A Local Artist Shares How She Stays Creative And Inspired During COVID

This week we interviewed local artist Docia Reed. She is incredibly talented and creates the most exquisite art one may ever lay eyes on. And if you live in Orange County, she’s a local as well! She recently celebrated her one year anniversary of displaying her art at the OC Open Market in Laguna Hills. Keep scrolling to find out more about this unique artist and her story.


Docia Reed Docia Reed

Q: How long have you been painting?

A: I’ve been painting for over 30 years and I began later in life. My husband retired early and he bought a pistachio growth in SE Arizona. I was in my 40’s at the time and in our downtime there was nothing to do, so I watched Bob Ross on PBS and I said to myself: “this looks like so much fun!” My husband suggested I call the local college, Cochise Community College in AZ, to see if they had any classes. As it turned out, they offered a class in Wilcox, AZ.

Docia ReedDocia Reed

Q: How did you start painting?

A: To be honest I didn’t know the difference between any of the mediums, so I wasn’t sure if I wanted to do oil or acrylic at the time. I had no supplies and didn’t know what to expect. The class was made up of about 10 ladies who were farmers’ and ranchers’ wives in the area. This was their dedicated painting day. Everyone welcomed me with open arms and loaned me brushes and canvases, and every week I drove 25 miles to class. Soon I started taking classes with private artists in the area. I participated in some small art fairs in the area just as a beginner and that opened new doors — that’s is how it all got started. I was painting desert scapes naturally while in Arizona. Probably 20 years later, I moved to California and noticed my style of painting transformed to display beautiful oceans and blues. 

Docia Reed

Q: What’s your process like when you paint?

A: Well, it has definitely changed. COVID has had such a big impact, but creatively I thought, “maybe at home I could paint.” But I found the creative atmosphere just wasn’t the same. So when we were able to open up in the market place I was been able to do a little painting there. I found that a lot of the artists within the community have been feeling the same way. This virus has impacted all of us in so many different ways.

Docia Reed

Q: With COVID causing worldwide grief, have you found comfort in a new artistic medium, or is painting still a safe space for you?

A: I think art is my safe space right now. When we started to isolate the first time, I taught a group of about 20 people every week in Laguna and we would socialize in person. After COVID, I asked people to send pictures of their art so we could critique and talk about our feelings as we painted. A lot of people participated originally but they weren’t painting as much. They couldn’t pick up a brush. There’s kind of this feeling of being “stuck” right now. This pushed me to try to help people become even more inspired. Our group shrank from over 20 people to only 3 people who were actively painting, so it’s obvious that there’s grief going on.

Docia Reed

Q: If you could paint your feelings, what would that look like?

A: I teach a class here at the Open Market. One student painted her fears. She called it her “coronavirus painting.” I really liked how cathartic this might be, so I made a piece of my own. My work is a little bit different now than it was before. To me, painting has to come from within. It’s not something I can just do. It’s something that must be felt.

Docia Reed

Q: How can people meet you?

A: The Open Market is open during the week from 10am-6pm and you can stop by anytime to say hi. I’m just one of the art galleries up here. Masks are required. It’s over 10,000 square feet so it’s very easy to distance. I hope to see you soon!


Do you plan on checking out more of Docia Reed’s art in person or online? let us know in the comments below!


Docia Reed

About Docia

Docia Reed is an artist who has been painting well over thirty years, and lives in Orange County, CA. Inspired by Bob Ross, she began a powerful journey of creating some of the most beautiful and unique paintings, that are both engaging and captivating to look at. She displays her artwork through OC Open Market, you can checkout their website HERE to view her art, along with countless other shops and artists who work alongside her.

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