La Jolla artist honors Marines with painting

Artist boosts spirits at Walter Reed

“Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima,” taken by photographer Joe Rosenthal on Feb. 23, 1945, is one of the most famous images in U.S. history. To commemorate Veteran’s Day, the Walter Reed Health Care System in Washington, D.C., installed La Jolla artist Dottie Stanley’s painting depicting that image immortalized on the U.S. Marine Corps War Memorial in Arlington, Va.

When Stanley created the painting for the Marine Corps Historical Society fundraising event held this September at the San Diego Hyatt Hotel, she realized the impact that it would have on the audience.

“I wanted to honor our soldiers and veterans and chose that image because it has a lot of emotion attached to it, especially for anyone connected with the military,” Stanley said.

Richard Rovsek, chairman of M2000 Corp. in Rancho Santa Fe, bought Stanley’s 30-by-30-inch oil painting at the charity auction and donated it to the Walter Reed Health Care System.

Stanley is a full-time stockbroker for Merrill Lynch. Her weekdays are consumed with the stock market, but she devotes her weekends to oil paintings that often focus on the daily life of people in exotic cultures. These include Native Americans and the African Masai, but depicting the homeless people of San Diego also interests her. Her client in Rome, Italy, collects her paintings of homeless people, and recently Stanley accepted his invitation to see her paintings hanging in his 14th century estate.

“It was the highlight of my year,” Stanley said. “He thinks they depict typical Americans and has a series of 12 of them, so he bought my painting of two veterans pushing a cart in downtown San Diego.”

While in Europe, she also visited Poland, where a client asked her to do a painting depicting the statue of Chopin in Warsaw’s park.

According to Stanley, her unhappy childhood plays a definite role in the creation of her art.

“I was always trying to reach down and get in touch with the isolation and loneliness that I felt as a child,” she said. “I didn’t realize I was doing that until years later. With my work, I’m trying to portray that everybody is unique in a beautiful way, and I’m trying to bring out this loneliness and isolation in a positive way.”

At age 17, Stanley began studying art with Arthur Maynard at New Jersey’s Ridgewood Art Institute, and his training plays a vital role in her work.

“He taught me about dramatic lights and shadows,” she said. “His palette evoked an atmospheric quality, so you felt like a north light was streaming on the person being painted. It adds such a wonderful silvery light to the whole painting and that’s what I’m trying to do.”

Stanley, who uses her art to aide charities that help women, received a 2007 Living Legacy Award from the Women’s International Center. She participates in several San Diego art groups, including Patrons of the Prado that raises money for Balboa Park museums and the Allied Artists’ Association of San Diego. Stanley recently joined the Movers and Shakers in San Diego and is now working on a portrait of Vicky DeLong, director of the Bonita Museum.

Her work may be viewed in her gallery, located at 7602 Fay Ave. in La Jolla, and at and