San Luis Obispo local artist Dotty Hawthorne sets up her easel, pastels and a shade umbrella on a cliffside overlooking the Pacific Ocean. This is where she spends hours on the Central Coast creating her artwork.
Hawthorne will show her latest art series, titled “Seasons,” in a new exhibit from Oct. 26 to Nov. 28 at the San Luis Obispo Museum of Art (SLOMA). “Seasons” is a solo exhibit that showcases Hawthorne’s newest series of pastel paintings, which depict seasonal changes throughout the scenic Central Coast. She said she has had more than a year to plan and create pieces for this exhibit, and is excited for it to open.
For this exhibit, Hawthorne painted mostly outdoors in the fresh air, a technique also know as “plein air.” According to Hawthorne, this helps her create a more personal, compelling piece of artwork that focuses on the slight changes in light, color and mood between the changing seasons.
“My favorite is painting right here in Central California,” Hawthorne said. “I love the hills, oak trees and the ocean; as well as the light, colors and atmosphere.”
Hawthorne’s love for the Central Coast goes deeper than her paintings. She has recently partnered with two other local artists and now co-own’s The Gallery at the Network in San Luis Obispo, a local fine art gallery that showcases arts and crafts from local regional artists. Here she works on her studio pieces and holds demonstrations for fans and others interested in art.
This San Luis Obispo fan base has grown through the various awards she has won in local shows, and her participation in the Open Studios Tour of Arts Obispo and other painting festivals.
“She is a very good artist, otherwise we would not choose to exhibit her work,” said Muara Johnston, the assistant director at SLOMA. “As a plein air artist, she is recognized by collectors all over the state and even elsewhere in the country.”
According to Johnston, the exhibit will open on Wednesday, but the main reception will be during Art After Dark on Nov. 4 for those who want to view Hawthorne’s new exhibit, discuss the artwork with her and enjoy free wine and light refreshments.
More than 20 galleries and non-traditional art venues display local and emerging artists for visitors to enjoy at Art After Dark.
“Art After Dark combines local business with art in a social environment that is welcoming to all,” said Barbara Radovich, arts in education coordinator at ARTS Obispo. “We just had an iPhone app made, that has a map of all businesses participating in Art After Dark. It makes the event easier to follow.”
A printable map and a link to the iPhone app can be located on Art After Dark’s website. Radovich said there are more than 30 different businesses and artists being showcased at this month’s Art After Dark.
“Art After Dark is always a fun event,” Johnston said. “(Hawthorne) will be on hand to answer questions, and meet the public.”
Hawthorne is not new to fame; her artwork has been featured in many different national publications, such as International Artist Magazine, Watercolor Magazine and North Light Magazine.
Along with publications, Hawthorne has created a few other series in the past for galleries around the United States.
“I created the Arizona Desert collection for a show in Tucson, Ariz., where I have a gallery that shows my work,” Hawthorne said. “Since I have a daughter that lives there, I enjoy painting there when I visit.”
Her various exhibits and published artwork have made her a well-known artist here in the Central Coast. Hawthorne said she is very excited about the upcoming exhibit and hopes it portrays the changes and feeling of the seasons here on the Central Coast.
“We are surrounded by natural beauty here on the Central Coast,” Hawthorne wrote in her artist statement for “Seasons.” “My hope is that these paintings reawaken an awareness and awe for the gifts we are given throughout the seasons of the Central Coast.”
SLOMA will show Hawthorne’s “Seasons” starting on Wednesday. The museum is open daily from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., closed on Tuesdays and admission is free. Art After Dark is an event that occurs every first Friday of the month.