Artists in residence

Many talents on display at annual community art show

Created date

March 31st, 2020
Dot Dunn smiles here in front of gallery wall of art made by her neighbors at Lantern Hill.

Dot Dunn never painted before moving to Lantern Hill, but through the encouragement of her neighbors, she recently entered several watercolor landscapes in Lantern Hill’s annual resident art show. 

When Dot Dunn moved to Lantern Hill in late fall 2017, she was already experienced in a handful of hand crafts like needlework, temari balls, pine cone wreaths, and pressed flower pictures. But she found a new challenge, which has filled her life with a lot of joy: watercolor landscapes. 

“I was looking for something new to do, and this opened up a whole new door for me,” says Dot, who moved from Chatham. “My mother painted in oils, so when I saw they had an art group here, I wanted to look into it. I went a few times and liked the people in it. They were encouraging.”

The group meets once or twice a week in Lantern Hill’s art room. “The people who have experience help the others who don’t,” Dot says. 

“We have no instructor but work independently on our own projects. We share ideas; make suggestions, relax and socialize with friends,” says Marie Power, one of the other more experienced painters. She, along with Dot and several others, featured their work in the annual community art show in February.

A display to enjoy

“This was my fourth Lantern Hill art show, and I was happy to exhibit my watercolors and pastels. We are fortunate that Lantern Hill has given me and other talented residents the opportunity to display our artwork for the community to enjoy,” says Marie, who received her fine arts degree from Montclair State College but, due to family obligations, wasn’t able to pursue her passion for art until later in life. 

When she finally did have time, she took watercolor classes while living in Maryland for ten years, then moved to Lantern Hill in 2017 from Rockville, Md., by way of a two-year wait in Morristown, N.J., until Lantern Hill’s Maple Glen residence building opened. 

Her time in Morristown was not a waste. It gave her an opportunity to acclimate to the local area. She began taking pastel classes with an instructor at the Morris Museum. 

“Now I work in two mediums. Both are very different. Pastel is dry and more forgiving; watercolor is transparent with spontaneous results,” Marie says. “Whether I paint in class or my apartment, I can immerse myself and concentrate on a painting for a couple of hours, and the time passes without noticing it. Painting gives me pleasure, improves my skills, and it’s a good way to relax.”

At the 2020 resident art show, she exhibited Tea for One, pastel, 2019; Red and Yellow Onions, watercolor, 2009; Holiday Decoration, watercolor, 2019; Substitute Lifeguard, pastel, 2010; Blue Jay, watercolor/gouache, 2019; The Frelinghuysen Arboretum, pastel, 2018; and Old Watering Cans, watercolor, 2010. 

Two of her watercolors were painted in Maryland, two at Lantern Hill, and three at Morris Museum.

Dot featured four watercolors, including Winter Blues, a winter scene, and Sunset, the view from her apartment home’s balcony at Lantern Hill.

Encouraged to do more

While Dot says entering the art show as a novice was “scary” and “intimidating,” after she received positive comments and response, she’s now encouraged to do more. 

“Painting lets you forget about everything else that’s going on in the world and just be,” she says of why she enjoys this new hobby. It’s one of many enjoyable activities that make up her days at Lantern Hill.

“I’m busy all the time. I play games, I do water aerobics, and I try to get a walk in every day,” she says. “I like all the opportunities to keep on doing things with other people. You could be busy all the time if you wanted to be.”

And with freedom from things like yard work or home maintenance, she has time for things she didn’t have time for before. “And it’s fun to do it with other people,” she adds.