by Dan Ellis
Dot Hector was born in Lexington, Mississippi on August 16, 1904. As a young girl she had taken several art classes which were discontinued when her family moved to Clarksdale. No longer exposed to the disciplines of proper coaching, Dot's love for creative painting was temporarily suspended. Following highschool graduation, she reconstituted her interest by attending the Cincinnati Art Academy where she learned to master her skills and added some qualified paintings to her portfolio. However, once more her gifted talents were interrupted when she married and tended to her husband and two sons.
Unrelentingly, she became a more serious artist after her 54th birthday. "Since then, I have been painting up a storm," she joyfully exclaimed in 1996. "I use to enjoy doing my Delta Scenes, but now, antebellum cottages and estate Homes are my specialty," she continued emphatically.
It was amazing to watch her light up while proceeding along Scenic Drive as she pointed out various mansions and cottages. With charming excitement she exclaimed, "I painted that one, . . . and that one, . . . and that one too!" Undoubtedly, she had captured on paper so many beautiful and historic homes over the years that she has lost count of.
Dot Hector was in her mid-90s and still painting and selling her work with an enthusiastic spirit before she died. She enjoyed producing pen and inks, color painting and customizing special invitations. She was a most gracious lady and very pround of the fact that at her age she was still very much in demand. She even rendered the five homes to her special style of water colors that were featured in the Pass Christian Historical Society 1995 Tour of Homes. Through the years, many of the mansions and cottages along Scenic Drive and Beach Avenue had been etched by Dot's hand. She also painted homes in Diamondhead as well as many communities throughout Mississippi. It was a real treat to watch her take up her pad and pencil and begn sketching the first rendition of a home. She would then commit the vision of the home to her artful mind, and redo the entire painting at her home studio.
At the first annualCollage Art Show in 1995, eager buyers presented Dot with 18 commissions for sketches or paintings. She observed at the end of the show that she hoped to live long enough to complete all of them. This proved to be a snap for the energetic artist. The cool spring, that year, proved a boon to her, as she always preferred working outside "on the spot."
The remarkable nonagenarian had received many honors during her life-time. She was elected in 1990 to the Coahoma County Hall of Fame; and in 1991, the Clarksdale Press Register named her one of its VIPs. She has been profiled in several publications, including Coast magazine.
Several years before her death in 1997, Ms. Hector had established residency on West Beach Highway, Pass Christian, with her son, Holcomb Hector and his wife. Even though her son restricted her from driving, she unhesitatingly would reproduce any prospect's residence who was willing to provide transport --- or have a friend drive her and paint-sit with her. Not only did she keep a heavy work schedule, but she had many friends in the Pass and therefore, had a busy social schedule.
When asked to do a beach scene, she hesitated and agreed to do it and only afterwards stated, "I don't do water scenes very well."
This water color was one of her final pieces when painted as a special favor to me in 1996.
--- remembered by Bonnie Hogan (1996)
Joie de vivre. A perfect phrase to describe the attitude of Dot Hector, who drinks in every minute of life with indescrib- able enthusiasm and joy. At an age when even the hardiest survivors find it difficult to undertake the mundane tasks of everyday life, Dot meets each new day with the anticipation of creating the watercolors and sketches she executes on com- mission and just for the fun she derives from using her God-given talent. This indomitable lady, who will celebrate her ninety -second birthday in August, possesses energy and dedi- cation to be envied by those a fraction of her age.
At the age of 54, Dot Hector made a startling discovery . . . people were eager to purchase the work she had always done for sheer enjoyment. After the death of her husband, she became a full time artist and since that time has made it her living.
She continued her training, spending three months in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico and another three months in Tokyo, where she learned about the exquisite brush techniques employed by centuries of Japanese artists. She has subsequently pursued her art education in Sarasota.Fla. and at Ole Miss and Delta State.
Dot's early works consisted of capturing for posterity the rapidly vanishing scenes of her beloved Delta. Her nostalgic portrayal of'cabins in the cotton are proudly displayed in homes throughout that part of the state.
Several years ago, Dot was asked by a friend to sketch her house for reproduction on note paper. The artist demurred, finally acquiesced and discovered a whole new world to explore. She has since done hundreds of houses, including many on the coast, where she moved two years ago to be close to her son, Holcomb and his wife, Peggy. "I had to give up driving", she says disgustedly, making her only concession to FatherTime.