Dawn Gaye Duff has experimented with everything from watercolors to collage, sculpture to wearable art. Her versatility is on display in "Faces," her new exhibit at the Society of Bluffton Artists gallery.
Duff moved to Bluffton with her family about 15 years ago from New Jersey. Despite a neuromuscular issues that at times makes it difficult to even grip a paintbrush, Duff has established herself as an artist and teacher locally.
Duff, who now lives with her musician husband J. Howard in the Okatie area, explains her latest venture.
Question. Why faces?
Answer. I've always liked painting faces. But I haven't really done a lot of it. I started to think it could be a great theme because it's so open. How many faces are there?
Q. What materials are you using?
A. Almost every single piece is mixed media. What I want to do is write a little guide about what each piece is made from, whether it's clay, plaster, colored pencil and pastel. I enjoy experimenting with different mediums. I have this one technique where I use old sheets and T-shirts. There's a medium, like resin that you can coat it in. After it's all dry you can leave it out side, it can get rained on.
Q. How long have you been an artist?
A. I was always artsy. But I had another life before I came here. I was in insurance for 20 years. I got sick (from a spinal cord injury that caused her neuromuscular issues). As part of my therapy I started working with clay, which was good for my hands. It really inspired me. Clay wasn't enough. I wanted to learn everything about every medium. I mostly taught myself. At times work is slow because of my issues, but I work all the time. Most of the time I've been here I've also been teaching at different schools, art organizations.
Q. Do you know what you're going to get into next?
A. I see something and try to figure out how it was done. I'd like to get into caustic art more, working with wax. I love the way you can trap objects under the wax. That's another great use of found objects. I like to combine everything. After this I'll probably go back to my usual looking for different things to repurpose or paint.
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