Local woman sweeps state fair

Dee Bradford has come a long way since drawing titillating pictures for the boys when she was in elementary and junior high school.

It earned her lunch money, but she's found a better way to earn a little extra money through her award-winning charcoal and pastel drawings.

The Carson City artist entered three pieces in the Nevada State Fair, the maximum number allowed, and won awards for all three.

Her pastel and charcoal of a wolf titled "Two Socks" took third place in the pastel division, and won the people's choice award for the show.

In the graphics division, her detailed charcoal portrait "Codger" of a Virginia City man placed first and "Old Man Navajo" placed second.

"I was surprised," she said. "I didn't expect them to be first, second, third. I'm delighted."

That Bradford could draw never meant much to her, she said. Most of the members of her family can draw, some professionally.

The third of 11 children, Bradford said as a child growing up in Oakland, Calif., she didn't have time for drawing as she helped care for her younger siblings and eventually her four children.

As she grew older she "dabbled" in drawing, filling notebooks with sketches. She could never afford school, however, and has never taken an art class. It never really occurred to her to pursue art - a gift she took for granted, she said.

Bradford, who is in her 50s, started drawing seriously about four years ago when she and husband, Pat, moved to Carson from Redding, Calif., in 1998. Perhaps her biggest fan and supporter, Pat says his wife gets embarrassed by attention to her art.

"She has a God-given talent," Pat said.

He "inspires" her to finish drawings she would sometimes toss aside as inadequate, Bradford said.

She most enjoys drawing faces of people or animals with character. Around their East Carson home, dead-on drawings of Clint Eastwood, John Wayne and Stonewall Jackson mingle with a tiger, Mark Twain and an exquisite drawing of a Hopi Indian bride.

A member of the Carson branch of the Nevada Artist Association, her art has garnered local awards at such events as Dayton Valley Days.

"I don't think my art is that great," she said. "I've just always done it."


Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Sign in to comment