Dawkins finds joy in painting
By By LYDIA GRIMES – Features writer
Some people think they're good at something, but they're not and some people don't think they're good at something, and they are. Juanita Dawkins falls into the last category. She doesn't see herself as being particularly good at her hobby of oil painting, but she does a pretty good job.
She doesn't paint for fame or for fortune, but for the pure joy she gets out of doing it. It has been a very important part of her life ever since she was a little girl.
She began to work with watercolors and graduated to acrylics and oils. Most of her paintings these days are done in oils, as they are her favorites. One of her paintings means a lot to her as she painted it for her dad just before he passed away. It features his old home place and she felt it made him very happy.
One of her paintings is a mural at Ridge Road Baptist Church.
Anyone who visits her home on Dawkins Road can get a good idea of the versatility of her work. She paints on saw blades, flat saws, canvas, CDs, wooden trays, gourds and even rocks.
Her CDs are not only painted, they are also made into clocks. When she paints on canvas, she calls on her husband, Gary, to help her with the frames. When the painting is rustic, he pulls some old lumber out and makes beautiful frames, some even with knotholes.
The surprising thing about Dawkins and her painting is that she is unaware of just how talented she really is. She hasn't tried to attend painting shows or craft shows because she is afraid she is not good enough. She has sold a few pieces but she doesn't look for buyers. She is content to paint for her own enjoyment and gives many works away.
She is a self-taught painter and has done quite a bit of reading. She has books on painting and did attend a short class on oil painting.
She was born in Pensacola, Fla., and moved to Wallace shortly after her birth. She lived there until she was about 10 years old with her parents and younger brother. She attended Wallace Junior High until the fifth grade when the family moved to Ridge Road. After the move she attended W.S. Neal High School and graduated in 1960. She played a clarinet in the band and was a majorette.
In 1960 she married her high school sweetheart, Gary Dawkins. They built a home next to her parents on Ridge Road and lived there about 10 years, before buying some family land on Dawkins Road. They built another home there and she got away from her painting while she was raising her three children. Weena, who was born in 1962 and is now married to Miles Ball. They have two daughters, Breanna and Ashley. Teresa was born in 1965 and married Kenny Hultz. They have three daughters, Misty, Meghann and Cate. Greg was born in 1971, married Rhonda Hart and had a son, Logan.
Besides being a painter for all these years, Dawkins also had another job for 26 years. In fact it was one she sort of fell into. One day when her children rode the bus home from school, she was out in the yard and the bus driver told her they needed some driver substitutes and asked her if she was interested. She was very doubtful about whether she would be able to do it.
During this time, she got away from her painting. She was too busy with other things.
When she retired, she picked up the paintbrush once again and painted for about a year until she had a stroke, which put her out of commission for about six months.
She and her husband are both retired now and they like to spend time at a cabin they have on the Sepulga River. She collects angels and iris herringbone and is enjoying the time she spends with a paintbrush in her hand.