By Colleen Kemp
Master pastel artist, art teacher, entrepreneur, and author, Dorisjean (née Mittmann) Colvin was well known in the Pacific Northwest. A proud self-employed artist her entire life, she created paintings in realistic and impressionistic moods.
Doris was active in Redmond in the 1960s, ‘70s, and ‘80s, known for drawing distinctive scenes of downtown Redmond (now Old Redmond). She drew buildings that are no longer standing, capturing Redmond in days long gone. Doris and her drawings have been honored in local Redmond publications. She also painted Redmond barns and surrounding communities. Many of her paintings hang in the Redmond Historical Society’s office/museum and City Hall. Often she was seen about town by locals with her easel and art supplies as she painted the scene before her. They often became her customers.
She painted until she was 85 years old, and critiqued her students’ paintings into her 89th year. She loved the pastel medium, was a longtime member of the Pastel Society of America, and was instrumental in bringing the soft pastel medium to the Pacific Northwest. “She champions pastels as though they were the neglected Cinderella of the art world,” wrote Fran Walthall in the Sammamish Valley News, September 28, 1977.
A Celebration of Life will be held April 23, 2023, at 211 21st Avenue SW, Olympia, WA beginning at 2 pm. Please contact Colleen Kemp with questions: 360-456-5467.
Donations in Dorisjean’s name can be made to Redmond Historical Society, 16600 NE 80th St., Suite 122, Redmond, WA 98052.
As remembered by Chris Himes, Past Mayor of Redmond, Lifetime Member Redmond Historical Society:
Dorisjean and I became close friends while I was on the City Council. Dorisjean contacted me because she was having a problem with the City's fire department. The department was trying to close down her studio because she not only taught there, she lived there also, and the department argued it wasn’t safe. I helped her get permission to maintain her home and business in the small house across from the Methodist Church. We remained friends from that time on.
Her studio was always busy. People in the area had never had much involvement with the arts, and this gave them a great opportunity to learn art and to be exposed to the world of oil painting.
Dorisjean’s impact on Redmond was her great contribution to Redmond’s history!
Doris was a friend of the Society, and many of her works are preserved in the Society’s Collections.
In March 2022, RHS hosted an exhibit at VALA Art Center, titled “Art and Memory: Viewing Redmond History Through an Artist’s Eye,” which Introduced her work to new fans.
This exhibit included a sampling of her works in the Society's archives, and examined how she captured a moment in Redmond's history. Many of her pieces are also a staple in our permanent displays at the Redmond Historical Society office and offer a unique view of many Redmond community landmarks.
She saw art all around Redmond, from its storefronts to it's historic barns. She shared this view with her students and friends through her annual Christmas cards, containing a numbered print of her latest subject -- a fond memory for many who knew her.
Please reach out to our office at firstname.lastname@example.org or 425-885-2919 for opportunities to view her Christmas cards or other works by Dorisjean Colvin.