Doris Gilbert, a native of La Jolla, California, spent the leisure hours of her childhood and early adult life near the sea. She studied portrait painting in Point Loma, general art courses at Pierce College, and oil painting from various private instructors. Her work in portraits display a gift enjoyed by few. Her skill in capturing that certain mystique of the sea is evident in every colorful canvas.
Unlike artists who excel in one media or style, she has won awards of distinction in water color, charcoal, oil, and collage, covering a wide range of subjects. Notwithstanding the acclamation received for her work in other media and her proficiency in fine portraits, still life, landscape, floral, and abstract, this artist's real love is oil on canvas seascapes. Her concepts of the sea in its multitude of moods reflect her deep feeling for the sea.
By demanding of herself strict discipline with brush and palette knife technique, she has achieved a style that does not stop at the edge of her canvas. In her newspaper article in Beverly Hills, Los Angeles art critic Jeanne Good termed this style "Space Realism", and says of the Doris Gilbert seascapes:"The explosive breakers, made wild by the wind, foam, the wet pool along the surf's edge, are all in the context of endless space, which surrounds the realism". Others have called her work "Portraits of the ocean". Distinct locution of her unique seascapes comes from each member of her growing list of collectors. The active bold strokes of color in space take the viewer beyond the horizon to the depths of one's imagination. After visiting one of her exhibits, Stan Kelly said in his newspaper article in Los Angeles: "The effect of her new approach is that of fog and mist and changing shadows on the water. Writer Richard Hale viewed her work on display by Ashley Gallery and wrote: "Doris Gilbert's paintings are of unusual interest, combining orthodox detail with a wholly novel and individual concept".
After more than five decades of painting, Ms. Gilbert retired on her 90th birthday in 2018.