Bachelor of Fine Arts in Painting, UNC Charlotte (2006)
Hometown: Concord, N.C.
When Doreen Whaley was an art student at UNC Charlotte, little did she know that she would follow in the footsteps of Charles Le Brun. The 17th-century painter, whom King Louis XIV called the greatest French artist of all time, was largely responsible for the interiors of the Palace of Versailles. But as a decorative artist specializing in authentic French interiors, Whaley is not only inspired by the palace's Baroque grandeur, she has also traveled to Versailles to examine its wonders firsthand, bringing the techniques, tones, and textures back to the U.S. in her work with Charlotte-based designer Leo Dowell.
"We travel the country and beyond, recreating breathtaking finishes on furniture, cabinetry, walls, and other structural elements to capture French living at its finest," she says. A nearby French chateau has been her most recent project. "I have spent the past seven months busily French-brushing walls, washing all of the furnishings, and painting cabinetry in hand selected French finishes." She also painted "a garden room ceiling mural straight out of the Palace of Versailles."
When she's not traveling, Doreen lives with her husband and son in Kannapolis, close to her hometown of Concord and to her alma mater, where she worked daily "alongside a diverse goup of artists." She remembers fondly the Rowe Arts building and the range of classes she took. "The art program at UNC Charlotte covers so many mediums and really allows you to explore what you enjoy doing most.... Painting, Jewelry Making and Figure Drawing were some of my favorite classes."
Whether exercising the artistry necessary to paint Baroque birds or the artisanal skill needed to gild crown moulding, "I always enjoy and take pride in the many different projects that I can create each week," Doreen says.