Carol Kelly Dorn was surprised and a little embarrassed as the Dorn name was called for five of the 10 awards given at the New Horizons Art Festival last weekend at Savannah Rapids Pavilion.
Photo by Jim Blaylock
Artist Carol Kelly Dorn's painting "Facing Forward" received the Honorable Mention and Georgia Power Peoples Choice award at the New Horizons Art Festival. Her sons also took home honors.
Artistic ability must run in the family.
Dorn took home three awards and her sons, Nate, 28, and Travis, 23, won an award each including Overall Best of Show.
"It was a fluke," Dorn said. "It will never happen that way again, but boy, was it fun. It was really amazing."
Dorn won The Columbia County News-Times Best in Show award for her watercolor painting "Freedom's Future," which depicted a young boy holding a picture of his father in front of the rubble of the Twin Towers. The 50-by-54-inch oil painting "Facing Forward" was awarded Honorable Mention and the Georgia Power People's Choice award.
Dorn has two daughters as well - though they are as artistically inclined as her two sons, who actually showed their creativity late, she said. "Facing Forward" is actually a wedding portrait of her daughter Rachel, 25, from her recent Hilton Head wedding.
"That is where I feel like my whole family comes in," she said. "This year's People's Choice and last year's People's Choice were both oil paintings of my daughters. So, that is how they squeezed in."
As a local artist, Dorn paints her own works and commissioned works, which tend to be a lot of portraits, and has been teaching watercolor, drawing and portrait drawing classes out of her Evans home for 14 years.
"I have settled in to becoming known as a portrait painter," Dorn said. "I used to fight that when I was first getting a reputation. I said I did not like to be known as a portrait painter because I like to paint a lot of other things, too. But there is nothing wrong with that. It is a very specialized type of art. Being a portrait painter means you have to be very skilled in art to be able to do that. So, that is not something bad."
In the beginning, she was a little scared about teaching, she said, and even had her three oldest children sit in her first class to make it look bigger, she said.
"They did not appreciate that much, but I guess they learned something - I hope so," Dorn said. "I used to wonder, out of four kids, you would have thought one of them would be interested in art. I am pleased and surprised (two of them art interested in art). They really do not draw much, but they seem to have a real eye for composition and seeing things others people don not see."
Travis is attending Georgia State University in Atlanta studying to filmmaking in hopes of being a director. But his photograph "A Subtle Form of Chaos" earned him the Columbia County New Horizons Overall Best in Show. The festival is only the second entry in a show or competition for both Nate and Travis.
Before the festival, Travis asked his mother about his chances to win, which were four for his three photographs.
"'Do not expect to win Best of Show because I have never seen a photograph win Best of Show,"' Dorn told her youngest son. "And, doggone it, he won. That was just a shock. It was almost like wait a minute, he has not paid his dues yet. Here he comes and enters this competition with all these seasoned professional artists and he comes up and wins. It was fun. Like I teach my art students, there are exceptions to every rule."
Travis, who tends to have a whimsical and sometimes bizarre feeling to his photos, showed no interest in art until college, Dorn said. Nate, on the other hand, has always been creative writing poetry and making videos, she said.
Nate was awarded the Grassroots Arts Program Best in Show award for photography for "Gabriel's Search," where he dressed up as an angel in rubble for his own photo. The photo was taken before Sept. 11, but has a very comforting feeling after the attacks. Many of Nate's works have a spiritual element to them, Dorn said.
Already armed with a massage therapy degree, Nate decided to finish the college he began years ago at Georgia State as well. He is studying photography with only a semester left.
"It is encouraging, like I am going in the right direction," Nate said about the award.
He attributes his minds full of ideas to his mother's artistic influence growing up.
"I have never had a loss for not knowing what to do," Nate said. "If somebody asks me to something, my mind just floods with all these crazy ideas that I could try. That is my Mom always being artistic with us, doing arts and crafts growing up and having crazy games to do."
Dorn is not the only artistic influence in the family. her husband, Michael, does not draw or paint, but plays the guitar and has a beautiful voice. He calls himself the encourager, who encourages the rest of the family, Dorn said.
Both Dorn boys were unable to make the awards ceremony due to school and work in Atlanta. Their youngest sister, Karis, 21, accepted their awards.
"After they realized they had won, they both wished they had tried harder," Dorn said.
The Columbia County News-Times ©2013. All Rights Reserved.