Welcome Bienvenidos!


Beginners Colored Pencil Class at Kirk Bear Canyon Library
March 6 5:30 - 7:30

Mixed Media Colored pencil class at Kirk Bear Canyon Library
March 20 5:30 - 7:30

Beginners Watercolor Class at Kirk Bear Canyon Library
March 27 5:30 - 7:30

Mixed Media Watercolor Class at Kirk Bear Canyon Library
April 3 5:30 - 7:30

* Individual and group tutoring is available too :) Contact me here or Facebook or my website SueBetanzos.com





Sunday, December 12, 2010

Peace and Love to All

Forgive me readers - it's been weeks since my last post with all of the recent activity. St. Francis is popular with pet lovers and in this commission he is accompanied by: two Jack Russell Terriers, one lab, one beagle, one bunny, two meadow larks, one roadrunner, and one quail - whew! Plus his usual bird friends.
It took a while with all the detail and dog research but really like the piece. Still need to retouch it (take out the glare), but had to share!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Hawk Dreams


I am reposting some pieces as I take new pictures with a new camera - Nikon CoolPix 8.1 px - WOW!
This is a favorite piece. It is a Red Tailed Hawk with natural agate, amethyst, stained glass, mirror and reverse glass painted hawk portrait.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Heart Break




A new and much improved picture of my Diana Gabaldon piece. It is a quotation from Dragonfly in Amber from the Outlander series. Went to her lecture and she signed this piece! She is pretty cool and a savvy business woman.
Plus a picture of another finished commission of St. Francis and client doggie - Wilson the Westi. 8" x 10" reverse glass painting.

Gila Dreams


New work as the countdown to the show Nov. 13-14 continues. I am trying to squeeze two more pieces into the little time left!!
This piece and the other new pieces are not grouted and have a jewel like glitter.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Dog Star Mosaic



Finished! Stained glass, TG glass, antique bugle beads and reverse glass painting on plate. South west canyons inspired the gold reverse glass painted petroglyph of a dog star with gold bugle beads on a canyon wall. Glittering, cool blue water and green tree leaves complete canyon setting.
Natural stones edging the rim finish the piece.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Dog Star


This is a new piece that is almost finished. Dog star, coyote star, brightest star in the sky. Thought of a design that would be magical, depicting a petroglyph dog reverse glass painting that has been distressed, broken. Gold antique cheque bugle beads inlaid add the magic and sparkle. The colors are inspired by the southwest Canyon de Chey. Rich sepia, ochres, against backdrops of green and water.
Completed picture coming soon!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Heart Song








Years ago in high school I remember
a teacher saying "don't die with your music still inside you." Of course we all were like "what is he talking about?" Well years later the phrase stuck with me and often chased away doubts of pursuing art as my day job. Funny but to this day I always associate it with song birds, birds in general.
Like one of those fortune cookie tapes that say something like "sing badly if you must, but SING."
Song birds will feature in some of my new pieces and this is the first. Cabinet door frames and tempered glass put them in my 'recycled green' series.
Working in series helps keep focus on a particular subject matter and is the way my brain seems to flow. I have one more in the Abstract series in progress, with two more designed for a total of five for the five seasons in Tucson - spring, summer, winter, fall, monsoon. Finished spring and fall, summer in progress here. It is called Heart Fire - Summer Passion. Mixed media of reds, oranges, yellows on a recycled cabinet door. It will be rich and passionate with color and movement. Plus it will be more 3-D , a bit sculptural. Can't wait to start!!
The November show will have a lot of new work that I am eager to show because it has been such a fun learning process to do them. Art is the heart that beats inside me.
** On Another Note: This summer has been very challenging for my mom health wise and now she is having surgery for cancer so I will go immediately to be with my family. Did not realize how stressed I have been until today when the veneer cracked as I told someone "my mom has cancer and she is in surgery right now." Suddenly I was trying so hard to keep from having a small meltdown and had a teeny one anyway. I hate it when that happens - how embarrassing!! And I imagined myself to be one of those cool, calm, self composed individuals - Ha! Meanwhile my mom is the one suffering through everything and she is the cool one, so strong - what a champ!
Aaanyway, enough boo - hooing - enjoy my works in progress (WIP's for short).

