Artist Spotlight - Dana Gault

One of the awesome things about EasternShoreAL.com has been the opportunity to connect with some amazing people all across the Eastern Shore. This community loves the arts and we think recognizing great art and artists in our area is an important part of developing a community. We recently had the privilege of catching up with Doll Whiskers' Dana Gault... check out our conversation and learn more about Dana's work...

Q: How did you get your start?

I have always loved to draw, but it took me nearly four decades to figure out this was my God-given talent and maybe I shouldn't waste it.  My husband bought me an easel in 2005, but it intimidated me and it sat unused until 2010.  One day, I dared to do some paintings and posted them on Facebook.  Good gracious, that was like being naked in public!  When a friend asked to buy one, I really felt unworthy, but a second one sold, then a third.  One painting at a time, I gained the confidence to publically show a collection of my work, and in the spring of 2011 I set up a booth at Foley Art in the Park.  That fall, I had a booth at The Grand Festival of Art in downtown Fairhope.  I was hooked.  I remember the first time someone asked me what I did for a living and I got to say, "I'm an artist."  It felt awkward, but good.  Now, it feels like the most natural thing in the world.  I can see how much my work has grown and how much I've learned just by doing.  When I look back at some of my very first paintings I was so proud of then, all I can think is "bless my heart".  Thank goodness for progress.

Q: What is special about the Eastern Shore and how does is come through your art?

My husband and I are both natives of Meridian, Mississippi.  When we moved our family to Mobile and settled on the Eastern Shore, I had no idea what an art-minded community I'd fallen into.   I've been exposed to many different styles of local artwork here on the ES, and they always influence and inspire me.  I study lines of local drawings and paintings and I love that many of them are "perfectly imperfect".  I've learned to be freer with my own work, letting go of the notion that the canvas has to be completely filled in or covered.  Life here is relaxed, and it shows in the artists' craftsmanship.  Over the past three years, I've seen my art become more fluid, which feels great.

Q: Who, if any, are your biggest influences, and what attracts you most to them?

I met and became friends with a lady who had just moved back to Fairhope.  At the time, I'd taken a job teaching preschool and her son was in my class.  She came in every afternoon to pick him up, and was usually wearing rubber boots and these khaki shorts with paint brush strokes all over them.   Maybe only an artist at heart can appreciate something so seemingly trivial, but to me it was more than paint haphazardly wiped and spilled onto her clothes.  I was seeing--remembering--"the process" and how good that felt.  To say it rekindled my creativity is an understatement, because soon afterward I quit that job and picked up my paint brush again.  That lady I crossed paths with was Fairhope native and local artist Lisette Normann.  I admire her on so many levels, personally and professionally.  She graciously gave me her invaluable feedback and encouragement.  It was no coincidence that we met.  It was God's divine intervention preparing me for the next step.

Q: Art seems like a dream not a career to some people, but a lot of times that’s not the case at all. How have you found ways to use your gift and still make strides toward it being a career?

Well, I am living that dream and sometimes even I can't believe it.  Still, I have to work hard to create and maintain that reality.  I work out of a modest studio space in my home, and most of the time it's a disaster, but when the creative bug strikes, everything is right there at my fingertips and I'm able to get right  to work.  I sell my paintings online, but my favorite way to share my work is at local arts and crafts festivals on the Eastern Shore.  I paint every day, selling what I can in the moment, and the rest is stockpiled so that I'm always bringing fresh, new paintings to each festival.   I also love creating custom keepsakes for weddings, anniversaries, births, and graduations.

Q: Ok, most important question of the day:  favorite coffee shop or restaurant on the Eastern Shore...Go!

I am far from a coffee connoisseur.  I love the way coffee smells...it's heavenly, but I've realized that I like the "idea" of having coffee more than the actual cup of coffee. 

That being said, I am still a sucker for Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte every Fall.  Now, if you're talking seafood, I'm all in.  I think there's nothing that tastes better than Gulf shrimp, and YES, there's a difference.  Take me to Original Oyster House or Felix's (jalapeno hushpuppies!) on the Causeway anytime.

Q: Where can we find your work and more info about you?

I opened an online shop at www.Etsy.com/shop/dollwhiskers and you can purchase directly with PayPal, Etsy gift cards, and all major credit cards.  I also post all my new paintings on my Facebook page, DOLL WHISKERS by DPG.  But best of all, come see my work in person at The Grand Festival of Art in downtown Fairhope, AL this October!  It's my favorite festival each year when the streets are lined with white tents and beautiful unique artwork that Fairhope and the Eastern Shore is famous for!

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