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    Dottie Oatman-Make Room for Art


    Often I see something or read something and say to myself, “I HAVE to paint that.” I don’t always know why, but a force in me prevails — I paint. I paint with my senses. My paintings capture a sense of wonder and delight in the sensual beauty that surrounds us daily. I want my paintings to come alive with freshness, to sing with color, to wallow in rich shadows. Sometimes I find myself telling a kind of story through my paintings, perhaps clearly a drama between the images or characters painted, or at other times, not so clearly, a suggested relationship between objects on a table or a vase of flowers past their prime. I love the spontaneity of watercolor painting. I love to experiment in some way with each new painting, following the question of “what would happen if…??” I am always learning something new in my painting process, or re-learning old things temporarily forgotten.

    I grew up in Kansas City and loved art making from the very beginning, creating my own greeting card company at age 8, Crassberry Card Company, with the slogan “Quality Counts.” I took lots of art classes at Colorado College and, following college, went to graduate school in art therapy at George Washington University in Washington, D.C. It is here where I started painting with Bernie Levy and got hooked. I’ve been exploring watercolor painting ever since. I’m currently most inspired by artists Frida Kahlo, Marc Chagall, Wolf Kahn, Charles Reid, and all sorts of folk art from Mexico.

    Upon moving to Boulder in 1982, I worked many years as an art therapist with abused and neglected children, taught art in the Artstart program at the Arvada Center, and then taught in the graduate program in art therapy at The Naropa University from 1992–2001. In 1998, my husband, two daughters and I lived in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico for one year where I painted, learned Spanish, flamenco dance, and had an exhibit of my paintings at Galeria Duo Duo before leaving.

    I continued painting images from this Mexico experience long after returning to Boulder and kept speaking Spanish while running “La Noche de Artesanias,” a program through Boulder Housing Partners that offered group art experiences for Mexican immigrant families in low-income housing, from 2001-2007. I am now teaching painting classes, exhibiting my work, practicing art therapy, taking flamenco dance, and trying to keep up my Spanish. I am excited to be offering painting tours to Mexico, Spain, and perhaps beyond, in the future.