Friday, September 3, 2010

Spring Dance







Here are the finished pieces as I continue exploring the possibilities with tempered glass. In the new abstract series my work explores the mystery and magic of nature. The literature series is all about my passion for literature. This summer I developed an addiction for audio books. The studio can be isolating and listening to stories is easy. Some of the pieces are influenced by What I am listening to and I remember them by books and the feelings I had while making them.
My parents sent me flowers! They are beautiful and I keep them right where they inspire me at my work table - I am so blessed!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Abtract mosaic




Abstracts and contemporary art has always appealed to me. This year I am pushing that direction more. One of a series of new mixed media pieces.
Playing with combinations of TG, stained glass, stones etc.
And my trusty Risa ready to go to the park - a daily ritual she does Not let me forget.

Saturday, July 31, 2010



Here are a couple of mini studies for a body of new work. They are miniatures because I am still in that mode and have found it easier to paint minis. The new work continues the path I am on towards looser more contemporary pieces. Some of the mini studies will be translated to mixed media mosaics or collage as I sort out design and value/hue issues. Green - 2 3/4" x 3 1/2" Amethyst - 4 1/4" x 6" of Allen Hummingbird. Hummingbirds are favorite subject!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Illustrated Children's book




The other day at the library I was researching and came across a little book that I illustrated for the botanical gardens thru a grant about three years ago. It's a bilingual children's book about planting a garden to attract wildlife. Also a coloring book. I thought it had faded after it's first printing. It was such a small project that was not really promoted in the gift shop.
So imagine my surprise when I came across it/ME. I burst out laughing and pulled the copies they had and literally checked myself out - ha, ha. So now I can be found under call number 625.9525

Monday, June 21, 2010

STAR student Mosaic Project - Finished!






The installation of the 9 stars went pretty smooth. Each piece had finished edges which really cut down on time. The students completed their mosaic stars and then I did a marathon grouting of nine stars and nine hearts.
Students and everyone were excited to see them finally up and each piece is very unique and each star has the students name tag on it.
Students did their personal strength words on their mosaic stars as part of a leadership project. Glass, tile, glass gems, mirror were some of the materials used to fabricate the stars. the mosaic stars are part of a mural for the inner courtyard of the school. Pictures did not come out as well due, I think, to the sun being directly in the camera lens which was facing east into the sun at times. Good part was the shade during the installment!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Reasonably Suspicious (The Arizona Immigration Song)

This spoof was made by a teacher at the school in south Tucson where the mosaic star installations are. The actors are students from the school as a protest to the current law in Arizona where a person can be stopped on appearance if suspected of being illegal in the USA. Notice that they do not question the white european, middle eastern, asian illegal immigrants etc.- just the mexicans because of the border problems. The students I worked with said said that if you are a white mexican instead of brown you don't get harassed. They joked and said they would put up a sign on their cars saying "Stop me - I'm mexican!"
Even the 4th and 5th graders expressed their opinion - pointing out that it is unfair that brown mexicans dressed in popular mexican fashion are targets for harassment. Though the problem is getting worse and everyone is looking for answers, profiling is not a solution. It's like regressing back to the japanese camps during the war.

Friday, June 4, 2010

The Reverse Graffiti Project

Posted this on Facebook, but wanted to put it up here too. A great idea to create environmental awareness even if it is a bit of an advertisement. Hey, sponsors are essential too.

Monday, May 24, 2010

STAR student Mosaic Project






Here are more student pieces for the star mural project. I have been doing a grouting marathon to get these done in time for installation and still have three more to go. Plus the large logo star! All are glued onto 1/4" hardi backer cement board, then cut with an angle head grinder, then grouted. Stars are 3' x 2' approx. and hearts are 10" and done on 1/2" Easy board. Stars will be installed onto a painted brick wall with thin set and anchor bolts. Same for the little hearts. Custom grout was used in Dove Grey. Kind of dark now but on a south west facing wall it will lighten up. Back to work now!

