Lee Mothes was born in 1947 and was raised in Southern California. He grew up in a small town and lived only a short walk from the beach. Like most of the local kids, he spent much of his spare time playing beside or in the ocean. Lee loved to watch the waves, especially the huge storm-driven surf that always changed the beaches and sometimes washed down the street he lived on. He also loved to draw. With the encouragement of both parents, he learned to draw well. He practiced drawing the imaginary places of his fascination.
Beginning in 1966, Lee studied art; first at Long Beach State University, then at California College of Arts and Crafts, and finally at Western Oregon State University. He spent much of 1969 and 1970 in Vietnam teaching art to American soldiers. A few years later, he built a house-and-studio on the Oregon coast and, while working at a job as a graphic designer, began a series of large drawings of the ocean.
Newly married in 1985, Lee and his wife moved two years later to Wisconsin to raise their daughters near extended family. To keep a connection with the ocean, Lee began what is now called the "Oceans and Dreams" series - drawings and watercolors of imaginary places involving the ocean. Some are views from living rooms and porches, others of fields and beaches. The ideas come mostly from his dreams and memories, and from a desire to "see" certain places.
Lee is currently showing original paintings in galleries in Wisconsin and California. Reproductions of paintings are available through many galleries in the U.S., Canada, Europe and Japan.