About Doris Ettlinger

A native of Staten Island, Doris Ettlinger lives with her husband Michael McFadden in an old gristmill near Hampton NJ, where they raised their two children. Doris teaches the Musconetcong Watercolor Group on the third floor of the mill in a space overlooking the river. She also teaches workshops at the Center for Contemporary Art in Bedminster and demonstrates her watercolor technique for art groups. Her demos recorded by Zoom have been edited and published on her YouTube channel.

An illustrator since graduating from the Rhode Island School of Design in 1973, Doris later received an MFA from the University of Wisconsin – Madison. Over the course of her career she has illustrated 40 children’s books, including the award-winning titles A Book for Black-Eyed Susan and The Orange Shoes. She is represented by Cornell & Co.

Doris has honed her watercolor skills by attending workshops taught by Charles Reid, Thomas Schaller, Tony Van Hasselt, and Sterling Edwards. But her touchstone is the work of her mother Minnie Bush Ettlinger.

Doris is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, the New Jersey Watercolor Society, and a signature member of the Garden State Watercolor Society. Her paintings have won awards in numerous shows, including the GSWCS Dagmar Tribble Memorial Award in 2020.

Artist Statement

I work with traditional media to make representational images. Subjects are drawn from my surroundings, whether scenes in my neighborhood, friends, fragments of nature, or views of the Musconetcong River. I also enjoy a challenge or suggestion from my students.

In the sketching stage I think about what I want to say. I edit and compose, sketching values, then planning colors. Watercolor requires planning before wetting the brush, courage when applying the paint, and restraint from fussing over it afterwards. When done right the color looks fresh, not overworked.

I work with big wet brushes and gestural strokes at the beginning of the painting process. What is important to me is that my subjects look alive, even if they’re inanimate. That happens when I allow the watercolor to do what it does best. That is, suggest not describe. These first strokes capture that.

As I proceed my brushes become smaller and my strokes more refined, drawing the eye to the interesting bit that made me want to make the painting in the first place.

New Brunswick Art Salon 2021 Fall Watercolor and Mixed Media Exhibition

Artist Interview