Doddart - The place for watercolors and works on canvas!
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A Glimpse of Jim and Mary Dodd
Taken from Northeast Georgia Living 

Loving Art for Art's Sake - Mary & Jim Dodd

Loving Art for Art's Sake
by Claudia Hopkins - Photographs by Ellen Climo

Nestled on a hillside in the Northeast Georgia mountains is the home and studio of an extraordinary couple, artists Jim and Mary Dodd. They now make their home in Wolf Fork Valley in Rabun Gap, just a few miles north of Clayton on U.S. Highway 441. Like a number of other creative people, they have found that surrounding oneself with the beauties of nature and the quiet solitude of a mountain dwelling brings inspiration and joy to life.

One might think that it would be difficult for two artists with very strong personal views about their gifts to work side by side in the same studio, not to mention living together as husband and wife. Of course, when questioned about their ideas of colors, hues, and images, Jim and Mary don't always agree, and they are quick to point out that there are other occasions when their opinions lead to lengthy discourse on a variety of subjects.

There is one subject, however, about which they both enthusiastically and emphatically agree. Creating something from nothing on canvas or paper with watercolors acrylic, or oil is to be viewed as a God-given talent, and to be able to spend one's days doing that is the highest of callings in life. They obviously love what they do and become passionate in defense of art for the sake of art. Constantly seeking to improve, they recently commented on a televised discussion of the Impressionists, they had viewed and excitedly ordered the four-tape series to watch and learn.

Loving art for art's sake, the Dodds have unique and different styles of displaying these talents. As young students at the Atlanta High Museum School of Art, Jim and Mary began to notice one another, and now after forty-two years of marriage, they work side by side in their upstairs art studio, the walls of which are lined with works both have completed.

The first impression one has of Jim Dodd is the rugged look of a military man or athlete rather than an artist. Closer questioning reveals that he is both - a Navy man and a lover of baseball. He spent a number of years in the Navy stationed at various bases in the U.S. and overseas. He also is quick to mention that at one time he seriously thought about becoming a professional baseball player. Growing up in Atlanta, he closely followed the old Atlanta Crackers and now is a big Braves fan.

Jim's specialties include cityscapes, atmospheric landscapes, and house portraits. His love of painting began in grammar school in Atlanta. His first commissions, the sketches of airplanes and comic book covers, were for his classmates. From this early age, this master artist has studied and sought to perfect his work.

Following his training at the High Museum of Art, Jim began a career in commercial art. After many years of this Atlanta grind, he and Mary retreated to the North Georgia Mountains to follow the real love of their hearts - PAINTING! One of Jim's strong beliefs is, "if you don't work hard at your talent, it will be mediocre. Even a great artist will not succeed without learning to work hard." His work is anything but mediocre with a lending of color and subject that is unique and quite varied. He states, "I paint because that is what I do and that is what I am - an artist, a creator of art. It is the one thing I do well, and it makes me feel good to paint."

Jim has displayed his works in one-man and group shows in Georgia, Alabama, Florida, Virginia, and Connecticut, as well as The Senate House in Bonn, Germany. He has conducted watercolor workshops in Atlanta and Rome, Georgia, North Carolina, and Northeast Georgia and does a spring and fall workshop at his home.


Presently at Jim's easel is a work in creation entitled "Big Ben." This is one in a series of watercolors and canvases that he has been working on since his last trip to London. This piece was inspired by the Impressionist, Claude Monet. Jim states, "London is one of my favorite places in the world, and I will be painting it for many years." His love for London is evidenced, also, by a number of other paintings like several miniatures of the Houses of Parliament hanging on the Dodd studio wall.

Other Jim Dodd works include an acrylic entitled "China Town." This piece is a street scene depicting New York's China Town district on a cool spring day after a brief rain shower. His choices of subjects are quite different ranging from city streets to still-lifes like the interesting piece entitled "The Colander and Eggs." This still-life watercolor painting takes a simple, familiar object of daily life and redefines it by repeating shapes and value contrasts into a picture suggesting classic sculpture. A similar work is an outstanding watercolor called "Color Tin," which is a study done in watercolor of bright opposing angles confined in a circle. It depicts a tin of crayons and colored pencils. This writer was drawn to several of the landscape watercolors including "The River in Autumn," "South Georgia Farm," and "Appalachian Spring," to name a few. From still-scapes to abstracts, Jim Dodd's work is so diversified that the buyer is certain to find what he's looking for.

