Gallery 5@MACC July Art Opening


For July 2015


By Michelle Michaud


Back in the day, if one dreamed of becoming an artist and wasn’t sure they had talent; one could answer an ad in a magazine that said, “If you can draw this, you can be an artist.”  Usually it was a picture of an animal or caricature of a turtle or a pirate.  The majority of people who sent in their drawings for currating received a form letter back offering art lessons.


Signal Mountain resident Dottie Swasey, at the age of 12, drew the ad’s picture of a horse, eagerly returned the drawing and waited and waited for a response. She never got a letter, but Swasey said instead, “They sent a representative to my house.” 


It was that moment that Dottie knew she could draw and was indeed an artist.  Years later in college, Swasey completed her Bachelor of Fine Art degree from Ringling School of Art and Design in Sarasota, Florida in 1980, where she won several merit awards for her landscapes and figure drawings. Since that time, her career has been comprised of both painting and graphic design.


After graduating art school, Swasey remained in Florida another 21 years, returning to Chattanooga in 2001. “I missed the beauty of East Tennessee… the mountains, the lakes, and the changing seasons” says Swasey.


In July, Gallery 5 at the MACC (Mountain Arts Community Center) will hold a one artist show featuring the work of Dottie Swasey.  “I’m very excited; this is only the second time I’ve held a solo opening like this.” 


She also says it’s been many years since she has painted full time.  “I worked for the City of Chattanooga for the past eight years.  Working full time like that doesn’t leave much time to be creative and paint.  But now I can paint all day if I want to.”


She says, at first getting back into the swing of things was tough, “I was pretty tight.  My brush strokes didn’t come easily.  Now they are more fluid and easier to do.”


Swasey said in 2001 she had Lasik surgery and can see very well far away, but has to wear reading glasses for close work, “But I choose not to wear them until the very end of a piece, otherwise I tend to get caught up in the details of the painting.”


Swasey’s predominant medium is acrylic, but she also likes to work in oil, watercolor and pastel. 


Swasey’s love of Tennessee’s beauty is reflected in her work. Many of her landscapes depict water, weather it is a lake, river or mountain stream. The water gives movement and life to her landscapes. “I am drawn to water” she says, “and I hope it gives the viewer not only visual pleasure, but also evokes the sense of ‘touch and sound’ water gives.”


Dottie Swasey’s work can be viewed and purchased at the MACC beginning Thursday, July 2 with an opening reception from 5pm to 7:30pm.  For more information, log on to or call 886-1957.