DELMARVA ALMANAC

Denise Dumont

by Dana Kester-McCabe

Meet Impressionist painter Denise Dumont from Milton, Delaware.

Denise Dumont came from a creative family so it was perhaps not surprising that she would become a painter. Denise got her degree from Parsons School of Design where she had an early inclination to do work that was representational.

Denise Dumont:
"At school I studied the basics, and I studied a foundation program and that gave me a really wonderful background. I'm glad that I did it because I don't think I would have assembled that kind of knowledge myself. We had some really wonderful artists teaching there. One in particular, really drove the appreciation of value into me in such a way that it is part of the way that I think. It's just part of my work and it is foremost in my mind."

Denise has a preference for painting in oil and working plein air - outside. There is no mistaking a Denise Dumont painting. It is without a doubt impressionistic. Her brush work is quick and gestural. At the same time it shows a practiced hand that accurately captures the essence of a scene. Her compositions are pastoral built with subtle serene hues. Denise says she arrived at her style by trial and error.

Denise Dumont:
"I never really made a conscious decision other than being perceptual in that I paint what I see. So I guess that it is a real personal choice: me arriving at the palette that I have. And, oddly enough it's not muted enough. So it something I am trying to back off of even more.

Brush marks are almost like fingerprints. They really are unique. And, every artist has them whether they are conscious or not. So I always think it is an interesting study of looking at someone's mark making.

I love painting. I am painter at heart because I take pleasure in the physicality of it. So I really like the way the brush feels and the way it goes on the canvas. There's also different moods and different moments; when you find yourself painting more thinly or more thickly. It's something you don't even think about until after it is done. So, um, it's part of the love of oil painting. I think."


When Denise moved to Delaware she says she found the coastal atmosphere similar to Long Island where she was raised. She has her favorite haunts to paint.

Denise Dumont:
"They are kind of cathartic in a way. I like to paint them in different weather conditions, and just sort of be there. Sometimes what nice about a spot is just the spot itself apart, you know, from the painting you are going to do. There are a couple of spots where I just like to hear the ocean, or feel the weather, that kind of thing. But I do tend to go back a lot to the same spot. I guess it is a kind of muse in away."

"I love being near the coast. I think it comes from growing up in a similar environment on Long Island. You know, on the one hand it is very changeable. And there are things you can escape to. But on the other hand it's always the same. You can always go to the shore. You can always feel the weather. You can always see the ocean."


Denise prizes authenticity and preparation. Whether it be through thumbnail sketching or visualization of the composition prior to beginning a painting, an underlying idea comes first.

Denise Dumont:
"You know, no truer thing has been said. If it doesn't work in a thumbnail it's not going to work on a canvas. Um, that being said, the rest of a painting is, uh, very intuitive in that I am pretty much responding to what it is that I am seeing. And, it's not just depicting just what is in front of me per se; but it's got to be driven by an opinion or a feeling or a mood. So the landscape there is something unique about what I am seeing. And uh, whether it is the way the light is hitting a particular object, or whether it is a mood created by a grey sky… I mean I actually love inclement weather. Sometime it is hard to be in it. But I love painting a grey moody sky as opposed to a sunny blue sky."

"I've been painting full time for the past ten years. And before that I was working a day job for a long time. Um, so I kind of feel like I have sort of come full circle in a way. So I think there are a lot of things I would like to explore in my art beyond the landscape and even in the landscape."

"I would like my art always to be authentic and true. If you are showing up to your easel and you are not really crazy about it, it will show. (laughs) It will not be full of that life and energy. It will die on the wall. I think if we get too comfortable, and we know exactly what we are doing, we are not growing. So, um, I think being comfortable with being uncomfortable is something I have come to appreciate."


Denise accepts commissions and teaches occasionally. She will have a show with the Delaware Division of the Arts in Wilmington later this year. Find out more at: denisedumont.com