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Dottie Stanley views life through the eyes of a starving artist

Since 1989, Dottie Stanley has held two careers. The artist is also a wealth management adviser with Merrill Lynch, conducting workshops and seminars for clients.

Kennedy Publishing recognized Stanley for being “The Best of American Oil Painters 2010,” one of 200 selected. She also attained fellow status of the American Artist Professional League, and was invited to join the Salmagundi Club on Fifth Avenue in New York.

Stanley has won many awards in art competitions. Her collectors live throughout the world. She founded and is past president of Allied Artists Association of San Diego, a nonprofit group of 100 local artists. She was 2009 president of Patrons of the Prado. Stanley is also a board member of Charter 100 and has been president of La Jolla Newcomers, the American Businesswomen’s Association La Jolla Charter Chapter, and other organizations.


In 2007, she won the Living Legacy Award from the Women’s International Center in San Diego. She is married to David Stanley, who is retired from the U.S. Army and a New York advertising company. The couple have two children; David, of Melbourne, Australia, and Celia Sepulveda of La Jolla. The couple have four grandchildren.
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What brought you to La Jolla?

I came to San Diego on vacation from northern New Jersey in the 1980s and fell in love with La Jolla. I said, “This is going to be home one day.” My husband’s mother lived in San Diego, and when my two children left New Jersey to attend college in Southern California, my husband and I followed shortly afterward to be with family and come to live in our dream place.

What makes this town special to you?

First, the weather is the best in the country. The physical beauty of La Jolla makes it feel like paradise. The charitable community culture that permeates the town gives one the special connection of giving back and belonging to something special. The friendly and intelligent people who live here, and of course, the vast culture of visual and performing arts that thrive here, all contribute to the mix.

If you could snap your fingers and have it done, what might you add, subtract or improve in the area?

I would create a multilevel visual arts center for all levels of artists aspiring to attain higher excellence. The center would give artists a chance to mentor those who have not yet attained their best, but are striving to do so.

This visual arts center would be a true community art center hosting famous artists from all over the world to demonstrate and give lectures. There would be ongoing and specialized exhibits and auctions. The environment would be a social one. Artists would be able to drop in at any time to create art, paint from models or still life, or create abstract works of art. The artists who teach here would also do community outreach.

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Most importantly, it would be a magnet for the community to come together for advancing the appreciation of the arts, and a place to nurture and inspire artists to advance further for the benefit of all.

What inspires you?

Hard work and giving my best effort in my fields of expertise inspires me. Figuring out financial solutions for my investment clients, and creating art that comes from the center of my being (and also moves the viewer) inspires me.

If you hosted a dinner party for eight, whom (living or deceased) would you invite?

Warren Buffet, to try to get a fraction of his investment knowledge; Sally Krawcheck, president of Global Wealth Management Advisors at Bank of America/Merrill Lynch, because I respect and admire her achievements in the financial world; Rembrandt van Rijn, because he inspired me to paint dramatic lights and shadows; David Leffel, oil painter and teacher, who is a master of realism and traditional art, and continues to inspire me every day; Marilyn Monroe, because she exuded captivating charisma of the female gender; Elvis Presley, because he is my favorite rock ‘n’ roll star and I would ask him to sing for me; Bill Gates, because of his role in business and philanthropy; and Eleanor Roosevelt, as a pioneer in creating programs and services for women.

Tell us about what you are currently reading.

“The Overton Window” by Glenn Beck.

What is your most prized possession?

A painting of mine called “Don’t Look at Me II,” which was featured in the San Diego Museum of Art for three months as part of the San Diego Artist Guild best artists.

What do you do for fun?

Guess? I paint and spend time with my children and grandchildren. I like to watch action movies, too.

Please describe your greatest accomplishment.

It’s learning to overcome adversity through tapping into my center of being and trusting myself to walk the right path.

What is your philosophy of life?

Explore your full potential by taking and giving opportunities, and give everything you do your best effort possible so that you can reflect back on your life and be proud of what you did and how you did it.
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There are no mistakes; there are only challenges that we learn from. Pass on your knowledge and inspiration to those who want to expand on it and give it to others. Character is everything.