The Work Of Local Artist Now On Display At Maumee Branch Library

Doris Mathias is a local artist who has created beautiful paintings in alcohol ink and watercolor. She studied at the Art Institute of Pittsburg and spent 35 years as a freelance sign artist for The Andersons before moving into watercolor and alcohol ink paintings. MIRROR PHOTOS BY NANCY GAGNET
This butterfly, painted with alcohol ink and featuring vivid shades of orange and yellow, is on display at the Maumee Branch Library.

BY NANCY GAGNET | MIRROR REPORTER — Doris Mathias has the same passion for creating beautiful works of art as she did in the early 1960s when she first began her studies.

The 79-year-old Maumee resident has been honing her art skills for decades, first as a commercial artist and then as a watercolor artist. More recently, she has embraced alcohol ink, creating stunning abstract work.

“It’s vibrant and it immediately took my eye and I have just had so much fun with it,” she said.

Several of her paintings are currently featured at the Maumee Branch Library art gallery.

Alcohol ink is a relatively new art medium. While it is like watercolor in that a pigment mixes with a water, alcohol ink creates a different effect when the alcohol and color pigments combine. The result is a blended mix of bold, vibrant colors coupled with faded, subdued colors – depending on the reaction between the alcohol and pigment. 

“As you can see, it does its thing,” she said of the technique. “It is harder to control, much harder than using watercolor,” she said.

Working with alcohol ink also makes it challenging to have a specific shape or image in mind when sitting down to work. For Doris, that is what makes the creative process enjoyable – sometimes she has an image in mind before she begins, and sometimes the image forms as she goes along.

“I don’t always know. It is just whatever you find in it when you are doing it,” she said.

This watercolor painting in bold red features a young girl and whimsical flowers.

A Bowling Green native, she studied one year at the Art Institute of Pittsburgh. She left school in 1962 to work full time at Ohio Bell, where she served as a layout artist for the Yellow Pages. In 1965, she began a 35-year career as a freelance artist for The Andersons, creating the signage for the retail stores. 

“Letters and numbers I love – I don’t know where I get that, but I do, and The Andersons treated me so well,” she said.

With the advance of computer sign-making, Doris gradually shifted her interest from making signs to painting with watercolors. She took lessons from various teachers, including Bob Fagan, an artist who lived in Michigan and Florida.

“He was wonderful, and he always told me to ‘paint the light,’” she said.

While attending an art festival eight years ago at Crosby Gardens, she saw an alcohol ink painting by artist Kristen Dukat and knew she wanted to work with it.

Doris is a member of the Toledo Artist Club and the Toledo Women’s Art League.

Several years ago, she won best of show at the Toledo Artist Club for abstract work.

Insisting that being disciplined with time has helped her work evolve, Doris continues to spend one hour per day watching artist instruction on YouTube. She has completed one commissioned piece and continues to paint with watercolor but is drawn more often to abstract work created with alcohol ink.

When asked how long it takes to create a painting, her standard answer is her age, 79.

“Because there is so much that goes into it – it’s all of your experiences,” she said. 

The best part of creating art is the feeling it brings to others, she added.

“It’s a wonderful tool to keep my mind going,” she said. “I think what I love most is that people like it. It is so touching to me that my work would bring joy to someone – what a compliment.”

Doris Mathias’s artwork will continue in the Maumee Branch Library art gallery until Saturday, August 14.

For questions about any of the pieces on display, please contact Doris Mathias at (419) 893-8851.

Other artists featured in 2021 will include:

August 16-September 30: Topix Camera Club (photography).

October 1-November 15: Sadie Palmer Wilcox & Ptah Amissah-Aidoo (paint, print, charcoal, pencil).

November 16-December 31: Marc and Kathy Woodward (travel & nature photography).

The library does not facilitate the sale of artwork of any of the featured artists. 

Those interested in purchasing a piece of artwork on display may contact the artist directly.

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