, see its beauty and know I am part of it. I hope that my art brings peace and serenity to clients’ homes.
At what age did you know you wanted to be an artist?
In the fifth grade, we were studying George Washington Carver and everyone was to research and present a piece for the event. I finally raised my hand since I knew I needed to participate, and my teacher said she was saving me for the visuals. I spent my time drawing George Washing Carver sitting on a stump close to a peanut field. I was also invited to and participated in the special arts program for those who showed ability in art.
What is the earliest artwork you did that you can remember?
The earliest artwork that I can recall is when my sister asked me to compete in drawing Wilma Flintstone. When we were finished it was clear that my drawing was better even though she was older than me, so she ripped mine up.
Which classical or contemporary artists have inspired you?
I love Valesquez, I particularly like Portrait of Pope Innocent X, 1650. The way he paints the fabrics and the gold is spectacular
Monet’s “Water Lilies”. He paid particular attention to reflections in water. This is something I have tried to do as well. I also relate to the way he paints light and mood. People have told me that I draw somewhat like him. I was thunderstruck when I first saw his drawings, I feel such an affinity to them.
How would you describe your artistic style?
My paintings connect people to nature. They are representational in that you know what they are. But there is a soothing expression to them, evoking a quiet peaceful mood. There is quite a bit of color in my paintings and my watercolors use lots of strong pigments, but they create a calm serene feeling.
When did you first sell an artwork? How did you feel?
I don’t remember my first sale, it was an organic process, starting with trades. I only know that handing over a piece of art is like giving someone a piece of myself. The first sale to someone I did not know was exciting and confirming.
What's your workstyle? Do you work on one piece at a time or work simultaneously on multiple pieces?
How do you get the inspiration for a new piece?
Usually by going for a walk — in the woods, at The Botanic Gardens or in my neighborhood. Just looking and paying attention to my surroundings is enough. I might spot a flowering tree in a yard or boulevard. Then I can capture it through sketching and photographing it. Sometimes I need to return to see it again, just to have a feeling for the subject. Most of my work is completed in a studio setting.
Tell us a bit about your personal life ...
My two sisters, brother and I grew up in a creative and highly intelligent family. My mother was a math major. My father worked as a nuclear scientist. When I was 10, he decided to devote most of his time to music (he made oboe and bassoon reeds by hand on a card table in our house and played in orchestras), so I was introduced at an early age to concerts, opera and ballets. I studied at Illinois State University and furthered my art studies at The Art Institute. I am interested in the slow food movement and am currently trying various recipes of rye bread made from my homemade rye sourdough culture. I love cooking and entertaining as long as it has a creative element to it. Love of learning is my battle cry. Nature keeps me grounded.