Showcasing Local Nature In Art
A beautiful coastline and fabulous weather make for a very popular place to retire. That same beauty has also been revered as a constant motivation behind many relocated artists’ inspiration for their work. Such is the case of artist Dory Hemingway, whose work showcases our beautiful coastal wildlife perfectly through her paintings and pottery.
From an old lighthouse to the majesty of an egret, Hemingway’s strong pottery forms juxtapose her delicate nature subjects beautifully. “I grew up in Michigan and retired to Caswell Beach, where I live on the marsh and am inspired every day by the view and all the different coastal creatures I see every day,” said Hemingway. “From a pair of owls to egrets to deer to coyotes and foxes, they all come through my backyard. I am retired, and love the creative process, and all my pieces are one of a kind. Every piece I make inspires the next piece. I have a stack of pictures of coastal wildlife that will take at least a year for the ideas they have given me.”
Primarily a painter, everything changed for Hemingway eleven years ago when she decided to take a pottery class. “I discovered clay and pottery when I retired to NC. I have been painting since I was in college but at shows I was always drawn to sculptures and tiles,” she said. “I still paint acrylics, watercolors, batik and glass. One of the windows in my house is a glass painting of a Blue Heron. Clay has become my favorite medium. I got frustrated with all the framing expenses and was always trading a painting for pottery during competitions and art shows. Clay gives me the opportunity to sculpt slab and paint. And no more cat hairs under the glass, “ she said. “Just in the last two years, I have combined the painting with the sculpture and tiles. I learn a little more with each piece.”
Just as many artists before her, Hemingway has always been creative. “I have been creating since I was very young. I will paint on any surface and always enjoy the learning process. I finally settled on watercolors and studied with any instructor local or national whose work I admired. I hope I never stop wanting to learn a new technique or conquer a new idea,” she said.
Hemingway currently uses her painting expertise in her pottery glazing techniques and her results are truly unique and beautiful. Her pieces look like a watercolor painting on her pottery. “I am using underglazes like watercolors not just filling in colors but combining them and using them in layers,” she said. “Trying to think a lot about lights and darks. So even though my subject matter isn’t changing, the way I present it hopefully will,” said Hemingway. “I am a hand builder and I work with the slabs of clay. After I have my flat rectangle of clay, I draw my center of interest and decide on the background and begin building and carving. Once my scene is done and the clay is the right dryness to hold a shape, I make the vessel, clean up the clay and put it to dry. I see a finished creation and can’t wait to get there so I am completely focused on the process to get to the finish.”
Like a storyteller, Hemingway carefully plans out each scene she paints on her pottery. “I am trying to think about a whole scene in my new reliefs a path through a forest instead of a tree. And I am thinking of what’s in front when carving on a vessel. I am now thinking of a scene when I look to create a piece. Not just a tree but a path through a forest, or a heron on the bank of the marsh. It is all that is outside my windows that inspires my pieces or paintings on the clay.”
You can see all of Hemingway’s artwork at the Franklin Square Gallery in Southport. “The Associated Artists of Southport is a wonderful group to which I belong, and a perfect outlet for my work,” she said. “I am looking forward to the Spring Show in March which will open the 2020 season.”