Cock-a-doodle-dooing with Rose Dobbins

Those in attendance at Friday’s Art Guild painting class  came from varying levels of expertise and mediums. Here, an oil painter works at shaping her rooster's tail feathers. C. Moore photo
Those in attendance at Friday’s Art Guild painting class came from varying levels of expertise and mediums. Here, an oil painter works at shaping her rooster’s tail feathers. C. Moore photo

Cailey Moore
Staff Writer

Roosters of every shape and size filled the Pocahontas County Art Guild room as members and non-members alike gathered to learn from Tamarack veteran Rose Dobbins.
Wielding a brush and a Jane Slivka technique–which had those in attendance beginning their painting with a black silhouette of their rooster–Dobbins led the group through a three-and-a-half hour class that transformed their dark rooster silhouettes into colorful birds against a vibrant background.
Near the end of the class, Dobbins and her students gathered near the front of the room for a critique. Each artist outlined what they liked and did not like about the painting, while Dobbins offered constructive criticism and suggestions as to how the paintings might be improved.
A drawing for Dobbins’ rooster painting was also held at the end of the class, and Stella Jarrett was the winner.
A California-native, Dobbins and her husband moved to West Virginia in 2006 after spending 30 years in Texas. It was only after their move that Dobbins was able to return to doing what she loved.
“I’ve always had an interest in art,” Dobbins said, “and when I was a little girl, my parents made me sit down and draw because they knew I had a talent for capturing what I saw. But it wasn’t until I retired from my job [at a petrochemical company] of ten years and moved to West Virginia that I really got back into my art.”
Since retiring, Dobbins has become a member of the Greenbrier Artists in Lewisburg, as well as a signature member of the West Virginia Watercolor Society. She works primarily in pastels and oils, focusing on portraitures of people and pets. In the recent years, Dobbins has also began dabbling in landscapes.
When asked about her inspirations and muses, Dobbins named two things: her love of art, and a friend-turned-instructor.
“I love pastel,” Dobbins said, “and I had a good friend that was an instructor in pastel. She got me started, and because of my ability to draw, people were encouraging me to jury into Tamarack. I had to find my niche, [and I found that] my niche was drawing animals. I got juried in with my dog portrait notecards. Then I started getting requests for commission. I guess it’s just my love of pets and my ability to capture the spirit of the dog.”
Other than what she learned during various workshops, Dobbins is a self-taught artist. A reception and showcase of her work will take place July 23 at the Carnegie auditorium in Lewisburg. A time has yet to be announced.
Made up of a group of locals, the Pocahontas County Art Guild membership is not limited to just skilled artists.
“[We have] folks of all ability levels here,” Cyla Allison said. “A lot are beginners. [There are] people [who] come back to it after twenty years, and people [come] who are really, really good.”
In addition to the varying artistic abilities, Allison also alluded to the flexibility of the Guild.
“Some are here in the summer, and some are here in the winter,” Allison said. “Some come for two weeks and leave for one, and some come for one week and leave for two. I never know who exactly is going to show up, but we all try to help each other and be supportive.”
The guild teaches its members at no cost, but on  occasions when an expert in a particular medium is brought in to teach a class, there is a small charge for tuition.
“We try to run one-to-three programs a year and bring in an outsider like this [Dobbins] who really knows her stuff,” Allison said. “Other than that, we help each other. Paula is a wonderful oils person. We have Rose who does acrylics and oils. I do watercolor – that’s my strength. And if you want a potter–if you want to learn how to throw pots–we have two pottery wheels.”
As far as supplies go, who provides what varies.
Brushes, paints and solvents are purchased by the guild via membership fees, but the items that the artists take home, such as canvas, clay and paper, need to be purchased by the artist.

“We all take care of it and make sure it works,” Allison said, “We just ask that you buy the stuff you’re going to take home.”

A membership to the Pocahontas County Art Guild costs $25 a year. For guild members, classes cost $15, while for non-members the cost is $22.

For additional information, contact Cyla Allison at Cyla@wannabefarm.com or stop by the guild room on the ground floor of the Board of Education building on Fifth Avenue in Marlinton. The guild room is open every Friday from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.

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