Thank you for visiting my website.
I’ve been told I should include an “Artist Statement” and/or
an Artist Biography on my website. I’ve always found them
so stuffy and formal. So, I’ve tried to let you in on a little bit
about me and my story, illustrated with a few photos.
If you need to know anything else, or need one of those
legitimate statements, just ask and I will send it to you.
When creating art, I’m drawn to and inspired by bold colors, expressive movement, shapes and textures. I see art in everything, from a flower trying to push through a sidewalk, a cat in the sun, clouds, a broken-down building, a joyful person and so much more. After searching for my own path, painting this way and that, I’ve come to love and embrace abstract expressionism in painting. For me, creating art is an emotional expression without words. I find it interesting to communicate visually and see what it is that others hear.
Music was a strong inspiration, which shows up a lot in my work. I started taking music and voice lessons when I was thirteen. Then at nineteen I was playing classical guitar and later was trained in voice by an old Vaudeville performer turned teacher. He was amazing and probably why I still have good diction to this day. In college I was a music major with business as a minor. I studied and performed opera and contemporary voice. I received a degree in Music & Business. Then I continued studying and performing guitar for a total of seventeen years.
I was just starting out professionally when I was hired to perform in jazz clubs in Japan. All was going well when unfortunately, as a passenger, I was in a major auto accident. One good thing about being in a hospital in Japan is that I learned a bit of the language.
Due to a serious neck injury I was no longer able to play guitar. But I could still use my hands and I put them to work learning painting and photography.
Bettie Performing with The
Glen Miller Orchestra in Japan.
I studied privately with accomplished impressionist and abstract artists, as well as an incredible professional photographer, who also happens to be my husband. I started with Impressionism, but it wasn’t long before I jumped full feet into Abstract Expressionism.
I enrolled in abstract art classes, for two years, at Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California. I had a wonderful teacher, who I’m still friends with, and she inspires me to this day.
Bettie’s first abstract painting.
I love to tell the story of my very early, first inspiration. I was six years old. My father, a Navy Seabee, was stationed in Paris, France, I went to first and second grade there. I was incredibly fortunate to go on field trips and painting excursions. Imagine a bunch of little first graders with their little easels, sitting in the grass and painting the Eiffel Tower. That is one of my most precious memories. One such trip included a visit to see the Mona Lisa. It did not have the bullet-proof security it has today, so as we went past it, quietly, in single file, and strongly warned not to touch anything, I just had to do it. Yes, I reached out my grubby little hand and touched the Mona Lisa, for which I was properly reprimanded. But it was worth it! Ever since that day I have wanted to touch art. I have to put my hands in my pockets at museums and galleries to avoid being thrown out. I have created art that is meant to be touched and I encourage people to touch it.
I didn’t want to be a starving artist, so I went back to school and received a Certificate as a Litigation Paralegal from UCLA. I would usually work on art at night and on weekends, then work as a paralegal during the day. Some of my very best customers turned out to be the lawyers and paralegals I worked with.
I became enchanted with an art form using an old 1970’s Polaroid camera. The film stayed soft for a few minutes while developing, and I would use a knitting needle, or whatever was handy, and quickly hand-manipulate the image. You never knew what you were going to get.
I was working with a major hotel, using this art form for their marketing materials. The General Manager invited me to a jazz festival that they were hosting, so naturally I had to photograph it. Earlier in the day I had dropped my only camera on the cement and it went to pieces. But my husband, being very smart and clever, literally taped my camera back together. I couldn’t see
through it, but it worked. Chaka Kahn was on stage. I put my camera in the air, pointing in her direction, and snapped the photo. I knew I only had minutes to work on this piece. Of course, the GM picked that exact moment to come up to me, and wanted to introduce me to some VIP’s. I explained that, with respect to him and his VIP’s, I only had about two minutes to work this film. I sat down in the grass and began to work. They all decided to look over my shoulder while I worked on it. I was terrified. I didn’t even know if I’d gotten Chaka on film. As it developed, I slowly realized that it was one of the best Polaroid photos I’d ever done. Right then and there, the GM offered me a fifty-piece exhibit of jazz artists. So I took a year and worked with every jazz artist I could get to agree. The exhibit, “Jazz Impressions”, was a hit and led to turning the pieces into a Limited-edition book (now sold out). That’s the story as to how I got into the jazz world.
As things often go, Polaroid stopped making the film I needed. I cried and stomped my feet for awhile, especially since I’d just signed a long lease for a huge loft for my studio in Downtown Los Angeles.
But then I discovered that I could create paintings like I had been doing, but digitally with a Painter program from Corel. People had always asked me what I would do if they stopped making my film and I would always respond “I guess I’ll have to learn to paint.” As a photographer, it wasn’t hard to make the digital transition. So, still working with Jazz Artists, I combined photography and digital painting, which you can see in the CD Cover and Poster portfolios. I was honored to create the awards, with my photography and digital painting, for the Canadian Smooth Jazz Awards. And I would create paintings from my still life and and many other subjects, including abstract work.
Digital Work Space
That same General Manager, from years earlier, who had since relocated to The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Nigel, called me and offered me a coastal style exhibit there. I got busy and created approximately thirty paintings, a collection called “Through My Window.” You can find the collection under the gallery tab. It was truly a work of passion.
I’ve studied digital painting for years now, which I love. I also combine the digital art with wet paint. Once archivally printed, I heavily hand-embellish the digital paintings/prints with paint and mixed-media materials so that each one is unique. Once I got my hands back into real wet paint, I had to start painting again. I ended up coming full circle, to where I began, creating abstract art.
My influences are many, for many reasons, including: Van Gogh; Monet; Hofman; Hensche; Kandinsky; Kline; Renoir; Pollack; Matisse and Degas.
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