  Doddart - Big Ben
Mary and Jim Dodd have unique and different styles displaying their talents. Jim's love of London inspired a series that includes this painting of Big Ben.

An equally impressive artist in her own right, Mary Dodd has an ethereal quality that flows into her paintings and personality. Her zest for living and joy of creating are so evident in her expression, one can sense that given any sort of media Mary would find a way to create something beautiful. Sitting in her dining area surrounded by hand-painted furniture and walls graced by most loved works of art, the writer observed firsthand that Mary and Jim have found joy in expressing and enjoying the things they most love to do, and love sharing those gifts with others.

Doddart - Carousel The paintings of Mary Dodd include watercolors, oils, and mixed media. She is an artist who delights in a brightly colored, loose style. When asked why she paints she stated, "Explaining that is so much harder than actually painting. A part of it is the smell and look of the artist's materials. The greater part is the unlimited possibilities inherent in each new effort to create art. In many ways, the process of painting is more important to me than the finished work. I believe that artists and art lovers share a common bond, that of seeking to add understanding and harmony to their surroundings."
Mary is an artist who delights in a brightly colored. loose style, shown in in this piece of masked carnival goers.

After studying at the High Museum of Art, Mary continued to study figure and portrait painting with Russian artist, Constantine Chatov, and learned printmaking in the Odyssey Studio. Her paintings reflect her love for both natural and world-of-man subjects. Paintings include rainy day street scenes, mountain landscapes, and flora still life, all executed in rich color.

Recently Mary has been creating a series of thematic works she has entitled "The Travelers." Her first work, an etching of The Wise Men" was done on a Christmas Card. Mary states, "No matter what our religious belief, thoughts, culture, positions, or value to society, we are all singly and collectively on a journey from beginnings we cannot remember to some only dreamed of destination."

Hanging in the Dodd Gallery is one work in the Travelers series. This unusual painting, "Mummy Cases," came from her love of the Egyptian culture. The work depicts very human-looking mummies with smiling faces. The decoration is stylized and yet very individual and also human. In her "Wise Men," she shows three kings "traveling," searching for the child who embodied the idea that there is one who would lift man and his spirit out of the darkness of ignorant chaos with the hope of a loving eternal existence.

For example, other TRAVELERS for future works will be Noah and his art, Astronauts, and Don Quixote. She states, "I hope I have time to paint them all."

Mary Dodd has exhibited many times in the Southeast in juried art shows including the Virginia Beach Boardwalk Show, The Piedmont Art Festival, DeKalb Mardi Gras and the Powers Crossroads Country Fair - to name a few.

One of the proud accomplishments of Mary was the inauguration of the North Georgia Arts Guild, which she organized and founded in June of 1994. What began as a project for a Woman's Club has grown to over 160 members. Within the framework of the Guild, she guided the organization of several street fairs, an adult day camp, numerous field trips, and many other art and community activities.

Jim and Mary Dodd continue to create and improve upon their art. Every year, the first weekend in December is open house weekend for several artists in the North Georgia Mountain area. The Dodds' studio, sitting on Hawkeye Trail, Wolf Fork Valley, Rabun Gap, Georgia, is open for visitors during this time. Any art lover would enjoy visiting the Dodds, their daughter, Sharon, the collie dog, eight cats, several chickens and a country garden adorning Mary's gold fish pond.

My husband and I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know this delightful and talented couple. But, if you can't visit the studio, go on to their website to get a glimpse of Jim and Mary Dodd at - you will enjoy the visit as we did.

-Claudia Hopkins
"Northeast Georgia Living"
Fall/Winter 2001
PO Box 34
Franklin Springs, GA 30639

Doddart - The place for watercolors and works on canvas     


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Rabun Gap, Georgia 30568
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