Ever since she can remember, Dawn Potter has loved to create art. Drawing inspiration from photographs of family and friends, she has produced snapshot pieces on display at Bank St’s Buzz Restaurant.
“When my Mom needed to entertain us on weekends she would sit us all down to draw,” recalls Potter. “We would use these huge rolls of paper and we would paint water colour murals.”
As she grew older, her artistic appetite grew as well, leading her to experiment with different mediums. Potter made the jump to oil paints and finally settled on acrylic.
“Oil is very difficult because it dries slowly,” explains Potter.
Upgrading from finger-paints to portraits, this 23 year-old lesbian’s abilities are apparent. One piece, Easy, is particularly provocative. The large painting is inspired by a photo Potter took in her high school bathroom. It shows a badass girl, who happens to be her cousin, posing while splayed out on the sink, with Potter reflected in the mirror. Set against the pattern of continuous tiles, Potter manages to encapsulate the image of high school rebellion perfectly. Attached to the canvas is a poem explaining Potter’s thoughts of “falling, flailing, failing.”
“My inspirations are mostly personal,” explains Potter. “I always try to express a feeling.”
And the feelings she conveys aren’t lost on Ottawa’s art aficionados. Many pieces have already been snatched up and Buzzers can’t seem to keep their eyes off Potter’s paintings.
“It’s pretty; I like how she captures the emotion,” says Crystal Messier of her favourite piece titled Mermaid, a serene creation made up of goldfish and faces. Messier was at the Buzz, Jun 10 along with dozens of other art hounds, taking in Potter’s creations and those of fellow artists Reverend J and Robin Shameless A.K.A Blue.
“She’s definitely unique, from what I have seen.”
Potter’s personal favourite, Zurich, shows a blonde woman accompanied by a child waiting for the subway in Zurich’s underbelly. Potter mixes still life and motion with swirling precision and flawless execution.
Potter’s Horizon evokes a calming sensation. With the perfect balance of blue and white, Potter showcases a woman on a beach practising yoga under a crisp lily suspended in the twilight sky.
“I really like her imagery and the way she places them all together,” says Lamoureux. “She’s up and coming. It’s all very new and it’s nice when an artist isn’t doing it for the money.”
Potter fine tuned her skills while attending Canterbury’s visual arts program and also studied at the Ottawa School of Art. Potter credits teacher Tim Desclouds with aiding her in expanding her artistic arsenal.
Shunning store-bought black acrylic, she opts to create her own dark colours, as they turn out richer and have better texture. Colour is particularly important, Potter maintains.
“It’s fresh and very clean,” says Lamoureux. “She has good ideas, and we’ll see how she progresses.”