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Mother knows best

Art Therapy By Donna Hope Blas

Her mother told her she had been drawing since she could pick up a pencil. As a mother myself and having an artistic daughter, I know for a fact her early drawing days were intentionally nourished.

I’d like you to meet a sweet artist, Dorathina Perez Herrero. Her art is whimsical and enchanting. From her paintings to her handmade dolls, she will captivate your playful child within and you will feel the people in her paintings speak to your heart. Their eyes tell you a story. Dora’s story.

“I’ve always loved art. I don’t think I ever imagined it as a hobby or even a career but just a lifestyle,” Dora said. “My parents and my teachers were always supportive of me as I grew up. up. As for artists, Frida Kahlo was a great influence on me. Seeing her work for the first time felt like a calling. I feel she has that effect on her viewers. There’s magic in her work. I also love William Blake, Leonora Carrington—anything otherworldly inspires me.”

Dorathina Perez Herrero.

Dorathina is married to Jon Herrero. They have five boys. She is the eldest of six in her family. I personally love big families. I too am the eldest (of nine). Dora recalled her childhood was a recurring theme, along with “women, magic, symbolism, folklore and the people I love.”

She added, “Who we are as adults is deeply rooted in who we were as children. People close to me weren’t even aware of certain adversities I experienced. I decided it’s better that way. I was able to express that in my work and that was enough for me.”

Dora earned her degree in fine arts in 2012 from the University of Guam. She also works at UOG’s Micronesian Area Research Center. In 2017, she created illustrations for a poetry book, “Close to the Bone: Poetic Moments of Love and Longing” by Erica Sand. She later did more publications including the cover art of “CHamoru Legends: A Gathering of Stories” that features the legend of Pontan and Fo’na.

“Precious Blossom” Oil on Canvas.

As a mother, Dora advises how to raise an artist child: “Mothers can nourish their little artists by including them in what they do. Paint with them. Set up an area for them. Always encourage them— if art is what they want to do. If not, that’s OK. Picasso said, ‘Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.’”

Dorathina and I hope to see the art programs on island grow. “Having a charter school dedicated to the arts would be great,” she said. “There is so much talent on island. I truly imagine Guam becoming a place people go to for the arts—someday. It’s already happening.”

Her artwork is available at the Guam Museum, The Guam Gallery of Art, and on her Etsy page: MiscMunekas. The photos are a sneak peek from her studio. Enjoy!

Donna Hope Blas is a restoration & 3D artist born and raised on Guam and co-owner of The Guam Gallery of Art. She is a certified therapeutic art life coach. Send feedback to

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