Colorblind artist has unique vision of the world

By KERRY MILLER

Staff Writer

HOLLIS – As a child, Kevin Dadoly recalled watching his grandfather mix paints in his backyard and thinking he wanted to do that too someday.

While he couldn’t see the colors of the paint the same way others could, that didn’t deter him from eventually becoming an artist.

Today, at 58, the Amherst native and current Hollis resident, who is colorblind, has more than achieved his goal. In addition to being known for his watercolor and oil painting works, Dadoly teaches adult art classes at Hollis’ Wild Salamander Art Center and adult enrichment watercolor courses in Bedford and Amherst, and travels around New England hosting his "A Brush with the Island Watercolor Workshop."

"I’ve been drawing and painting since I was a child," Dadoly said. "My late mother was an artist. My grandfather used to be a house painter. He could match any color.

"I have always been fascinated with every aspect of art. I happened upon watercolor and got stuck on that. Fifteen years ago somebody said, ‘You should pick up an oil brush.’ Whatever it was, I did it – basket weaving, even."

Fueled by his passion for art rather than seeing his colorblindness as prohibitive, Dadoly, who taught himself everything he knows about art, said how he sees color gives him a unique perspective and has contributed to his success.

"It probably would have been easier to go to art school," he said with a laugh. Being colorblind has "helped me a lot. I focus on how light and dark a color is, see what could be better in a painting.

"There are different levels of colorblindness. I don’t see (color) like you do; a red flower and green foliage are very close to me. I have trouble with yellows, blues – I have trouble with everything (colorwise). I very often surprise people. I focus on the science of color."

Dadoly enjoys sharing his perspective with his students, especially at Wild Salamander, where he started teaching in September, instructing beginning and experienced artists.

"The fun part is if I say, ‘What color are you trying to mix?’ I can get them there. I studied the power of color," he said.

Dadoly said things at Wild Salamander are going "really well. My plan is to grow that into a large crowd. I love to have fun; I have a good sense of humor. I love to paint."

On Sunday, during an exhibit of some of Dadoly’s students’ watercolor and oil paint works at the Amherst Town Library, Sharron April, one of his students and also the exhibit curator, said Dadoly follows through on his plan to make his classes fun.

"He breaks it down so the inexperienced feel comfortable and the more experienced are left wondering and curious," she said.

"He’s awesome," April’s classmate Jennifer Cook added while at Sunday’s exhibit. "It’s an adventure. He’s fun and makes everybody feel welcome."

Dadoly added teacher to his resume after being enrolled in an art class and having an experience that made him think, once again, that it was something he wanted to do. For him, teaching is the perfect combination of sharing, learning and art.

"I feel very strongly when people pick up a brush to paint," he said. "They’re doing something nobody else has done. My job is to encourage. We do everything. I’m very often inspired by something and figure out how to walk people through it; I give them just enough instruction."

Dadoly lives in Hollis with wife, Janis. The couple have a son, Travis, and a daughter, Taylor. Dadoly said an artistic spirit runs in his family. His son has dubbed him "a motivational instructor."

"My wife is an artist when it comes to cooking; my son when it comes to marketing," he said. "The closest thing is my daughter is a makeup artist. She does ‘portraits’ all day long."

Dadoly is a member of the New Hampshire Artists Association. In 2013, he was nominated for the Governor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching. His works have been displayed in solo shows and juried exhibitions.

Dadoly also keeps busy hosting "Wine & Watercolor" events in Greater Nashua and appears at events put on by local groups.

At 9 a.m. Thursday, Nov. 5, Dadoly will create holiday arrangements at a gathering hosted by the Amherst Garden Club at the Messiah Lutheran Church on Route 101. The event will start with social time and a business meeting, followed by Dadoly’s presentation at 10:15. Several of his designs will be raffled off at the end of the meeting.

The club will welcome Mary Salmon, lecturer, teacher and floral designer, for its meeting at 7 p.m. Nov. 5 at Parkhurst Place on Veterans Road. Salmon will use materials at hand, alone or in combination with items from the flower market, to create several holiday arrangements.

Both meetings are open to the public.

For more information about Dadoly, his art and his workshop schedule, visit kevindadoly.com.

For more information about the Wild Salamander Creative Arts Center, visit wildsalamander.com or call 465-9453.

Kerry Miller can be reached at 594-6499 or kmiller@nashuatelegraph.com.