Great grandmother has passion for pencils

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By Deborah Lucas Angel

Dottie Rix said she is the Grandma Moses of Grant County.

That’s how she describes her artwork. With dancing eyes and a vivacity about her that belies the patience necessary to paint, Rix says she has been drawing since she was in school.

The Pocono, Pa. native has lived and drawn in Grant County for 20 years. Her latest exhibit was featured in July at the Grant County Tourism Center.

Pencil portraits, colored pencil drawings and oil paintings comprise her work. However, she prefers pencil because it “is faster than paint,” she can do “two people in two to three days.”

The great grandmother has always loved to draw. Mainly buildings and houses, she depicts old buildings in Crittenden, such as the Welfare House and the Crittenden High School. Many of the buildings are gone now, torn down or burned, however they live on in her artwork.

Rix feels her crowning glory is the “Freedom From Fear” color painting she did after the 9/11 attacks. The painting is of a small girl curled up asleep under a flag-decorated blanket. Over her head is an eagle.

Rix said she started the piece about a year after the attacks and it took four years to finish. In order to bring detail to the work, she used a big stuffed dog under a blanket to get the “folds just right, to see how they would lay.”

She has prints of the painting for sale, however, she eventually plans to donate the original painting to the “Children’s Sunshine Home in Louisville, which is “a faith-based non-profit agency that cares for children and youth who have fallen victim to abuse or neglect.”

Rix does give a lot of her artwork away, to the upset of one of her two daughters. She said she enjoys gifting with her artwork. Recently, she gave a portrait of “a marine, back from two tours in Iraq.” The gift brought tears to the marine’s mother, but a big smile to Rix.

Rix came to Grant County with her late husband who worked as a salesman in the print industry. His job took them from Pennsylvania to California for 25 years and then to Grant County.

In most of her homes, she would scout out a studio room with plenty of light. However, here she has no special room, she simply draws and paints in the dining room.

When anyone visits, she clears everything off the table and visits.