Lynn Dooly Marek
Faculty of Animation, Arts & Design
Degree: Illustration & Bachelor of Illustration
Year of graduation: 2012
Lynn Dooly Marek clearly remembers the first day she started painting the café culture of Europe. She was a student spending a year studying in Aix-en-Provençe in southern France and living above a bakery in the old town. On a national holiday, when banks were closed and transfers were unavailable, she found herself out of money. Undeterred, she asked the owner of a local café, Les Deux Garçons, if they would pay her 20 francs to do a painting of their establishment. Pleased with the finished product, the owners asked Dooly to paint another one. “And that was when I realized, ‘Oh my goodness, I’ve just made money off my artwork,’” she laughs. “It had such a huge impact on my life. I started painting the old Roman town of Aix…the cafés, buildings, markets, and fountains, which are all still in use today.”
Upon her return, she completed her final year of Illustration at Sheridan and started freelancing while continuing to paint French street scenes as a way to alleviate missing the country. “France got into me and never left,” she says.
Dooly’s globetrotting days began as a child. Born in Montreal, her family moved between England and Canada, and she spent summers in Athens where her grandfather was the Canadian ambassador. She eventually settled in Oakville and started at Sheridan in 1972 in the Art Fundamentals program, moving into the Animation program a year later. “The Animation course was wonderful training for looseness and caricature drawing, but I realized that Illustration would be a better fit for me, so I switched to the Illustration program at Sheridan,” she says.
Throughout her career, Dooly found success exhibiting in art shows and selling her series titled Bistro & Marche of the World at consumer events such as the One of a Kind Show. She is now an international award-winning artist and her paintings hang in homes and offices around the world. Everything changed a decade ago when Dooly had to have back surgery and was unable to lift more than 10 pounds, which meant the end of selling her work at shows for a time. She decided to put her café painting on hold and, in 2009, she returned to Sheridan in 2009 to obtain her Bachelor of Illustration. “For the next three years, I drove back and forth between Whitby and Oakville, and sat with the students, who originally thought I was their teacher. When you’re over 50 and spending time with college students, to see their enthusiasm really gives you a wonderful new perspective,” she says. “I learned so much going back to school. I had never been on a Mac, and didn’t know what Photoshop was. My classmates helped me, and I treasure the memories. It was an exceptional experience.”
Dooly graduated in 2012, and her training and life experiences now serve her well in teaching figure drawing to the animation students at Durham College. “Because of my experience at Sheridan, I knew I loved being around this age group of students,” she says.
Dooly now returns to the paintings that she loves, documenting her travels throughout Spain, Italy, Norway, England, and France in a series titled Impressions of Europe. She exhibits at the prestigious Salon des Beaux Arts, Carrousel du Louvre, Paris, an art show dating back to 1861 where all works for the show are curated and approved by the Louvre. And she was recently inducted into the Arts-Sciences-Lettres de Paris, a prestigious French art and educational society that began in 1915.
“Most people my age are just looking to retire, but I’m just beginning,” she says. “Don’t let circumstances hold you back — if you have something you want to accomplish, go out and do it, so you don’t look back at the end of your life and wish that you’d done it.”