● By Style
Photos by Dante Fontana
As a young woman whose husband was in the Air Force, Marjorie Dodrill loved roaming the many European museums and galleries she encountered during her travels.
The Louvre in Paris; Mauritshuis in The Hague, Holland; The Royal Academy of Arts in London – all places where beautiful still lives of flowers inspired her. Dodrill loved how every time she looked at these paintings, she would notice something new. Hawaii, another favorite destination with its seascapes and vibrant petals, is still present in her work today.
Although art spoke to Dodrill ever since she was little, it wasn’t something she pursued professionally until later in life when she was ready to switch her focus from teaching. Not surprisingly, however, Dodrill consistently incorporated art into her lesson plans. “I always enjoyed art but was always in a hurry,” explains Dodrill. “I wanted to get through school and start my career as a teacher first.”
Finally retiring from teaching kindergarten and first grade, Dodrill built her portfolio and presented the work to local galleries; Gold Country Artists’ Gallery jumped at the chance to showcase her paintings. With her signature large-scale flowers, Dodrill works mostly in oils and acrylics – their luscious texture and vibrant color allow her to express what she observes in nature. “I’m always looking for transparency in florals, the play of light and the shadows to make an interesting depth,” Dodrill says. “I like to make it feel 3D, that you could just dip your finger right into the middle of the flower.”
Dodrill has built her studio out of her Pleasant Valley home where she’s lived for more than 25 years, raising two children and four grandchildren. She often finds herself painting on the back porch where she can gaze across the ridge and see views stretching from the Sacramento Valley to the mountains of Napa. “Painting gives me a sense of peace. Once you start a painting, you don’t even know what time it is,” Dodrill shares. “You look at the clock and don’t realize three hours have passed. I get lost in my painting, feel like I’m part of it and that we’ve melded into one.”
Dodrill has since displayed her work in galleries both locally and in places she enjoys traveling to, such as Mendocino. Today you can find her paintings at Pop Art Gallery in Placerville as well as Fire & Rain Gallery in Folsom. Perhaps never fully retiring from her gift of teaching, Dodrill is also active in the El Dorado Arts Council and Placerville Arts Association, encouraging artists young and old to improve their art development. Both organizations also provide avenues for artists to display their work and connect our community to the wonderful artists in the area. This connection is one of Dodrill’s main goals with painting. “I’d like people to get a sense of calm and peacefulness viewing my art – it’s bright, bold and very noticeable,” Dodrill says. “I hope that my artwork just draws them right to the painting and they feel a connection to it.”