Artist’s Obituary

Betty Web site

Mary Elizabeth “Betty” Dore, noted muralist and contemporary artist in Los Angeles and New Mexico, died on Saturday, November 15, 2014. Dore was born on October 2, 1937, in Paris, Kentucky. She is survived by her husband, Charles Dore; her three children; Katie Marie Brophy; Joan McDade and Joseph McDade, two grandchildren; Anna and Joshua McDade, her sister; Hallie Hayden and two nieces; Kimberly and Elizabeth Hayden. She also leaves behind several cousins and a host of friends and colleagues who played important roles in her life.

Dore began life as an artist, using crayons and pencils as a child. She used any surface she could find when life was hectic and art supplies were scant. She resumed her formal education in 1971, at Pasadena City College and earned her Associates Degree in 1973. She continued her studies at California State University, Los Angeles, earning a Baccalaureate Degree in 1975, a Master of Fine Arts Degree with distinction, and a California Teaching Credential in 1976.

Dore was a working artist in Los Angeles, California for most of her life. However, she continued painting when she moved to Albuquerque, New Mexico in 2004. Dore was a well-known, accomplished and celebrated artist showing her work in galleries in Los Angeles, Santa Fe, Kentucky and throughout the Southwest with shows in Japan, and Southern China. Her work has appeared in museums and is in many private collections. Dore had a long-standing relationship with the Mural Conservancy of Los Angeles. View some of her murals here.

One of her largest projects was painting murals in three rooms of the Venice-Abbot Kinney Memorial Branch Library. Rachel Bindman, Branch Manager of the Library wrote about Dore, “The murals which depict the history of Venice as well as the wonders of the library have been a popular feature of the branch since it opened in 1995. Our patrons always notice them and comment that they are beautiful and unusual, and they always ask about the artist.”

Covering the collaborative Brand Library and Art Center juried exhibition in 1994, Los Angeles Times art contributor, Nancy Kapitanoff wrote, “Betty Dore conveys a penetrating slice of life in her painting, “Vox Populi, Vox Dei.” The image depicts a neglected urban street corner with piles of trash. But life continues on here, where people go about their business and the Owl Cafe beckons.”

These mixed images were a result of Dore’s travels and her heightened sense of Los Angeles as a city. Seemingly disparate items found their way to a contemporary narrative through Dore, in the genre of still life. These paintings defined Betty’s view of Los Angeles in the last part of the Twentieth Century and the inspiration for her art in New Mexico, came from a life well lived. Her extensive travels abroad, her farm in New Mexico, books she read, poems and story readings on the radio inspired her. She once described herself as a sponge, absorbing everything she saw and interpreting everyday images as both literal and figurative forms of life on canvas.

Dore also had a life-long love affair with politics and food. She enjoyed pickling everything possible from her vegetable garden and making her own bread from scratch. Dore could cook or bake anything without needing a recipe. She believed in growing her own food and perhaps more importantly, the barter system. Betty Dore was at her happiest in Albuquerque, New Mexico and throughout her life, she made room for stray animals and stray people. She spoke Spanish fluently and believed a college education to be essential.

A friend commented, “Betty was our neighbor and friend. Her house was always bustling with life from her working in her garden or taking care of the animals. She will be missed at Thanksgiving dinner. She would always bring homemade bread. We miss you every day. RIP Betty, we love you.”

Anne Walters, of Drepung Gomang Center for Engaging Compassion, had the following to say about Dore, “I found a woman who spoke clearly what she thought, who was open-hearted and broad-minded. Although I wish we could have had more times to talk, we are all so grateful that the visits we achieved brought her some joy and comfort.”

Paula Manning – Chroma Studios Owner, in New Mexico, shared a video of Dore, who spoke candidly about her beliefs against racism and her hopes for immigration reform. In her video, Dore commented, “I want my country to live up to its full potential of life, liberty and justice for all. Not just for the people you like or the people who look like you, but everyone.” 

The family held a private service on November 18, 2014 and honored Dore’s faith as a Buddhist.