Born in San Francisco, California in 1902, Bothwell was a modernist and symbolist painter who continually explored new themes and styles. She was influenced in her life as well as her work by her parent's Quaker and Christian Scientist beliefs. In 1921, Bothwell attended the California School of Fine Arts where she studied with Rudolph Schaeffer and Gottardo Piazzoni. Later she became a teacher at the San Francisco Art Institute. She earned the San Francisco Women in the Arts Award in 1998 and was also awarded two Pollack-Krasner Awards.