It’s easy to find a gem when visiting Jayne’s Reliable in Dagsboro — from stained glass to repurposed cabinets, local honey to homemade soap, blown glass and everything in between.
The store, owned by Karen and David Jayne, offers furniture and sundries, and numerous items from created by local artists. And, on Saturday, April 27, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Jayne’s Reliable will hold a “Meet the Artist” event, featuring Arlene Bailor.
“We sell tons of her work. It’s just so charming. She does a lot of stuff with local lighthouses, crabs, water birds, mermaids, and stuff that really suits the beach lover,” said Karen Jayne of Bailor. “We always have her work in our store.”
Bailor is a Dagsboro watercolor and acrylic artist, but she didn’t start painting until seven years ago.
“My neighbor was taking an art class in Salisbury, from a well-known artist named Tom Jones,” recalled Bailor. “She asked me to go with her, so I went to a class, and it was the first time I held a brush in my hand. He was teaching watercolors. He was just such an amazing teacher — very relaxed, laidback, very encouraging.”
Bailor painted with Jones for four years, until he passed away unexpectedly. She said she credits him for pushing her to show her work.
“At the time, he kept telling me I needed to get out there and show my artwork. I was not ready to do that, but when he passed away, I thought, I’ll try and see what happens. My goodness — I started doing local shows, and they’ve all been awesome. People have been so generous and encouraging and buying my artwork.”
Bailor is known as the “American Flag Artist,” as she incorporates a hidden American flag into all of her work.
“The flag really gets an awesome response. I incorporate it into everything that I paint. We are so fortunate to be in this beautiful, beautiful country and have all of these wonderful things that surround us. What better way to show that, than our symbol?” she said.
“When I first started painting, I didn’t incorporate the American flag. After about a year, when I was showing, I thought, ‘You know, I’m really grateful to live in the United States and live among people who appreciate what I do and have the freedom to do it. What can I do to show that?’ The response has been incredible. I haven’t had one negative response. They love it.”
Bailor said the flag is always a conversation-starter when she attends shows.
“It’s a great opener. People are interested and they ask questions, and it’s fun to respond with the American flag being in my artwork. I hide it and encourage people to look for it. They get tickled when they find it, and sometimes are surprised when they see where I’ve hidden it. It gives you an opportunity to talk to people and to find out where they’re from, and you form a bond with people who are purchasing your artwork.”
She added that she never knows for sure where the flag will go, but it always makes it into her work.
“Sometimes I do. A lot of times when I’m painting I’ll go, ‘Oh, what an awesome place to put it!’ and I’ll start incorporating it into the painting. At other times, it’ll be after it’s finished, and I’ll sit there and go, ‘Hmm, where am I going to put this little guy?’ But I always find a place; I’ve never been stumped.”
Her paintings are done in watercolor and acrylic on canvas, but Bailor also paints vintage boxes and furniture.
“My husband always says, ‘Don’t stand too close to her for too long, because she’ll pick up a paint brush and start painting you.’ Which might be true,” she said with a laugh. “It’s a lot of fun, and it’s been enjoyable. What a great way to pass the time! I’ve just met so many wonderful people.”
Bailor now teaches an art class for the Salvation Army and is a member of the Millsboro Art League. She has won awards through the Millsboro Art League, as well as Delaware Technical and Community College’s Adult Art Exhibits.
“I never thought painting would expand the way it has. It has been very exciting and fun. It’s not something that is boring, mostly because I meet such neat people.”
Saturday’s event will be Bailor’s second Meet the Artist appearance at Jayne’s Reliable.
“She’ll be here, and she’ll be bringing in a whole lot of new pieces that she’s painted. And then she’s going to be here painting during the day, so people can see her doing her work,” said Jayne. “Most likely, she’ll be painting on a box of some sort. She does canvas, but she also does these beautiful wooden boxes.”
Jayne said it’s an extra treat to have Bailor visit the store, as she designed the store’s new logo, ready for when they move to another location later this spring.
“We’re really excited about that,” she said.
“They were very encouraging and have always been very supportive of me. It’s exciting to see their business grow and mine grow with them,” added Bailor of Jayne’s Reliable.
Jayne said that many local artists have approached their business about being featured in the store.
“Most of them have found us. They’ve come in and looked at our shop. They’ll tell us a little about what they do and show us some pieces. If it’s something we feel works in our shop, ‘Come on in,’” she said. “They’ve all come in and approached us. It’s a big compliment that people feel our shop is worthy of housing their artwork.”
Jayne said that she and her husband are committed to supporting local artists through their store.
“We just feel really strongly that there is so much local talent here in the greater Bethany area. We have several local artists that we feature in our store, and we feel it’s really important to support them. We have a son who’s an artist up in Connecticut, so we know the struggles of an artist. Anything local, we’re just all about supporting the local economy and our local talent.”
Jayne said she hopes everyone will stop by the shop on Saturday to support a local artist.
“Lots of people — tourist, as well as those who live here year-round — can come in and see a great representation of some of our local talent.”
Jayne’s Reliable is located at 33119 Main Street in downtown Dagsboro. For more information, call (302) 927-0049 or visit www.facebook.com/jaynesreliable.