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Out of the attic: Artist Carol Dunkley joins Rail Walk Studios and Gallery

By Susan Shinn
sshinn@salisburypost.com
It wasn’t as if Carol Dunkley didn’t love painting in her attic studio.
But, truth be told, there was not a lot of traffic through there.
So, to give her more exposure ó and allow her to see some friendly faces ó Carol has become the seventh and final artist at Rail Walk Studios and Gallery, 409 N. Lee St.
“I’m so excited to be here,” says Carol, 68. “I’m trying to be neater than I was in the attic, as you can see.”
Besides her easel, Carol has brought along her granddaddy’s rocker, a large Oriental rug, and other furnishings from her home.
She and Sharon, who’s next door to her booth, are having a wall put up to give them more space to hang paintings.
But she’s already got a lot of art in place.
Carol’s forte is her colorful roosters. You’ll find these paintings done in reds, blacks, whites and golds.
“I’m branching out from my roosters,” she says. “That’s what sells for me, but I’m branching out ó so we’ll see.”
Also a photographer, Carol is displaying a handful of prints on another wall ó a tree, a couple of wine glasses, a stack of old shoes, a shot of husband J.R. with a grandchild.
She’ll likely be taking more photographs soon.
“For my anniversary, I have a new camera,” says Carol, who just celebrated number 46 with J.R. “None of my work is enhanced, so I want to learn more so I can enter competitions.”
J.R. is one of Carol’s biggest fans, and encouraged her to come to Rail Walk.
“He said, ‘I think you will enjoy being with other people,’ ” Carol says. “He’s been great about helping me get moved in and fixed up.”
Now that she’s settled in she’ll continue to take art classes.
“I’m taking all the classes I can get into my schedule,” she says. “Art people are wonderful about sharing information and tricks.”
Carol goes to Lexington each Wednesday to study with Katherine Skipper.
A current work-in-progress shows yet another rooster on a thick background made from joint compound. The technique, she explains, creates depth. She uses the end of her paintbrush to create shapes, then lays on the paint.
Carol works mainly in acrylic and water-based oil.
“I love acrylic,” she says, “because I’m an impatient painter.”
Carol was already friends with Annette, Marietta and Patt.
“They made it sound real exciting and good,” she says of Rail Walk. “In the attic, I wasn’t getting a lot of exposure. I can paint with other artists and share community. There are many, many good artists here. I hope I can raise my bar.”
Carol, a member of Carolina Artists and Mooresville Artist Guild, has written an artist’s statement in which she talks about being color blind ó quite a challenge for her, obviously.
She concludes her statement: “The happiest hours of each day are spent in my studio with a brush in my hand and paint on my shirt.”As she’s said, Carol wants to diversify her portfolio.
She done still lifes and is learning how to paint fruit. She’s done landscapes based on photographs she took on a trip to Provence, France.
Her favorite piece is a still life called “Sitting Still.”
“I’d never tried to draw water before and I’m not a flower person, but I do just love it,” Carol says.

To learn more about Carol Dunkley’s artwork, call her at 704-636-0633.

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