By Melissa Walsh Photos Gary Sissons
A revolutionary painting technique from the mid-1880’s called stippling has provided a new lease of life to local artist, Donna Taylor, proving old techniques can be used by modern creatives. Her business, ‘Dots by Donna’, is a testament to Donna’s love for drawing dots which she has turned into works of art and created a lucrative business in the heart of Mornington.
“It was five years ago and I was a new mum with a little girl. I was working long hours in retail and missing out on spending time with my daughter. One day my husband said I should quit my job and do something less time-consuming, so I did,” said Donna from her shop in Mornington. “I was a bit lost so I pulled out a notebook and started drawing as a way of venting. My husband saw it and loved the drawing then put it up on social media which I was not impressed with. Nevertheless, I decided to finish it and people asked me to start doing drawings for them.”
From that fateful day, five years ago, Donna’s small hobby has turned into a sought after product with people falling in love with the magic ‘Dots by Donna’ pictures.
“I started getting requests for children’s pictures which I did a few of, and then decided my real love was to draw what I felt inspired by, so I set about drawing constantly,” she said. “Within 12 months, we were doing market stalls and the rest is history. Now we have our purpose-built shop in Mornington, still do market stalls and have turned it into a great family business, which even my husband and mum work in now.”
The original drawing of the Indian Chief is still as popular today as five years ago when Donna scribbled it on a notebook.
“I have stuck to drawing the things that I love and have lots of animals, which are all named after family members,” said Donna, who admits drawing always came easily to her.
“When we started out, mum and I would spend hours framing all the prints on the dining room table, but we didn’t mind because we were doing something we loved. Before I knew it, the first market which we did at Mornington Racecourse, turned into another market and soon we had friends and family doing markets of their own for us.”
Doing the stippling is a long and laborious process and each piece can take from 40 to 200 hours to complete.
“My illustrations are original and come with a life of their own, and you definitely need a steady hand to do them,” said Donna who must also be incredibly patient. “It is all about these thousands of dots forming unique works of art, ranging from animals to dream catchers, Indian chiefs and headdresses, as well as the highly coveted African Goddess print.”
Every single detail from small features to hair strands and single expressions are made up from the layering of thousands of dots and done so completely free hand.
“Nothing is traced and the artistic integrity is paramount in every piece,” she said. “They are ideal for the living room, bedroom, nursery or as a gift.”
Dots by Donna is at 4 Ross Street, Mornington