Patrons who visit the Antique Village in historic downtown Denham Springs are frequently drawn to M’Lou Stain Glass and Art Gallery on weekdays to meet the senior artist who until recently was always busy painting, Dorothy Guell, affectionately known as “Miss Dot.”
Guell celebrated its 100th birthday on April 30.
Despite her age, Guell, an accomplished artist whose works find an easy market, continues to paint. Ellen Feehan, owner of M’Lou Stain Glass and Art Gallery, said Miss Dot had been a regular at painting sessions held at her gallery from Tuesday to Friday for many years.
Recent medical issues prevented Guell from visiting the art gallery and we miss her. A painting she was working on still sits on an easel in the gallery, just as she left it a few days before her 100th birthday party.
“We have a group of women who come here to paint, and Miss Dot is always the center of attention,” Feehan said. “Her age has not been a factor in her desire to continue to be creative. She loves to paint, and the ladies who paint with her, and the visitors who enter the gallery, enjoy her company and admire her creativity.”
Guell painted for most of his life. Feehan said that in explaining her love of art, Miss Dot told her that as a little girl growing up in New Orleans, her father saw her drawing so he bought her a set of pastels and watercolors. “She said she started drawing and painting then, and she just didn’t stop. She’s amazing,” Feehan said.
During his long career, Guell took classes with various artists and began exhibiting his art in several galleries in New Orleans. She joined other artists who spent time painting on the streets of New Orleans where her talents continued to garner attention and helped launch a career that now spans its 100th year.
The ravages of Hurricane Katrina blew Miss Dot to Denham Springs where she has made her home ever since. A friend, Carol Blanchard, said of Guell’s move to Denham Springs, “Her friends joked that they wouldn’t let her go back to her native New Orleans because they loved her and her too much. his work.”
When Guell moved to Denham Springs, she took lessons with local artist Michelle Conques and it was there that she met most of her local artist friends.
Feehan said of the artist, “She loves to paint so much. She paints anything that comes to mind. She paints flowers, marsh scenes, vegetables and she loves to paint roosters. She’s just a woman very special and a very talented artist.
Feehan explained that Guell got married during World War II and those early years were tough years for her. “She told us stories of those times when the common things we take for granted were rationed for the war effort. She laughed when she told us that the neighbors would get enough ration vouchers to buy the ingredients for things as simple as punch and cookies Her husband died in the 1980s and Feehan said Guell described her husband as “an angel for putting up with me”.
Feehan said Guell often says she doesn’t care if her paintings sell or not, she loves to paint and doesn’t want to stop. However, her paintings sold well and the profits she made allowed her to pursue the activity that was so dear to her, painting.
Donna Jennings, Executive Director of Main Street Denham Springs and promoter and frequent visitor to the Antique Village, said Guell is “simply amazing. She is so full of life that you would never think she is 100 years old. She is a real treasure in our community and there just aren’t enough words to say about her. Everyone associated with Miss Dot is richer for the experience.
Jennings said Miss Dot had a following of devoted art lovers.
According to Blanchard, after celebrating her birthday, Guell had trouble breathing, so her granddaughter rushed her to the emergency room where she was diagnosed with congestive heart failure and other medical issues. She is now hospitalized and her many fans hope that she will soon be able to resume her painting.
His paintings are exhibited at the M’Lou Glass and Art Gallery located at 125 N. Range Road, Denham Springs.