Dale Cleveland joined the Anderson Artists Guild after moving to this area from Roswell, Georgia, in October. She and her husband love living near Clemson, which they call “God’s country.” Cleveland is enjoying retirement, walking three miles daily and doing lots of painting.
A native of South Florida, Cleveland attended Clemson University, where she majored in English secondary education. She taught for a few years in Memphis and didn't really like it. Then she and her husband moved to Roswell, where she stayed home for a few years to raise her children.
During that time, she started taking art classes, discovering how much she enjoyed watercolor. “It’s so fluid,” she said. “It’s also unforgiving. If you make a mistake, you have to throw it away. But I liked the challenge of thinking about it before starting.”
When her children were older, she found a job she loved as an artist liaison and doing social media for the Raiford Gallery in Roswell. She worked there for 17 years, promoting artists online and securing artists and inventory. Her advice to artists seeking gallery representation is to always research the gallery you are contacting, show your best work, and give galleries what they ask for. “A lot of our people, once they were selling, if we asked them to give us more of the same product, they didn’t want to do that,” she said. “They liked their experimentation, but that’s not what we wanted them to do.” She also advises against selling giclées (fine art reproductions) because they diminish the value of the original artwork.
Working in a gallery inspired Cleveland to create. About 12 years ago, she wrote a book about Clemson, illustrating it with her watercolor paintings of places like Tillman Hall and the Esso Club. It’s still sold at some shops in the area.
She has also painted houses for real estate agents to give as gifts. “I wrote to real estate agents and included some of my work,” she said. “A few people bit.” She also takes commissions for pet portraits through her Facebook and Instagram sites.
These days, Cleveland works mostly with acrylics, which sell better and are cheaper to produce. She’s part of a pop-up art show called Sassy Strokes held each November at the home of a former suitemate in Spartanburg. Her goal for that event is to create 25 paintings, many of which sell.
For more information about Cleveland, visit https://www.instagram.com/dalebcleveland/.