I’m published!!

Article written about me by Carefree Resorts where I volunteer as an  Art Instructor.

If a Picture Says a Thousand Words…


You could skip this story and go straight to Kathy Dolan’s website at kathydolan.com and look at her pictures. We promise you’ll enjoy the experience.

But to gain a richer understanding of what this extraordinarily talented artist does, how she’s evolved and how she goes about creating the work that has moved so many and won her a host of honors, we recommend you read on.

Kathy and her husband, Paul, first came to Sun-N-Fun a decade ago looking for a place where they could escape the harsh winters of their native Ontario. Avid swimmers, they wanted a place with a pool where they could do laps. A Google search turned up Sun-N-Fun and they drove down in February of ’04 to spend a month. Completely taken with the Resort and the people that welcomed them every morning at Woodland Hall’s morning coffee hour, they returned the next year and the next, finally purchasing a Park Model vacation home in 2008 where they now spend six months of the year.

In summer they return to Ontario where they love to spend time outdoors around Lake Espanola, fishing, hunting and, for Kathy, embracing the opportunity to take photographs of the natural world that is the subject of so much of her work.

She comes by her love of painting naturally. Her father had a watercolor set; her mother sketched in pencil and so she began as a child. In high school she learned to work in oils, broadening her technical skills. But she married, had a son, Jeff, worked and got away from her passion for a time.

Then, in the early 90’s, she started doing Tole painting, a form of folk art that involved tracing an image from a photo onto a piece of wood and using fluid acrylic paints. This led to a watercolor class in 1999 at a local college.

“It changed everything for me,” she says. “ I didn’t see the work I was doing as a craft, I saw it as a way to express myself and the way I saw the world.”

Whitefish Falls, the community in which she and Paul lived, had an annual juried art show. Her goal was to just get accepted; the idea of winning seemed as “remote as the moon.”

The moon was closer than she knew; she was accepted her first year. Even more exciting was the affirmation she received when someone bought one of her pieces. It drove her commitment and she started taking workshops in a variety of mediums to explore her interest in pastels, colored pencils, graphite and photography, which had always been a reference point for her work. There was no looking back.

“As an artist, one goal was to earn a signature status – an honor bestowed in Canada – that demonstrates to galleries and art aficionados a level of consistent excellence in a particular medium,” Kathy explains of the alphabet soup that follows her name.

To date, she’s earned Pastel Artist Canada (PAC) and with acceptance into one more juried show will have achieved Master Pastel Artist Canada (MPAC) designation. A pastel, Moose Lake, done from a photo taken during a fishing trip, has won her honors.

Kathy is also an elected member of the Society of Canadian Artists (SCA) an honor received when a paneled jury feels that one’s resume and portfolio are deserving of the honor. She’s also working towards Pencil Art Society (PAS) in both graphite and colored pencils and is well on her way to being accepted into the Northern Ontario Art Association, which will allow her to also use NOAA after her name. This August, her work is being recognized with a solo show in Ontario.

But in conversation with Kathy, it’s quickly apparent that the real joy for her, the passion she feels for her work and the chance to interpret the world she sees far outweigh any honors. So it is with any artist and Kathy certainly has the heart and soul of one.

Happily for us, it’s something Kathy shares with us at Sun-N-Fun where she volunteers, teaching a class once a week.

“It’s a mish-mash of what I know,” she says of her class of about 20 men and women. “I get so excited about what they’re doing. Honestly, I didn’t expect to enjoy it as much as I do but I feel very motherly towards them and the work they’re doing. It’s very gratifying.”

So are the rest of Kathy and Paul’s Carefree days at the resort. They’re at the Indoor Fitness Pool and Wellness Center just about every other day, using the elliptical and doing weight training.

“We’d like to go more often but there’s just so many activities here. Paul walks Buddy, our poodle, taking time to stop and talk to all the other dog walkers, feed the squirrels’ peanuts and the birds some seed.

“Every Tuesday we host a cocktail party. I make munchies and everyone brings their favorite libation. Once a month we have a potluck dinner.”

They don’t get out of the bubble much, Kathy tells us, there’s just too much to do at the Resort. When she does, she particularly likes Caspersen Beach near Venice because it’s a great place to take pictures she can turn into art.

The fact is, wherever she is, she’s never very far from her art. When she’s not taking pictures she’ll turn into paintings, she’s thinking about painting. Of course, we couldn’t be happier about that and the beauty she brings to all our lives.


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