Dottie Walden is an Orgeonian who was transplanted to Hawaii when her husband, Walt, took a civil service position there in 1967. Their house was nine miles from Black Sands Beach. She called it Liquorice Beach. In 26 years they created a botanical garden on their property by planting all kinds of flora. “We were outside daily, weather permitting, working on our two acres. We considered ourselves ‘jungle dwellers’ as the rain forest was nearby.”
“Gardening is my first love,” she says. “I love all the flowers and the plumaria has such a nice fragrance.” When she lived on Oahu all her neighbors were artists and realtors. The artists encouraged her to take lessons from Gloria Foss, founder of the Foss Institute of Fine Arts. She began painting still life flowers in oils. Sometimes they would go on location and paint plein air style scenery and even Diamond Head.
In 1980 Walt retired and they moved to the big island of Hawaii. She joined the Paradise Painters and every Tuesday the group would gather to paint and tell each other how good they were. Again, she painted mostly portraits of flowers.
“Walt used to say, ‘We have it all, snow on the mountain, fire in the valley and sun on the beach.’ We saw many eruptions and long red, lava flows hugging the shore line.”
Dottie learned to do the hula and enjoyed dancing with her group. They were asked to perform at the Officer’s Club but she didn’t perform. “I was shy and chickened out and Walt started calling me Pahoaka Chicken.” (Pahoaka was a Japanese village.) And every weekend we would go to the beach but I didn't know how to swim.” Thus, another name for Dottie became ‘chicken of the sea.’
“When we left Hawaii in 1993 Walt suggested I make a log of all my paintings and what they were about, where they were painted and how much they may have sold for. I had painted over 150 paintings, all in oils.”
Sometime after Dottie and Walt moved to Brookings she joined Pelican Bay Arts Association and attended the Tuesday Painters Group. “I so appreciated Mary McMinn. She was a tremendous help to me with her critiques.”
Dottie has a lovely garden at her home in Brookings and many paintings of flowers hang on her walls. She enjoys Tai Chi and meeting friends at the Senior Center. Often you can enjoy one of the fabulous desserts she brings to the monthly general meetings.