An interview with Dorothy Danielson, owner of Danielson Studios, 40684 Karpen's Airport Lane, Astoria.

This artist's official studio is in Svensen but her canvas is all around us. From Astoria's Sanborn building at 10th Street and Marine Drive to historic murals in the pioneer town of Vale, Dorothy Danielson paints life into walls. For more information, call (503) 458-6836 or e-mail at (

Tell us about your work.

"Basically I do portraits and murals. I am not tied down to people. I do pets, flowers and even hot rods. One of my passions is digging in the dirt and growing things. They find their way into my canvas and paper. My first love is black and white drawings. They allow the viewer to become involved with the piece. I enjoy working with clients on custom work and design projects. There have been many shows over the years with my share of ribbons. I have studied with Stan Wanlass, Royal Nebeker and Rod Maxwell-Muir at Clatsop Community College."

What is the project you are working on here?

"This is another mural for Michael Foster's historic Sanborn building, for the Windsor House of Tea. This setting is Northern England. I am painting this to an imaginative story I have developed. It has been evolving. Here we have the gardener's cottage and the gardener has brought starts from around the world to this garden."

Where can people see your work outside of Astoria?

"I did the murals on Fuller's Market in Centralia. The murals in Vale, Oregon are all historical. I did the research for them at the trail museum in Baker. I also did the mural inside the Cape Disappointment lighthouse and the Ilwaco hospital, as well as the boat up on Sandridge."

How much business do you have?

"Sometimes I do 10 to 20 a month, sometimes none. I built a house in 2000 in Svensen and the studio is all of the upstairs. Very few come into the studio. Most of my work is by commission. When I finish here I will paint two hot rods on the back of a motor home. I learn from so many places, people and things."

What was your most interesting project?

"They all have a soul of their own so it would be hard to pick. I always bury myself in my projects. My life is art in one form or another."

Tell us about the painting process.

"This was developed over 20 years ago when outdoor murals became popular. I use Benjamin Moore exterior latex because they back me up. When I did the boat on Stan Anderson's building on Sandridge, Benjamin Moore said that if the paint didn't last 10 years they would pay to have it re-done. It has been 10 years now and the painting is doing well. I also put a sealer on top for graffiti control. Murals should be resealed every 4 to 5 years."