Rural Living inspires Damascus area artist

By Patrick Raftis in Arts & Music, Community, People


Watercolour artist Christy Doraty finds herself with no shortage of inspiration, despite living a long way from the bright lights of the big cities.
“There’s so much that is going on in these small towns,” notes Doraty of the Wellington North communities which surround her Damascus area home. She marvels at the spirit of community co-operation that results in massive events like the Mount Forest Fireworks Festival and other celebrations in the area.
“When you see how Mount Forest or Arthur can get together and get these things going, it’s really amazing.”
Most of Doraty’s paintings reflect the rural scenes she loves, and which led her to settle and raise her family with her artist husband Michael (an animator) on a farmhouse in the former West Luther Township. Her latest, a meticulously-detailed painting of that most Canadian of scenes, a family road hockey game on a tree-lined street, is just one example of the way rural life inspires this artist.
Originally from the Orangeville area, Doraty and her family settled just outside of the tiny community of Monck, about 15 years ago. After honing her artistic skills at the Ontario College of Art and the University of Guelph in the late ‘60s and early ‘70s, Doraty worked for a time as a graphic artist.
After her first of three daughters was born she decided she preferred the flexibility of freelance painting to the nine-to-five routine and began seeking commissioned work. In the early days, she would literally find a house she wanted to paint, walk up to the door and convince the owners to give her a shot. Today, she gets much of her work by referral, and often from repeat clients. While her favorite jobs involve clients who ask her to “do me a painting” and leave the subject up to her, Doraty focuses mainly on homes or other subjects that clients ask her to paint for them. It’s a choice of material she’s quite happy with.
“A plain landscape seems to lack something; I always feel there needs to be a focal point and a solid form in the middle of that.”
Likewise the decision to work in watercolour is about Doraty’s own preference.
“It has spontaneity, or a freshness that appeals to me.”
Christy’s subjects include everything from neighbouring farmhouses to people enjoying their favorite activities.
Her incredibly detailed work is the result of her methodology, which includes taking dozens of pictures from a variety of angles; including both wide-angle shots and close-ups of areas she plans to detail. The photos are then pieced together to create the scene she wants to paint.
The process involves many hours of meticulous work, as Doraty takes no shortcuts. All her work is done using archival quality materials.
“When I start a painting, I have to do the best job that I can do,” she states.
Dorarty’s work has been widely recognized in the artistic community. In 2007, she participated in a prestigious show and sale at the McMichael Canadian art museum in Kleinburg, Ontario. Owning one of her pieces can cost about $1,500 for a standard-sized original watercolor, or as little as $175 for a giclee print on watercolor paper.
To see more of Christy Doraty’s work go to, or contact her at 519-848-6387.