Dramatic Results

Painter Renee Doty puts mood and atmosphere into focus.


"Crab Cove."

Courtesy of the artist

When Renee Doty’s classmates were flipping hamburgers for summer wages in the mid-’70s, the enterprising 16-year-old was getting paid to make ceramics, expanding a lifelong artistic passion.

Today, Doty, 57, lives in Alameda and prefers mixed media, including watercolor, oil paint, and pastels. Her recent paintings are small works on wood panels, lovely atmospheric takes on environmental settings as familiar as Crab Cove and the Oakland hills and as majestic as Colorado’s Front Range. They range from 5-by-5 inches to 12-by-12 inches.


Pristine Sunset.

Influenced by the abstract expressionism of Richard Diebenkorn, Doty finds inspiration in nature, which she usually explores by bike or on foot. She sometimes takes photos with her phone for reference when she returns to her cozy Victorian apartment to paint.

“I don’t paint faithful representations,” she said. “It’s a reminder, and I just build on that. I don’t know where it’s going to take me.”

Dressed in blue jeans, a plaid shirt, and flip-flops for an interview at her tiny abode, the athletic, long-trussed brunette and yoga practitioner gingerly pulled out her wood panels for display. Several hung in Rhythmix Cultural Works’ exhibition Art for Turbulent Times May 10 through June 1. A goal with each artwork, Doty said, is to convey the mood, atmosphere, and drama she felt about the particular time, place, and atmosphere she is portraying.



Doty has a BFA in painting and drawing from California College of the Arts, though she called her alma mater California College of Arts and Crafts. A longtime graphic artist and manager for a label manufacturer until 2012, she grew up in Orange County. Her original Bay Area move included a love interest and art school where she got grants, scholarships, “emptied my bank account,” and thrived on the nurturing she received.

Doty moved to Alameda from Oakland five years ago. “I love it here. I love Alameda Women Artists,” she said, calling out the organization she joined soon after landing in Alameda. “I feel good here, more creative. AWA has been very positive for me. It’s a supportive and noncompetitive environment. There’s no jealousy.”


Published online on June 15, 2017 at 8:00 a.m.

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