Betsy Bear lives and paints in North Pole, Alaska most of the year, and at Excursion Inlet, Alaska in the summer months. She began her art career shortly after retirement from teaching in 2001, and has been busy ever since running her business, Betsy Bear Creations. She paints a variety of mostly realistic subjects--florals, landscapes, figures, still life, and wildlife--though she has experimented a bit with abstract themes. She has shown her work in Alaska, mostly in Fairbanks, where she is a member of the Fairbanks Watercolor Society, Fairbanks Arts Association, and the North Pole Chamber of Commerce.
Betsy sells her originals and prints locally and nationally, and has recently had the honor of having one of her prints presented to the Emperor of Japan as a gift from the Mayor of North Pole. She has had many solo shows and group shows over the past four years. Her next major shows include one in April 2007 at the Valdez City Museum and another in 2008 at the Fairbanks Arts Association Bear Gallery. She is looking forward to these and many other shows during the next several years.
Although born in southern California, Betsy spent most of her early childhood in Morocco before moving with her family to Europe, then finally to Alaska, where she married and taught public school near North Pole for the next 25 years. Over those years she craved the warmth of her childhood days, and has spent as much time as possible visiting southern Nevada and traveling throughout the Southwest and Hawaii.
Betsy's inspiration for painting comes from a strong creative spirit she inherited from her maternal grandmother and mother. Both were exceptional artisans, working mostly in needlework and fiber throughout their lives. Her mother, now in her 80s, still creates exquisite dolls and clothes for her two daughters and grandchildren.
"Painting for me is mostly about the process of creating and the mystery of what lies yet to be discovered in that process. I strive to create art that evokes feeling, has high artistic integrity, and includes universal elements of time and place. Every new painting completed is a further inspiration to continue, showing me where I have traveled along my painting journey and where I still need to go. Each painting embodies a unique set of emotions--from total frustration to heady exhilaration--yet I am always eager to learn from the last and move on to the next.
Painting from my local and family history have both been very inspiring themes, as have the varied landscapes, wildflowers, and wildlife of my home state of Alaska and other areas that I visit. Representational art is my mainstay, but I find much to admire in abstract art and plan some expeditions in that area. Working with and viewing the work of other artists is a large part of what keeps my creative process thriving and my aspirations high. I have never lacked for either inspiration or passion--only for time and patience."
You can see Betsy's work on her web site at betsybearcreations.com. Besides painting, Betsy has authored several articles on art subjects, including how to make Giclee' art prints and a tutorial on how to create a simple web art portfolio. Both of these articles can be found at http://betsybearcreations.com/tipsforartist.html