Inspirational Women: Pat Douthwaite

Pat Douthwaite
An Uncompromising Vision by Pat Douthwaite

I have been reading today about Scottish artist Pat Douthwaite, 1939-2002, some of whose artwork you see here, above and below. There is a full obituary on her in The Herald, Scotland (extracts below) and much more informaton available from a quick internet search.

[Douglas Hall described Pat Douthwaite as] ”a modern representative of the peintres maudits, [one of the] unfortunate creative people like Modigliani, who were overwhelmed by the difficulties of life”…

”Like Baudelaire she is an artist able to create very directly and very beautifully out of the experience of evil whether it is felt as pain, alienation, or psychic distress.”

The lasting interest in such work, he felt, derives from the tension between the ugliness with which the artist grapples and the beauty of the means of expression.

I stumbled across Pat Douthwaite through The Scottish Gallery who have an exhibition of her work on next month, July 2014.  They say:

Pat Douthwaite was born in Glasgow in 1934. She began to study mime and modern dance with Margaret Morris, whose husband, J. D. Fergusson, encouraged her to paint. This important influence apart, she was self-taught. In 1958 Pat lived in Suffolk with a group of painters, including the Scots Colquhoun and MacBryde, and William Crozier. From 1959-1988 she travelled widely, to N. Africa, India, Peru, Venezuela, Europe, U.S.A., Kashmir, Nepal, Pakistan, Ecuador and from 1969 lived part of the time in Majorca, more recently in various properties across the Scottish Borders. She died in July 2002 at Broughty Ferry.

I really loved the artwork shown on The Scottish Gallery site and have been taking a wider look at her other work from searching the net. Very much in the style of art brut or outsider art, Pat Douthwaite’s alienated figurative work, so often reflective of a personal psychological/physical dissonance between an artist’s perception of self, reality and inter-action with the outside world is a form of art that speaks to me on a very personal level.

My personal dissonance is very much centred on chronic illness and the consequences of this, both physically and mentally, on my self image and interactions with others but such feelings are not entirely unlike those experienced by many women (actually just people generally, I suspect) who do not, for a variety of reasons, find themselves conforming to societal expectations.

Looking at Pat Douthwaite’s work which seems to me to creatively represent such dissonance, it was no surprise to read, towards the end of The Herald’s obit that she was:

Constantly haunted by a sense of failure and the feeling of being an outsider.

I probably won’t be able to go to The Scottish Gallery’s Pat Douthwaite exhibition but I have ordered a couple of books to read up further.  I would love to hear from any other admirers of her work or the thoughts of anyone who is able to get across to the exhibition.

Final Instructions Before Take Off, Pat Douthwaite, 1976
Pat Douthwaite
Zoom Bird and Bees by Pat Douthwaite
Bird Shoulder by PatDouthwaite
Señora Conlune by Pat Douthwaite
Pat Douthwaite
By Pat Douthwaite


The Uncompromising Image by Pat Douthwaite
Bad Hair Day by Pat Douthwaite

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