Born in Glasgow in 1939, Pat Douthwaite studied dance with Margaret Morris, whose partner J. D. Fergusson encouraged her to paint. Apart from this important influence she was self-taught. In 1958 Pat went to live in Suffolk with a group of painters, including the Scots expatriate couple Robert Colquhoun and Robert MacBryde, and William Crozier. Between 1959 and 1988 she travelled widely internationally, and from 1969 lived part of the time in Majorca. More recently she lived in the Scottish Borders.
Although Douthwaite exhibited regularly, her individual style was often considered outside the conventions of mainstream art and she was comfortable to be linked to 'outsider art'.