The carefree artist said she initially found her inspiration for art during her first visit to Sunday school with she was five-years-old as she held a crayon for the first time.
Duggins has stayed busy as a stay at home mom who also served on the Town Council in Walkertown for eight years. She has also helped through the quilting guild and has judged the fine arts at the Dixie Classic Fair for several years.
Duggins began painting roughly 35 years ago after the youngest of her four children started kindergarten. From there, she has been able to show her paintings in the Symphony Guild Designer House in Charlotte and various other locations.
“When my daughter went into kindergarten, I signed up for an art class with a teacher named Gene Hege, who was in his first year of teaching. He wouldn’t let us copy anything,” she explained.
Duggins moved with Hege from a beginner class through intermediate and into more progressive classes.
“He made us pull things out from inside ourselves. I don’t think I would be the artist I am today if I had a different teacher,” Duggins remarked.
After learning from Hege, Duggins’ late husband, Leonard, took a job in Charlotte as a labor mediator with the federal government and the family followed. She later moved back to Walkertown, where she feels most at home.
Duggins refers to her style of painting as semi-impressionism. She prefers not to paint one particular type of genre, but instead enjoys painting scenery, flowers, still life, home places and landscapes, among other things.
She has only painted one religious scene, which is one of the paintings on display at the library. It’s an abstract painting of the crucifix with two women kneeling at Christ’s feet.
The idea for the painting came from a bright orange tie a fellow church member at Love’s United Methodist Church was wearing one Sunday.
“Kids actually see the painting more clearly than adults,” Duggins stated.
Her artwork has since evolved over time like many other artists and she is now learning to paint portraits. Though she has had no training, Duggins has also dabbled a bit into sculpture.
Duggins said her inspiration for art comes from her surroundings.
“I can’t just sit down and say I am going to paint something specific,” she said. “I will see something that will trigger my imagination and then I experiment with that.”
Duggins explained that unless she is doing a composition for someone, it isn’t uncommon to start on one idea and have it evolve into something else.
Duggins has offered free painting classes for children at the library upon request.
During one of the more resent classes, she taught pointillism, a technique she described as painting with small, distinct dots of color, which are applied in a pattern to form an image.
“I taught 65 children ages five to 10. It’s a style of painting where you use the tip end of a brush and grow from one color to the other, but with the kids we used Q-tips. Not one of those children acted up during that class,” she remarked.
Duggins also teaches adults on occasion upon request at either her home or the Walkertown Library. She said she has noticed a difference between her adult students and children.
“Children will try more experimentation than adults. I try to get them to let go and experiment,” she said. “We each have a natural creative spirit that if we develop it we will be amazed at our talent. Everyone was born with some type of creativity and it’s up to them to develop that.”
The Walkertown Library is located at 2969 Main Street in Walkertown.