Local Art for Your Home: Danielle Douglin, Oil Painter

As a youngster growing up in St. Thomas, Danielle Douglin could often be found drawing on a notepad while situated in a pew of the church her father pastored. More than a dozen years later, Danielle could be found drawing on a notepad—except in this case, it was in the courtroom, where her mind often wandered while interning at a public defender’s office.

The 2020 Florida Southern College graduate began her collegiate career as a political science major, but her lifelong passion for art eventually won out, and she graduated with a double major in graphic design and studio art. Today, she makes a living as a Digital Studio Designer at Publix, and on the side she continues to hone her skills crafting oil paintings on large canvases—a hobby that took root from an art class her sophomore year.

She loves to create bright and vibrant paintings that tell stories by fashioning vivid memories of iconic local spots she holds dear. Some of her oil paintings showcase local favorites like the Southgate Shopping Center, but others are distinctly personal, such as artwork of Twistee Treat or the Checker’s located in North Lakeland.

“With Checkers…I used to remember going with my family—like my sister in her (Volkswagen) Beetle—and we’d grab fries on the way home,” she recalls. “In my paintings I want it to kind of feel like what it was like in that space…so I like to have smooth things be a little bit rough or have directional paint strokes to add dimension to my paintings.”

The Volkswagen Beetle is a recurring subject in Douglin’s work. She inherited her dad’s affinity for Beetles, and she eventually purchased one herself.

“In college people would be like, ‘I knew you were at Starbucks or Mitchell’s because I saw your car there,’” she says. “So I thought about how I could put a physical representation of myself into my paintings without putting myself in them—kind of like a ‘Where’s Waldo?’ thing to represent my experience growing up in Lakeland.”

Douglin’s work has been featured at Mitchell’s Coffee House in the past, and those interested in purchasing her work can check out danielledouglin.com or contact her on Instagram at @danielledouglin.