“Perfect harmony” is a good way to describe what Linda Donlin has been up to lately.
“You kind of feel like you’re doing what you’re meant to do,” she says. “Like there’s something inside that you have a gift for and you’re using it.”
Donlin is a longtime Bismarck resident. And as recently as two years ago, she was something of a workaholic. “I was an executive, and spent a lot of hours working,” she says.
But after retiring from work two years ago, she was afforded the chance to re-ignite a lifelong passion: “I got out a great big canvas and my paints, and they weren’t dried up, so I was able to go ahead and start painting again.”
Linda Donlin’s style is unique: bold colors and vivid textures, yet still impressionistic and soft. But her chosen subject matter is anything but soft.
“So I had this idea that I really wanted to do one of Beverly because she’s really dynamic.”
That’s Beverly Everett, musical director for the Bismarck-Mandan Symphony — and now, a painter’s muse. “I love how it fuses so many different artistic connections together, and especially that she captured us actually rehearsing and performing, and conveyed that onto canvas,” Everett says.
And she went beyond the symphony — to ballet and choral music, including the Bismarck-Mandan Civic Chorus, of which she’s a longtime member.
“It has so much energy and vibrancy in the painting itself that it’s an honor to be a part of her work,” says Tom Porter, the director of the chorus.
Donlin’s collected works are a celebration of the local arts — something has Linda and her subjects singing in unison.
“I believe that art is the heart of a community,” Porter says. “It’s really the pulse, the lifeblood that flows through the community.”
“It gives the community kind of a heart — a heartbeat, I think,” Donlin says.
You can see the entire collection, “Inside the Music,” from now until the end of September at the Capital Gallery in Bismarck.