An 89-year-old artist from Olympia, Washington has found a niche for her abstract watercolor creations in Waynesboro.
Jean VanDoren has a degree in dental assistance, but has tinkered with art most of her adult life. She has sold her artwork wherever she resided, including Honolulu, Hawaii and Reno, Nevada. It is recognized among art enthusiasts in and around her current hometown of Olympia. The abstract artwork especially appeals to individuals decorating corporate rooms, motels and overnight rentals.
“My art has evolved,” she said. “I have painted in different mediums over the years, but my favorite is what I am doing now, watercolor and mixed media.”
The pandemic, with its isolating effects, put a halt on gallery showings. Essentially, Jean stopped creating and selling her work. On a whim, she decided to try to sell it at the Waynesboro shop, B-n-W Southern Comfort Antiques, of which her son Wade VanDoren is co-owner. Co-owner Bradley Bachman encouraged her to give it a shot.
“Oh, they will never sell,” Bachman recalled her saying. “But you can try.”
The first two paintings sold within two weeks to a local educator who asked for 13 more. Bachman also posted the paintings online which sparked even more interest. Now Jean is creating five works of art a week and shipping them to Waynesboro.
“I think it’s rather amazing,” she said of the sudden interest in her creations.
This is the first time in her life she has sold her artwork outside of a town where she resides, and has never sold it in the South.
“Who would have thought that an 89 year-old lady from Olympia, Washington would find success in a small town in Georgia,” Bachman said smiling.