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  • Writer's picturePeggy Nichols

Donna Bates, a portrait artist whose artwork exemplifies the complexities of modern women...

Updated: Feb 4



'Unlock The Mystery', oil and acrylic on Dibond, 24 x 24 inches.


'Having always been fascinated by people and their stories, I guess that is why I create and am a fan of Figurative Art! For my Paintings I try to create big, dramatic, graphically strong, yet technically executed representational works. I have created my own mash-up style inspired from living in this Los Angeles melting pot. The result is a diverse and tough-chic, modern group of individuals with attitude. My paintings aren't traditional portraits, they are a different vision of power and pop culture flavored with our ongoing struggles. A lot of my paintings have been about women’s rights, I have tried to portray a modern independent woman that is not one dimensional but is pulled in many directions. Trying to reconcile expectations of traditional women’s roles with today’s realities, her own goals, ambitions, and doubts in an ever-changing world!'



'She Holds The Key', oil on Dibond, 36 x 24 inches.



left to right: 'Life NOT As We Know It', oil and mixed media on Alumalite., 'Veritas/Libertatis' (diptych), oil on Dibond, 48 x 32 inches., 'Off To Slay Some Dragons', oil and mixed media on Alumalite, 48 x 36 inches.



'Embrace and Refresh', oil on AlumaComp, 20 x 16 inches.


Native Southern Californian, Donna Bates lives and paints in Los Angeles CA. Her years of experience as a commercial illustrator and 3D Artist for over 20 years have evolved into a career in painting. She is a self-taught artist that is known for her own fresh mash-up of urban edge with tough-chic style depicting strong independent women or “Bad Ass Chicks”. Art and being a creative have dominated Donna Bates' life who started drawing as soon as she could pick up a pencil. As with so many creative people, Donna wanted to do it all. Although she was an art major in school, she started playing drums when she was 16 and played in numerous bands. Touring Viet Nam in a USO Show during the war with an all-girl band to playing with bands in the early LA Punk scene in the late 70's and early 80's. She then transitioned into computers in the early '90s, being one of very few women who entered the male-dominated 3D Animation/VFX field at that time. She went on to be one of the first women to teach CG Modeling at Gnomon School of VFX.



'The Many Sides Of Her', (diptych) oil on AlumaComp,

20 x 20 inches





'Time To Refocus', oil and mixed media on Dibond, 24 x 24 inches.

After being laid off from her last full-time job where she was the head of a small 3D animation department, she returned to her first love Fine Art and painting.

Donna has exhibited in various group shows such as RJD Gallery,

Rehs Contemporary Galleries, 33 Contemporary Gallery, Zhou B Art Center plus a solo show at Gabba Gallery. She was a featured artist in a four woman show at Annenberg Beach House, in Santa Monica, CA.


Donna has had two paintings displayed on HBO's show “Insecure” Season3 - Season5.

She was a finalist in WMOCA’s International Biennial Portrait Competition and a finalist in ARC Salon 14.

In 2021, one of her paintings was on a billboard in Los Angeles, curated by SaveArtSpace.

Donna was the winner of the purchase award in the Lancaster Museum of Art and History’s 36th Annual All Media Juried Exhibition and was the recipient of the Mozaik Philanthropy Grant for Artists.

In 2023 she was awarded “Best of Exhibition” at the Lancaster Museum of Art and History’s 38th Annual All Media Juried Exhibition.



'Peering Through The Veil With A Bow On Top', oil on Dibond, 24 x 24 inches.


She has been interviewed on John Dalton’s “Gently Does It...” Podcast and her work has been published in American Art Collector, Voyage LA, Canvas Rebel, Bold Journey, Pasadena Now, Klassik International Magazine, The Argonaut Magazine and Sag harbor Express.

Donna has work that is part of the Bennett Collection and the Museum of Art and History Lancaster’s permanent collection plus works in various other private collections.



left to right: 'Her Fine Art', oil and mixed media on Dibond.,

'The Allure Of Shiny Objects In A Noisy World', oil on Dibond,

24 x 16 inches., 'Not Your Choice', oil and acrylic on Dibond,

36 x 24 inches.



'Present', oil and acrylic on Dibond, 36 x 24 inches.



left to right: 'War Paint and Curlers 02', oil on Dibond.,

'Of Noble Birth and Humble Circumstance', oil on Dibond, 36 x 24 inches., 'War Paint and Curlers 04', oil on Dibond, 36 x 24 inches.



'See You', oil on AlumComp, 16 x 20 inches.



left to right: 'Chill', oil on AlumaComp, 16 x 12 inches.,

'Damn!', oil on AlumaComp, 24 x 18 inches.,

'Thoughts and Prayers, Bang Bang', oil on Dibond, 24 x 18 inches.



'Who's Got Time for That?', oil on Dibond 24 x 16 inches.



left to right: 'Lip Licking Liberty For All', oil and mixed Media on Dibond,36 x 24 inches., 'Madame President', oil and mixed media on Dibond, 24 x 24 inches., 'Firecracker', oil on Dibond, 18 x24 inches.





Donna Bates, in her studio.


Instagram: @donnabatesart











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