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Artist tells stories of life through paintings

Well-known area artist Dorothy Slikker has another addition to her portfolio of artwork, a book featuring her paintings.

Slikker put aside her brush and palette for short time to write her first book, “My Art Walk to the Contemporary Masters.” It includes 133 of her paintings along with brief descriptions of each, beginning with one of her first, “Pier in the Fog” painted while taking lessons in 1976 in California.

Slikker described it as “one of the most awful paintings that has ever been done,” but that didn’t stop from her from pursuing her love of painting.

As she wrote in her book, “I just kept going forward with more effort.”

Many of her paintings include nature scenes, animals, people, family members and events since family is very important to her.

The last painting in the book, “Another Day at the Office” includes her son, who is a crop duster, her grandson and great-grandson with Slikker’s commentary, “When you are a crop duster, your office is always out in the greater outdoors. Teaching the young, it’s never too early for them to learn new and better things.”

Slikker’s paintings are categorized as contemporary, which she describes as telling a story. You can look at it and know what it is, it shows brush strokes and it’s not perfect, like in a photograph.

Her perseverance and talent have led to her being recognized as a contemporary master artist as endorsed on the back of the book by art curator Despina Tunberg of World Wide Art Books based in Santa Barbara, California.

“For us, Dorothy is eminently entitled to a prominent place in any publication or website with the name ‘masters’ because she truly is a master painter.”

Her husband, Thomas Tunberg, is the chief editor and marketing director for the publishing house, which features the work of contemporary artists worldwide in their books.

“Our books are juried, so I mean not just anybody can get in,” Thomas Tunberg said. “There is a selection process; we approve the artists and also we select the works.”

Four of Slikker’s paintings were selected to appear in “International Contemporary Masters” (Volume 10) published by World Wide Art Books. As a result, eight of Slikker’s paintings are on display at the International Masters Exhibition 2016 through April 16 in the Southern Nevada Museum of Fine Art, located at 450 Fremont St. Suite 270, in Las Vegas.

Slikker’s works have also been included in Art Tour International Magazine in its Top 60 Masters of Contemporary Art.

Earning the title of “Master Artist” in multiple publications was the incentive for Slikker to write her book.

She said the publication is her “brag book to the masters” written in a conversational format. Slikker says there are intentional short sentences, but it’s meant to give the reader and viewer of her paintings a sense of who she is. She describes herself as a “first generation California-born Okie,” referencing a Buck Owens song and her own family roots in Oklahoma with its own culture, values and accent.

Slikker won her first art award in eighth grade in Shafter, California, near Bakersfield, with her water color of a tree dropping leaves.

“I took first place in this art contest,” Slikker said. “I got the bug for being an artist.

She wanted to take art courses in high school, but her stepfather directed her to subjects leading to a college degree in business, telling her that one couldn’t make a living as an artist.

When she and her husband, John, retired in Pahrump about 16 years ago, Slikker became connected to the art community here and in Las Vegas while continuing to “master” her works.

Local artist and good friend Doris Smith got Slikker involved in the annual Creative Painting Convention in Las Vegas where she met her mentor, artist Robert Warren from Canal Winchester, Ohio.

She studied under him, becoming one of his certified instructors, learning his soft orange and black study technique to set the darks and lights giving dimension to a painting as described in the book and seen in many of her works.

Slikker continues to teach art students in her home-based studio.

“I kind of hate seeing people just sit around and be couch potatoes, because they keep saying I can’t, I can’t, when I know you can, you can,” Slikker said. “All you have to do is have the desire, if you have the desire to learn something, I can teach it to you.”

Slikker will be hosting a book signing and cheese/wine tasting event at Sanders Winery on Sunday, April 3 from 1 to 4 p.m. at 3780 E. Kellogg Road. The first 10 buyers of a book will get a bottle of wine.

Her book can also be purchased at Barnes &Noble, Amazon.com, Liferichpublishng.com, her website: www.slikkersfineart.com, or at the Tonopah and Tidewater Railroad Museum in Death Valley Junction. The book is available in hard cover for $43.99 or soft cover for $30.99. Any buyers from Slikker’s website will receive one of her prints of their choice.

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