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Ellsworth painter features work

Julie buntjer/Daily Globe Dorothy Hocking is the featured artist this month at the Carnegie Cultural Center in Luverne. Hocking is shown here with two of her oil paintings.

LUVERNE -- When Dorothy Hocking was a little girl in grade school in South Dakota, she loved her Fridays. It wasn't because it was the last day of school before the weekend, but because it was the day her teacher set aside for art. For one hour each Friday, students were to illustrate a scene from one of the books they had read that week.

"The other kids just moaned and I loved it," Hocking recalled.

Though not quite sure just when she discovered her fondness for drawing and painting, Hocking said her mother was "kind of an artist" and enjoyed drawing in her spare time.

It wasn't until Hocking attended high school in Humboldt, S.D., that she received more formal training in art. Since then, she has taken an array of art classes and collected a number of art books to help hone her skills.

"I always was fascinated in (art)," she said.

Now living in Ellsworth, Hocking will display her artwork at the Carnegie Cultural Center in Luverne through the month of October. An artist reception in her honor is planned from 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday, in conjunction with the grand reopening of the Carnegie.

Hocking's display features mainly watercolor and oil paintings, though she also has dabbled in pencil and ink marker drawings. She is skilled in both nature scenes and portraiture.

"I like to do snow, winter, summer and autumn -- the seasons are fun to do," said the 80-year-old Hocking as she walked through the gallery Wednesday morning inside the Carnegie.

Hocking likes to take a lot of photographs, which she uses occasionally in her painting.

"You can work from several photographs for one painting," she said.

One of her paintings done of Cathedral Rock in Sedona, Ariz., was modeled after a single photograph.

"I've been there four or five different times but I've never found that scene," Hocking explained.

As she moved from piece to piece, Hocking shared details about her inspiration.

"This is probably the first watercolor I ever did," she said of a painting she named Two Roses. "I can't sell it -- it's in my heart."

Others -- the portraits -- were crafted for a couple of her grandchildren, her son and daughter-in-law, and a little girl who is a friend of the family. A commissioned piece titled "EvaLu," is also in the display, and the model will be among those in attendance at Sunday's reception.

When she came to a painting she calls "God's House," Hocking talked about her Christian life.

"I thank the Lord every day for the gift he gave me," she said. "One is never bored when you can do artwork."

Several of the pieces in the collection aren't for sale -- they've been painted as gifts or have special meaning for the artist.

Hocking continues to do pieces on commission, from painting someone's portrait to recreating on canvas an image of a family's farm or home.

"I like oils for portraits," she said. "The nice thing about that is if you don't like what you have, you can paint over it. And, you put light on an oil and it just glows."

Watercolor offers more of a challenge in that it's difficult to make changes.

One of Hocking's watercolors -- an image of a South Dakota barn in winter -- was chosen for the cover of the South Dakota Magazine's Jan./Feb. 1999 issue. The same painting will be featured in South Dakota Magazine's 2011 calendar.

Julie Buntjer

Julie Buntjer joined the Globe newsroom in December 2003, after working more than nine years for weekly newspapers. A native of Worthington, she has a bachelor's degree in agriculture journalism. Find more of her stories of farm life, family and various other tidbits at

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