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Dawn Grimes is a native of Queens, New York. She is the oldest of three siblings who also make their home in southern California. Her family moved first to Mt. Clemens, Michigan, then to Los Angeles, California when she was eight years old.

Her parents recognized her artistic abilities and encouraged her in every way possible. She always had a ready supply of paints, pencils and pastels along with paper and canvas. When it came time for gift giving her parents encouraged her to paint a picture or design something original.

Music was also encouraged and Dawn played clarinet from third grade through high school. Dawn graduated from UCLA with a BA in Art and Architecture and a minor in film. One of her professors recognized a natural ability for architectural design and recommended she consider a career in that field. However, her artistic journey led her to clothes and jewelry design in addition to creating a line of multicultural dolls which were later sold through Nordstrom.

During the past 10 years Dawn has been commissioned to paint a wide variety of homes and commercial buildings, including a Chino Dairy, with one side of the rock being the vintage dairy in Chino and the other side being the new dairy in Bakersfield. She has painted homes from across the country, including homes in Alaska, New Jersey, and Connecticut as well as many homes in California.

Dawn is a Board member of the Claremont American Red Cross and a Board member of the Claremont Community Foundation, on which she serves as the chairman of the Visual Arts Committee.

Artist's Statement

Since the late 1990s my goal as an artist has been to paint architectural structures in a unique way, recording for posterity the beauty and uniqueness of buildings and learning about the history of those buildings through the stories of the people who want them preserved on stone. Architecture defines our lives in so many ways, from memories of the homes we grew up in to the schools and commercial structures that have special meanings for us. My painting connects my love of architecture with my love of history and what connects people to the buildings in their lives.

I use rocks from local rock quarries and choosing each one is a special process. I like being around rocks, seeing them in the earth and looking at the unlimited shapes and sizes. Their weightiness and solidity just seem to fit the idea of a structure. The stone has to fit the structure and its surrounding so it may take a week or two to find the right stone. Once that is done I prime the surface with my special formula and then paint the structure freehand. I usually take from between 100-150 photos of the structure and go back often to do color checks and detail checks. If a client lives far away from my studio I instruct them on what kinds of photos I’ll need. I’ve painted everything from a two room cottage to a dairy farm to a yacht that was the client’s home on their round the world tour. I always tell people that it is not the size of the building or how old or new it is….but what it means to you that counts. It would be an understatement to say that I love the presentation time. It is truly exciting to experience the reaction of people when they see their stone.

Right now I am painting on rocks that weigh between 50-75 pounds. I prefer painting on a stone that I can lift myself….that’s the test I use for the weight . It also means that the client will be able to move the rock if needed. That said, I am already priming myself for the request to paint a boulder. I enjoy working in great detail and have a collection of brushes with only a few hairs. My medium is acrylics and each piece is sealed with an archival quality sealer so the beauty and brightness of the Rock can last for many years to come. I also make a swivel stand so the rock can easily be turned around and viewed from different angles. I add my signature kite on each painting which means “fly high and reach for your dreams”, which is what I am doing as an artist and which is what I hope to inspire other artists to do.

I love train stations and one of my goals is to cross the country painting them and the old structures that surround them. Recently, I saw an old abandoned factory and it was beautiful to me. There are a lot of buildings that may soon face the wrecking ball, buildings that represent moments in time, buildings that were once filled with people and activities, buildings that were important in the everyday history of this country. In painting them I connect with their energy and create something that others can enjoy and learn from.

Dawn Grimes December 2007


"The Artist at work."
(Click on image above for a closer look)

"A Boulder Canvas" Claremont Courier, February 14, 2009
(Click on image to read article)

Dawn presents stone to the
former mayor of Long Beach, CA,
June 26, 2006


Sketched In Stone • Las Vegas, NV 89117 • sketchedinstone@gmail.com • (702) 275-0499

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