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Dottie Oatman is fascinated by the serendipitous results that occur, when she paints with watercolors. She says she likes to experiment when she paints -"to discover new ideas and different painting techniques." She says, “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 and to sing with color and to wallow in rich shadows.”

Her art career started early. When she was only eight years old, Dottie began designing her own greeting cards and started her own company, which she called, The Crassberry Card Company.

She studied art therapy and history at Colorado College in Colorado Springs, and received a B.A.cum laude in history there in 1978. Following that, she enrolled in art therapy classes at George Washington University’s graduate school in Washington, D.C., where she earned an M.A. in Art Therapy in 1982. While studying with Bernie Levy, who founded the Graduate Art Therapy Training Program there, Dottie became interested in painting with watercolors and has been exploring that medium ever since.

She notes that the watercolor works of Frida Kahlo, Marc Chagall, Wolf Kahn, and Charles Reid have largely influenced her work. Dottie says she also draws inspiration from the colorful images of Mexican folk art.

In 1982, Dottie moved to Boulder, Colorado and began a career as an art therapist, working with abused and neglected children. She also taught art in the Arvada Center’s Artstart program and art therapy at Naropa University’s graduate school in Boulder.

Dottie had the opportunity to paint images of Mexico, when she spent a year living in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico with her husband and two daughters. Her watercolor work there was displayed in a solo exhibit at the Duo Duo Galeria. During her time in Mexico, she also became interested in Spanish flamenco and took lessons.

After returning to Boulder, Dottie continued to paint watercolor images from her memories of Mexico and strived to remain fluent in Spanish. From 2001-2007, she managed “La Noche de Artesanias” a program offered through Boulder Housing Partners. It provided group art experiences for Mexican immigrant families living in low-income housing.

Since 2000, Dottie’s studio art business, Make Room For Art - in Boulder, has offered watercolor painting, with classes in landscape, still life, portrait, and garden painting. She has now extended her art classes to include painting tours to Mexico and Spain. Dottie also conducts art therapy sessions for children and adults and does art consultation and commissioned work. Her paintings are exhibited in various venues in Colorado and her work has been featured in a number of publications. Dottie has continued her study of flamenco and participates in various live performances. Her work is represented in Boulder by Mary Williams Fine Art .

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