The study of color and design has dominated Jack Dickerson’s life and work, but his passion for painting came later in life. “I didn’t pick up a paintbrush until I was in my 50s,” the Cape Cod artist says.
A successful owner of a graphic design business, Dickerson enjoyed his career and his life. But, around his 50th birthday, he started to think about doing “something more” with his life—something more personally fulfilling. Around 2000, he started selling his works and there was no turning back. He made the leap and began a second career as a painter. “The passion took hold,” he says. “I’d never trade it for anything and I’d do it over, 10 times, no question.”
Dickerson and his wife, who is an accomplished realist painter and needlepoint artist, made the move to Cape Cod to lead a creative life. The couple spend their time cooking, painting, drawing, and designing in their Mediterranean-style home in West Brewster.
“I’m not really happy unless I’m making something,” Dickerson says, and nothing soothes his soul more than sitting down at the easel to paint.
There are two powerful artistic motivators for Jack Dickerson. First, he loves the challenge of pushing himself to constantly learn and find different ways to interpret a given subject artistically.
“I don’t really have a style because I’m always thinking about new ways to interpret things,” Dickerson says. Working primarily in acrylics, some of his paintings could be described as Impressionist, but just as many evade any sort of characteristic artistic definition. And that’s what this artist enjoys most—experimenting and discovering new ways to interpret the world around him.
Dickerson’s lifelong study of colors and how they interact with one another is evident throughout his work in the carefully rendered layers of a sunset, or the interactive range of tonal greens in a wave. “I love working with color, finding new color relationships and interpreting new situations in nature,” Dickerson says. He employs different types of brush strokes, plays with textures, layers on colors, and experiments with how paint interacts with the canvas.
“I want my work to surprise me. Every painting to me is a color study,” he says. Dickerson often portrays contrasting ideas within the same subject, such as crashing waves juxtaposed with a windless, glassy ocean, depicting both energy and serenity. His paintings are inspired by many of the same muses—waves, marshes, ocean, trees, sunsets, and rowboats—which are captured in diverse ways.
The second crucial motivator for Dickenson as an artist is making personal connections with the people who enjoy and buy his paintings.
“I really like the idea of my paintings making one person feel good,” Dickerson says. That’s why owning his own gallery—and using the same space as his studio—works for him. It provides the opportunity for interaction and connection between artist, viewer, and the work. “When someone comes into my gallery and says, ‘I feel good in here,’ that’s the highest compliment someone can pay me,” this artist says.