Monday, February 11, 2013

Dawn Rosendahl

In the Orlando Arts Magazine, I learned that there is a resident artist program at the Maitland Arts Center. The work of Dawn Rosendahl was on the cover, so I contacted her to see if I could stop by to learn about her work and do a sketch. Artist and architect J. Andre Smith established the research studio in 1937. The studio acted as a haven for artists of national prominence in the winter months, The tradition continues today with the Artist in Action program.

Dawn's studio door was slightly ajar, so I knocked lightly and went inside. The room was perhaps ten foot square and one wall had large barn doors which would be helpful if you worked large. Robin pointed out that there was a mural painted on the opposite side of the doors, so they were never used. A skylight offered extra illumination. Dawn was working at a folding table where she was surgically altering a book. She used an xacto knife to carve into the book  at times unearthing illustrations and creating stair stepped forms like rice paddies in China. A series of circular cut pages folded back resembled a clam shell. A large pile of fresh books and encyclopedias sat in the corner of the room next to her. She had a one foot diameter cardboard tube that was about four feet high in the opposite corner. She plans to create book totem poles.

Dawn studies art at the American Academy of Art and the Art Institute in Chicago. She worked as a sculptor at Disney World, doing the scale sculpted studies of the swan and dolphin for those respective hotels. She told me a story about a creative who couldn't get approval on a project because an executive kept insisting the color used didn't match a pan tone color swatch. To get the approval, the guy decided to paint over the pan tone swatch. The project was approved.

Artist Robin Pedrero stopped in since she was dropping off a painting. She and Dawn had a discussion about pricing  art work. Robin felt that if a prospective buyer was willing to spend $75 on a painting, then they could just as well afford to pay $200.  I am of the opinion that art work in Orlando is  all to often under priced and under valued. It was nice hanging out in an artists studio and having another artist visit. It made me feel that there is an artist community in Orlando.

Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at

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