By AILA BOYD
aboyd@ourvalley.org

Local artist Vera Dickerson is on a roll – she is being featured in not one, but two, major watercolor art magazines.

“Political Fission, “Midnight Visitor” and “Autumn Breezing” are the names of Dickerson’s paintings that appear in the December 2018-February 2019 edition of  “The Art of Watercolour,” a French publication.

Dickerson, who largely concentrates on the abstract, explained that she often feels like the token abstract artist.

“Because most arts magazines have to have good sales, they tend to have more realistic work in them,” Dickerson said.

She first found out that “The Art of Watercolour” wanted to feature her in its current edition when one of the editors contacted her back in October and asked if she would be willing to do a step-by-step process for an abstract painting.

In the magazine, Dickerson walks readers through a three-step process. The end result is “Autumn Breezing,” a work that depicts “wind blown shapes from autumn’s colour into winter’s pale, bleached atmosphere.”

In order to complete the painting, she said that she got up early five mornings in a row and took photos documenting it as she progressed.

One of the reasons why she’s so excited about being featured in the magazine is because it features artist from all around the world. She added that it’s nice to see what artists from other parts of the world are working on.

She was previously published in the 21st edition of the magazine. The edition will be available at Barnes & Noble in the near future.

“My Lovely Parrot Head” is the name of Dickerson’s painting that was selected to be featured in the “21 Best Watermedia Paintings of the Year” in U.S.-based magazine “Watercolor Artist.”

The painting was previously awarded best in show by the Virginia Watercolor Society, an organization she previously served as president of.

Like most of Dickerson’s paintings, “My Lovely Parrot Head” is a portrait, but not in the traditional sense. Her paintings of people aren’t simply straightforward depictions of how a person looks, but rather modified reflections of an individual’s aura. She said that she prefers to paint people, but will occasionally use her brushes to capture scenery that strikes her as being particularly beautiful.

Dickerson completed the painting two years back after being inspired by a young woman who walked into one of her classes at the Studio School, an art school that she founded along with two other artists in Roanoke.

The young woman was wearing red, a color that Dickerson loves. As for the idea to place parrots on the woman’s shoulders, Dickerson said that it just came to her.

“I thought she needed company and parrots seemed to work,” she said.

Dickerson said that one of her friends describes the title of a painting as being “the last stroke,” to which she agrees.

“It gives the viewer a sense of direction especially if it’s an abstract work,” she said of titles.

Despite the fact that she’s being featured in two watercolor magazines, Dickerson noted that she also enjoys using acrylic paints as well.

“Acrylic lets me change my mind more easily. I can layer one layer over another or get some rubbing alcohol and lift a little section out,” Dickerson said. “I like being able to look at something and say, ‘I don’t think that’s exactly what I meant,’ then be able to change it.”

Dickerson explained that her decision to go into art was an easy one to make because her mother was an art teacher in Dublin, Va. “It’s something that makes me happy,” she said of her art. “It’s something I really enjoy.”

Her decision to teach others how to paint quickly followed. She explained that she initially got into teaching because it was a way to make money.

“My mother convinced me that I should just keep going to college through my master’s degree so I wouldn’t necessarily have to have the education classes, but I would be qualified to teach, so I did,” Dickerson said.

Following her academic studies at Radford University and American University, Dickerson accepted a teaching position at Keuka College in New York.

She’s currently at work on a painting of two children on floats, inspired by a scene she saw over the summer during a trip to Oregon.

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