Studio Whimzy

View Gallery 9 Photos

by Kristina Domitrovich // photos by Lindsay Pace

Sarah Kathryn Dossett has fought a lot of intuitions in her life.

Since both of her parents were alumni of the University of Mississippi, she basically grew up in the Grove. Her college life started out at a liberal arts school in Memphis, but quickly found its way down to Oxford.

Now she’s lived in Oxford for 21 years.

But Dossett fought against art, too.

“It just wouldn’t go away. I tried to brush it off for a few years,” she said, starting to laugh. “I wanted to be a marine biologist – I’m not smart enough for that.”

She also considered going to business school – she comes from a family full of accountants and tax attorneys, so it seemed like a natural fit.

But art just wouldn’t go away.

“I couldn’t fight it off,” she said.

Dossett had always loved art, from kindergarten all through grade school.

“You try to deny it,” she said, “but you wake up in the morning and that’s what you want to do, then that’s kind of where you’re at. I’m very lucky to get to do what I do.”

Dossett majored in screen printing, and she worked for an Oxford screen printing company for a number of years after graduation. But she never considered herself a painter.

“I still don’t really consider myself a painter, it’s weird,” she said.

Since screen printing is so expensive – with all the large equipment, acid baths, rollers – Dossett took up painting. She found it was a little more cost effective, while still giving her a creative outlet. Now, she has her own painting studio.

Painting began as a part-time career for Dossett. She taught kids’ classes out of her garage in 2010. But then, things began to snowball.

“I basically walked away from that desk (job), not knowing if this was going to work or not,” she said.

In 2012, she opened Studio Whimzy. Her youngest son was 1 year old at the time, and she laughed and said that’s how she keeps track of how long her business has been around.

“My little guy, he just tagged along,” she said. “He just grew up on the floor of the studio, really. That’s how I keep time of how long we’ve been here.”

Studio Whimzy offers all-things kiddos: An eight-week long summer art camp, after-school art classes, birthday parties – the whole shebang. When she’s working with kids, Dossett always starts with the seven elements of art: color, shape, line, texture, form, space and value, with a heavy emphasis on color.

“When you get to watch a little kid figure out how to make purple,” she said, “it’s kind of magic.”

Dossett also leads adult classes in painting. She doesn’t go as in-depth into technique with adults, since it’s usually a one-night class, though she’s still sure to touch on colors.

Dossett loves working with kids, but says working with adults is just as fun. It can be a tricky transition between the two, though, since she has to do a complete 180 on her style of teaching.

“You just talk different, teach different. Being with kids is not social, they don’t care,” she said, and laughed. “They might ask you like, ‘Did you have macaroni last night?’ but they don’t really (get invested).”

Being an Oxford artist, Dossett creates her fair share of art, too. Partly gearing up for the Double Decker Arts Festival – one year, she designed the banner art – and partly creating for the fun of it. She said springtime is usually when she does most of her personal “art-making” and experimenting.

Dossett uses acrylic paint, which she likes to water down so it more closely resembles the lighter, almost dreamlike look of watercolors. She’s experimented with resin pour-overs, which she fought originally.

“I didn’t want to at first, it’s so trendy,” she said. “But gah, what it does to the colors, it’s just out of control and people are so drawn to it.”

And for Dosset, it’s all about colors.

“I’m somewhat obsessed,” she said. “It’s like a color study.”

Her favorite color is green – “green, for all day long, every day!” – specifically phthalo green.

“It’s a really pretty color, a wonderful color. It makes this color,” she said pointing to one of her many paintings on the wall. “It makes all these colors, it makes all of this, of those.”

Most of her paintings, unless Ole Miss themed, incorporate turquoise (made from the phthalo green she uses), and some red.

“That’s my combo,” she said. “I just like red, you can tell that it really resonates with me, color-wise.”

No Comments Yet

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.