Artist Spotlight: Alice Ann Dobbin May 28 2013


"I believe that a painting should be like an oasis. It should be something that can lift the spirit and transport the viewer into a tranquil place away from everyday cares. It should say something about the artist and their view of the world. I also believe that the viewer should be able to feel the artist’s energy and see the process of painting. The combined use of palette knife and detailed brushwork contribute to this visual and emotional experience."

An academic, historian and artist, Alice Ann Dobbin has been drawing and painting since she was old enough to hold a pencil.   The creative endeavor was always a deeply rooted need.   From an early age,  when other children were outside playing, she was happy to sit in her room and write stories or draw pictures.  

Born in a diverse ethnic neighborhood in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, she was selected to attend special classes for the artistically gifted while still in elementary school.   The classes were held at what later became Carnegie Mellon University, an incubator of talent, producing many nationally prominent artists.

A gifted writer as well, she graduated with a degree in Journalism from Pennsylvania State University. Even when earning a living with a journalism degree, her artistic talents were constantly in use.  While in college and a member of several organizations, she designed homecoming floats which took top awards during the years she attended. During her career in the field of communications, she won numerous national graphic awards. 

After a brief period as a stay-at-home mom (still painting), she returned to college to pursue her dream of an art career.  She obtained her art degree, graduating  Magna cum Laude from Washington and Jefferson College where she was honored with the prestigious Beta Scholar designation by the president of the college.  Former Art History Professor, Hugh Taylor,  called her one of the most significant art historians he had known.

While at W&J, she studied printmaking, art history,  painting, and art education.  She was profoundly influenced by the academic world of art where ethics and the mastery of skills formed the  foundation of an artist’s career. Dobbin was an adjunct professor of art at Washington and Jefferson College for several years and also taught art at high school and elementary levels.  In addition, she was a private consultant in art and graphic design.  A professional artist for over twenty years, she has also authored two books. 

When she  and her husband moved to Charleston  15 years ago,  she was intensely affected by the beauty of the landscape and brilliant light.   She fell in love with her new surroundings and became very prolific in her work.   “I am finally home,” she confirmed.

Dobbin is not an artist who sticks to one subject matter or color scheme.  Nature is a constant theme, however.  Her passion for wildlife and the effect of  light on the landscape emerge as images that stir the soul and warm the heart. Although, initially fascinated with abstraction, producing paintings which were influenced by the work of Picasso, she later developed a sensitivity to the simple forms in nature, following a move from city to the country, and her work gradually became more realistic.

Today, she strives for an overall loose interpretation, using small amounts of detail to emphasize the focal point. Some of her paintings reflect the influence of post impressionist fauves such as Raoul Dufay and Paul Gauguin. Depending on the subject and the emotional effect she wants to create, she often pushes colors beyond the norm as well as combining abstraction with realism.

Alice Dobbin is a member of the Oil Painters of America, American Impressionist Society,  and a Signature Member of Artists for Conservation.  Her work appears in numerous private, public and corporate collections throughout the United States, Europe and Australia and is included in the collection of a former US president.

To see her works, visit: or visit Ibis Fine Art on Broad Street in downtown Charleston, SC.