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Article In the Leaf Chronicle
California native Jill Dockins never thought she'd become a Tennessean — let alone a mural artist.
Now she's both, living in Sango where she creates stunning
murals in beautiful blankets of color, contrast and creativity. "I started
my early years of college focusing on art, then decided I was too shy to 'sell' myself, so I went into teaching," she said.
Jill taught for 10 years, and had two children with husband
James, also a teacher.
On summer breaks, the family traveled the country by RV
and marveled at low housing costs outside California.
When Jill took a week-long "mommy break" in 2005, she chose
Franklin because of a mural class there that she found online. She thought
it would be fun, as well as an opportunity for professional development.
"I fell in love with the Franklin/Cool Springs area. I
checked housing prices, and they were ridiculously lower than California," she said.
Back in California she told James, "I could move there," and that's just what they decided to do.
James applied for teaching positions around Nashville and got three job offers within a day. He flew to Tennesee, while Jill packed and sold
The Dockins found several lovely Franklin homes, but after Hurricane Katrina, they were snapped up. Disappointed, but not discouraged,
the couple expanded their search.
Jill said an online inquiry for family-friendly communities
brought up Clarksville, and in October 2005, they struck gold.
"We found our dream home in Eastland Green. We packed up
and hugged and kissed my entire family good-bye," she said. "We felt like the luckiest people in the world."
Jill became a stay-at-home mom, which cut the family's
"Try living on one teacher's salary with a modest mortgage
and two kids," she said. "We've learned to make every dollar scream."
To earn extra, Jill turned to her artistry.
"I decided I had to get out of my shy shell and start some
gorilla marketing," she said.
Jill transformed a bedroom into a studio, with a bare 9-by-14-foot
wall to pin and paint large canvasses. She named her venture, "Miss Mural," and set up a Web site.
Murals aren't always painted directly on walls. Jill said
using canvas is more practical, as the murals can be removed and reused.
"The murals in the While House are all painted this way,"
Her immaculate brick home is filled with her masterpieces:
a Harry Potter-themed room rife with English castles against midnight blue skies for daughter, Cara, 8, and a realistic jungle
motif teeming with wild animals for son, Quinn, 2.
An upstairs playroom is all sky, light blue and airbrushed
with cottonball clouds. A work in progress, Jill plans to add airplanes and helicopters.
Jill paints on walls if a client wishes, but charges less
for canvas, although the cost is more.
"It saves time on a job site ... remember, I'm a stay-at-home-mommy,
too," she said.
The canvas is fire-resistant and doesn't shrink, fade or
fray. It's applied like wallpaper, so smoothly an observer would think paint was applied on bare wall.
Dockins has decorated walls for a few businesses, but most
"I get jobs through word-of-mouth, from my mommies group
and my Bunco group," she said, adding with a smile that she's "open to bartering, too."
Sandy Britt is a Community reporter and
can be reached at 245-0751 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Clarksville Tennessee TN Sango Hopkinsville Oak Grove KY Kentucy
Pleasant View Coopertown Springfield Joelton Ashland City Erin Dickson Dover Nashville Cumberland River
Murals muralist artist commission large scale pet portraits childrens
kids business commercial residential signage nursery bedroom decor decorating wall design painting
FOR BOY ROOMS
and Clouds Airplanes, Space ships, Helicopters, Hot Air Balloons, Jets, UFO’s, Kites, Birds of Prey, Bats and Owls,
Outer space, Star Wars, Star Trek, Parachutes Landscapes Jungle, Safari, Dirt Bikes, Cars, Transportation,
Trains, Farms, Tractors, Construction, Westerns, Cowboys/Indians, Castles/knights, Dragons, Bugs/Insects, Dinosaurs, Rock
climbing, camping, hunting, wilderness, Skiing, Snowboarding, Spring Scene, Winter Scene, Fall Scene, Fire truck, Fire Station
Cityscapes Super heroes, Spiderman, Superman, Batman, the Incredibles, Circus, Circus
Animals/Clowns, Sports, video games, Inventions/Science, skateboarding, graffiti, Transformers, Seascapes Oceans, underwater, scuba diving, swimming, dolphins, whales, sharks, Finding Nemo, Pirates,
boats, ships, sea, nautical, beach/seaside, surfing, submarines, Noah’s Ark, Sponge Bob Square Pants, deserted island,
treasure, Maps, Night time, Nursery rhymes, Harry Potter, Mythical, Myths, Fairy Tales,
Disney, Maps, Excavating dinosaurs with raised plaster 3-d murals, Tree House, Medieval, Military, Marines, Army, Navy, Air force, Civil or Revolutionary War Battle
scene, cartoon characters, giants, portraits, snakes, Reptiles, Alligators, Lizards, caves,
FOR GIRL ROOMS Skyscapes and Clouds, Hot Air Balloons, Kites, Birds, Pegasus (flying mythical horse), Butterflies, Rainbows,
Dragon Flies, Landscapes Jungle, Safari, Farms, Horses, Gardens, Flowers, Fairies, , Castles, Princesses, Unicorns, Lady Bugs,
camping, wilderness, Ballet, Water falls, Spring Scene, Winter Scene, Fall Scene, Cityscapes Super heroines, Wonder Woman,
Batgirl, the Incredibles, Circus, Circus Animals/Clowns, Sports, video games, Shopping, store fronts, beauty shop, Sleep-over, Hip-Hop dancing, Seascapes Oceans,
underwater, scuba diving, swimming, dolphins, whales, Finding Nemo, sea, beach/seaside, surfing, Noah’s Ark, Sponge
Bob Square Pants, islands, Night time, Nursery rhymes, Harry Potter, Mythical, Myths, Fairy Tales, Disney, Maps, raised plaster 3-d murals, Tree House, , cartoon characters, portraits, trees, Paris France, Diva, stage, theater curtains, Tierra’s, jewels,
horse drawn carriage, whimsical, shabby chic, sewing, American Girls, dolls,
dress-up, Historical settings, Murals catered to any girls interest