Name: Dawn Newbern, artist, small business owner
Family: Chris, husband, furniture restorer, Will, adult son, works with us in our upholstery business Eli, son, Glynn Middle School, eighth grade
Occupation: Artist, small business owner Ladeedahart.com, Seafoam Studio, Overall Upholstery
Years in the Golden Isles: Three
School: Graduated from Columbus State University, dental hygienist
Tell us how you discovered your passion for art: As a child I loved to draw and paint, but it wasn’t until I was in my late twenties that I really began to develop my art skills. I had been working as a dental assistant and then a dental hygienist since I was a teenager. After our first child, Will, was born, Chris and I decided to move from Columbus, Ga., to the small town of Nashville, Ga. We made that move while in our twenties so that we could reduce our cost of living. This allowed me to be a stay-at-home mom with our new baby while Chris worked. It was during that time that I really began to get serious about being an artist, and I soon discovered that I could still help with our living expenses when people began to want to buy the things I painted. I began painting on glassware and sold to local gift stores all around the South Georgia area. I feel that I’ve been truly blessed to get to do what I have done over the last 20 or so years
What has been your favorite project that you have painted? I’ve been painting for over 20 years, and I would say that some of my most favorite work has been painting murals in businesses and in peoples’ homes. There were a few years when murals were very popular, and I was commissioned with hundreds of projects throughout South Georgia. Among them, my favorites were the opportunities I had to paint whimsical scenes in baby nurseries and pediatric offices. Seeing the faces of children light up when they walk into a room that resemble the pages of a storybook has been a real thrill for me. I once painted a little boy’s room in a style that made it look and feel like the inside of a pirate ship. That project was a lot of fun! But I am just as delighted now to paint large pieces on canvas, especially florals. It is very satisfying to hear from my clients when they have purchased a piece of my art and then tell me how much they enjoy having it hanging on the wall in their home or office.
Where do you get your inspiration for painting? I am truly inspired by the colors I see while in the outdoors. When I see the hues of blue, pink, and purple in the sky it inspires me to paint. A lot of people tell me that my color palette makes them feel happy. I think that the colors of creation are what really motivate me to paint a piece of art.
A local you admire: A local person who I truly is admire is David Bacon. David is an associate at the Winn Dixie here on Saint Simons. His smile is contagious and he seems to always be happy. He doesn’t forget a person, and his ability to remember so many of our names is astounding. Sometime last year I shared a post about my admiration of David on a local Facebook page and the response to that post was astounding. He has this extraordinary ability to make each person feel like they really are his friend. It’s like he has known you for years although he has only met you perhaps once before. Everywhere I have lived there are always a few special people who have made living there a delight and David is one of those persons here. No matter how hot or cold or wet or dry the weather may be, you never find David complaining if he is in the parking lot gathering up shopping carts. He loves his job and he loves people. I often get tickled when he tells me how much he loves to work and loathes it when he has a day off.
What is one thing that every visitor must do before leaving the Golden Isles? Of course, every visitor should be sure to enjoy all of the great shopping and restaurants here, but beyond all of those fabulous choices I would say that everyone visiting here should be sure to take the time to simply enjoy the beautiful scenery that the Golden Isles affords. One of my favorite places to spend a few minutes of my time is at Driftwood Beach on Jekyll. I don’t know if there is anything quite like it anywhere in the world. Just to simply sit there for a while and watch the ebb and flow of the tide or the waves crashing in the distance is a true respite for the soul. The handiwork of the Creator is often very breathtaking on and around these islands.
Describe your perfect Saturday: A perfect Saturday for me would be to spend it with my family riding bicycles on Saint Simons Island or Jekyll Island or just relaxing on the beach. This is why Chris and I chose to move here three years ago. We work hard and wanted to live somewhere that allowed us to enjoy our weekends without having to travel far. On a Saturday or Sunday morning we can sleep in a little later, and then within a few minutes we are able to be on the beach or a bike path or simply relaxing in the park at the Village on Saint Simons. Also, Chris is an avid fisherman, so if he and Eli are on a fishing excursion I love to take that time to paint. Our upholstery studio keeps me very busy during the week, so the opportunity to paint on the weekends is always welcomed.