Valley woman takes tradition to a new level |

Valley woman takes tradition to a new level

by Karel Delbecq

Dorothy Todd has spent the better part of her life travelling the world in the pursuit of teaching the art of porcelain painting.

Todd moved to the area a year ago, to be closer to her children and so she would have accessible, affordable care for her husband.

This active woman, who plans to celebrate her 80th birthday “with a hot air balloon ride down the Carson Valley,” began her painting career in 1967.

It is a career that has taken her around the world, teaching in such places as Brazil, Guatemala, Canada, parts of Europe and last year, to New Zealand.

She founded the California Association of Porcelain Artists in 1978, an organization also active in the Valley/Carson City area, and holds a lifetime teaching certificate in California for adult education.

This wealth of knowledge is being offered to Valley artists and those with a curiosity for porcelain painting, in both day and evening classes, which Todd is teaching on an ongoing basis.

“Often, when people think of porcelain art, they think of roses, ” Todd said. “Personally, I don’t like roses. I don’t like their odor.

“I do like to paint animals, birds and things that talk to me,” she said. “I like painting wildflowers.”

Once called “china painting,” the craft was taught to young ladies as a “finish” to their education.

Thanks in large part to the early efforts of Todd, porcelain painting has achieved new status. Besides teaching, Todd has made it her mission to bring legitimacy to the art.

“President Carter signed a proclamation recognizing it as a fine art,” Todd said. California has since followed suit.

“I would encourage people who are interested in this art, to go to as many teachers as possible,” she said. “Every teacher has something else to give.

“I have had some invaluable teachers through the years and learned something new from each of them,” Todd said.

Todd’s life has been filled with varied experiences and opportunities and she doesn’t plan to stop any time soon.

She is presently planning a collaborative CAPA conference that will be hosted in 2003 by both the Nevada and Napa, Calif. chapters.

And, of course, there’s the need to paint and teach and embrace life.

“I don’t know many people my age who could keep up with me,” she said. “But I have so much to do, I keep saying ‘One more year, Lord. I need one more year.'”

For more information about the porcelain art classes, call Todd at 265-9252.