Donna Moses' studio, classical music plays gently
in the background, and sun through a skylight
warms an already agreeable setting. The walls
vibrate with cheerful paintings of happy family
life, inspiration for which Donna draws from her
own family, and from her intense love of her country.
They are rendered in a style she terms “Peasant
Folk”. The figures that people her scenes
look out at us with rosy-cheeked innocence, but
there is a highly sophisticated sense of design
at work, a combination of motifs that might appear
to be random but are too harmonious to be so dismissed.
Donna's comfortable manner and the cordial smile
in her hazel eyes project the same serenity that
mellows her surroundings. When she tells of the
evolution of her development as a painter, the
sparks begin to fly. She remembers at a very young
age she decorated mud pies with geranium petals
and noticed some were heart shaped, a motif she
continues to use liberally in her paintings.
Marriage to Deryl, her college sweetheart, who
then went into the Navy and recently retired from
being an airline pilot, and the births of her
three children were further inspiration. She began
to make decorative items for her home, incorporating
fabric in the borders of her paintings and moving
on to create intricate designs that became emblematic
of her work.
In 1983 Donna took eight small paintings to the
Bill Dodge Gallery in Carmel, and asked for a
“critique”. Bill was captivated with
her work and asked to display her original paintings
in the gallery. He took samples of her cards and
paintings to Art Expo in New York and that led
to a contract with a publisher in Minnesota.
Donna's paintings express a sunny optimistic outlook
and she concurs that, yes this is how she sees
the world. The expression of traditional American
values takes on a delightful freshness in her
hands. Her patriotism has been fed by travel to
many parts of the world, giving her immeasurable
gratitude for the life she is privileged to live.
“My faith in God continues to fuel everything
I do”. Her seven grandchildren have made
her the “other Grandma Moses”, and
a more enthusiastic grandmother you're not likely
From June 1997 to March 2006 Donna's “Peasant
Folk Collection “gallery in the Barnyard
Shopping Village in Carmel, California was home
to a wide array of Folk Art. Also featured in
her gallery were several other artists from around
the country including her mentor, Bill Dodge,
folk artist Donna Perkins, Quilter Jeannie Aschenbrenner
and watercolorist, Nancy Stirm. She refers to
her Gallery as an “oasis of joy” which
made everyone's heart smile. Currently Donna works
out of her studio at home.
Deryl has been her constant support and she credits
him with the continuing success of a career “beyond
what I ever dreamed”. He's always been right
there to make sure I had what I needed in every
situation. Her success also carried her market
to Japan where she has had five exhibitions of
her art...the Internet has opened up the rest
of the world.
If there is a restlessness under the calm exterior,
it is the restlessness that drives all creative
people, the constant striving to do better. “The
picture isn't finished yet you know...the picture
that's me”. And that's the thought I took
with me as I left. Secure in her creativity, Donna
welcomes the changes that attend it and confidently
looks forward to adding brush strokes to the “unfinished
portrait of the artist”.