IT WAS Douglas Hall, former curator of the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, in a preface to the catalogue of Douthwaite's retrospective exhibition at Glasgow's late, lamented, Third Eye Centre - the artist's first major exhibition in Scotland, incidentally - who called her ''a modern representative of the peintres maudits, unfortunate creative people like Modigliani, who were overwhelmed by the difficulties of life''.

A reader might justifiably have sensed that Hall, like myself, is an admirer of Pat Douthwaite's work. On an earlier occasion, indeed, he had drawn the Scots painter into the ambience of yet another major European genius. ''Like Baudelaire she is an artist able to create very directly and very beautifully out of the experience of evil whether it is felt as pain, alienation, or psychic distress.'' The lasting interest in such work, he felt, derives from the tension between the ugliness with which the artist grapples and the beauty of the means of expression.

Pat Douthwaite must have been born with this creative psychic imbalance. But she was fortunate in that circumstances allowed her to bypass the typical British barrier of inhibition that a conventional art education tends to erect.

Born in 1939, as a Glasgow eight-year-old she was sent to study mime, movement, and modern dance with Margaret Moms whose husband, JD Fergusson, undoubtedly influenced her attitude to drawing and painting, used as uninhibited self-expression.

Her first success, however, was in mime, when she won a Phyllis Calvert scholarship. And without any doubt performance, theatricality, remained at the very centre of her creativity.

Still barely out of her teens, Douthwaite went to live in Suffolk with a group of painters that included the expatriate Scots, Colquhoun, MacBryde, and Bill Crozier, a warren of uninhibited individualists in which she thrived, making huge, layered collages in which the influence of Dubuffet might be sensed. In East Anglia, Douthwaite met the already successful artist Paul Hogarth and they were married in 1960. It lasted 10 years after which she led a nomadic existence. Feeling increasingly alienated she lived but never settled in different parts of Ayrshire and the south of Scotland as well as Edinburgh.

In what was to be a turbulent existence - often enough, it must be said, of her own making - her growing mastery of means seldom failed her. Douthwaite, the raw female, remained at the centre of all her work, with all that that implies of vulnerability, unacceptable drives, emotional demands, frustrations, rages, and occasional ecstasies - yet still a million miles away from ''militant feminism''.

Her work is never less than alive with an inner energy, whether her subject matter concerns the languor or the lethal playfulness of cats or tigers, (and Douthwaite continually fed her vision by taking off for exotic, faraway places like India or Peru), the iconic figures of female bandits, media sex queens, or real-life heroines - Amy Johnson the aviator sparked off one of Douthwaite's most brilliantly sustained and memorable essays in self-identification. An interest in goddesses, too, women of mythology, came to a climax in a series of drawings done in collaboration with her friend, Robert Graves, who wrote the introduction to her exhibition, Worshipped Women, at the 1982 Edinburgh Festival.

Although theatricality was always a significant element in Pat Douthwaite's character, her ideas about performance, costume, and makeup never found an opportunity for full development. On one memorable occasion, however, her single performance work, Innana, was brought to being at the Traverse during the 1975 Edinburgh Festival and later seen in Glasgow at Third Eye Centre.

Funded with money from the Scottish Arts Council and the Gulbenkian Foundation and based on an ancient Sumerian legend, this brought together huge screened blow-ups of her work with moving figures wearing costumes based on these same paintings.

Important landmark as it was, being an extension into three dimensions with an added time element, the performance failed to please her - indeed, did anything?

Pat Douthwaite was always difficult, if not impossible to satisfy when others were involved. But during the 1970s she did succeed in winning several Scottish Arts Council awards as well as the prestigious Hope Scott Award for lithography.

As a present day peintre maudit, Pat was her own worst enemy, for indeed, she had many supporters, not least among them Richard Demarco in the early years. And later in her life she was even accepted by the Scottish Gallery, no less.

Constantly haunted by a sense of failure and the feeling of being an outsider, Douthwaite had recently moved to Dundee.

She is survived by her son.

Pat Douthwaite, artist; born July 28, 1939, died July 26, 2002.