The London Elephant Parade - The Making of Phoolan Part 2

What a fabulous project and how I would have loved to work on it! Will Phoolan's message be heard where it is needed most - in India? Beautiful work.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Graphite Miniatures





This year drawing, mosaic and painting miniatures is what I have been producing. Working small has been very satisfying, but I am starting larger pieces again to break out of this and go for more change. Here are couple more mini graphite studies - African Caracal and Panda. Size: 4 1/2" x 5 1/2 "

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Student Mosaic STARS




At times I have the privilege of working with students thru various schools and their focus and work is pretty awesome.
Here are three of eight mosaic stars for a mural that students have finished. Size around 3 feet. They are on Hardi Backer board. I'll be cutting and grouting them for installation, so this is how they look raw and ungrouted!
The grout is a dark grey so colors, mirror and gems will pop for a super cool look.
Each student has a special word on their star. Tile, glass gems and mirror are used.


Friday, April 23, 2010

Blue Coyote Mini mosaic WIP




Still playing with tempered glass in the mini mosaics. Made copy of my painting to for mosaic. No glass on it yet. This one will be sent as a sample when finished. The appeal of the TG is that it allows painting as well as mosaic. Painting, drawing, design is the foundation for my artwork. The visual "comfort food" that always soothes and restores the creative juices.
Think I am drawn to trickster tales in general. A great book on trickster tales I just finished - The Coyote Road Trickster Tales edited by Ellen Datlow. An anthology of tales by popular fiction authors and illustrations of Charles Vess. Introduction and Preface was fascinating and I learned much about the history of trickster folklore in different cultures.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Gila Mosaic & Risa - Watz Up!?



Grouted and Finished! A jewel like Gila Monster. When seen up close the real life Gila reptiles are beautiful with their beaded skin. Slow moving, they are part of the Fragile series I am working on. For the next mosaic class, Coyote the trickster will be featured and students will have the opportunity to interpret coyote folk tales in artful mosaic booklets. Ages 8 - 13. Can't wait to see what they come up with!
And Risa, constant companion doing her Watz Up face.


Saturday, April 10, 2010

St. Francis Mosaic & Mosaic book



This is a special commission done with a little kitty and an owl - so cute! It has an amethyst stone, turquoise, beads etc. The painting is very detailed and I loved doing it. Also the work in progress of another mosaic booklet. I wish I had remembered to take pics from the beginning! At this stage the tempered glass is being added. Then I will grout, using two colors this time. It is part of a series I call Fragil, focusing on endangered species. This is a desert Gila Monster.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

New Mosaics




Well it has been too long since my last post. Easy to get out of the routine of posting and so much has been happening. The glass pins have taken off as I knew they would. Those that see them end up placing an order - yay!
Also I will be teaching mosaics thru a summer program this June. The project I proposed combines my love of mosaics and books. Student ages will be 8 - 13 and I am so excited to start the classes. They will be making mosaic books. The end pieces will be mosaic and the content will be student choice of words, phrases, story. They are very different and it will be wonderful to see what the students come up with. I always learn so much from them. Here is the prototype that I will send to United Way as part of the grant application. Pandas are a favorite subject and the sample is 4"x 4". It is an accordion style folding book. Still have to finish the inside content. Can't wait to start!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Sparrow Seranade


A mini 3 1/2" x 3 1/2" of the little sparrow that sang all day in my yard. So many little songbirds come thru my yard and I recognize each of their voices with the help of binoculars. House finches, sparrows, goldfinches, viros, cactus wrens, curve billed thrashers, cardinals, hummingbirds and more all visit and each is perfect! Had help from photo references for this one. Drawing from life is very challenging with wildlife since they are rarely still for more than a few seconds. A color version of him will be part of my Singing Bird mosaic that is in progress.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Glass Nature series



Working on the nature series for the desert wildlife flora and fauna. They include little bats, kit fox, raptors, mice, coyote, lizards and more. After finishing the paintings and mosaics, sections will be cropped for the little glass jewelry.
My next series is already on the drawing board - endangered species, both plants and animals. While I work Risa periodically comes to check up on my progress, ask me to take a break and come out and play. Sometimes I can take five and I do! Then I get back to it, refreshed :~)
Starting my local wholesale to establishments that resonate with my work and ideals. Botanical gardens, Wildlife museums, zoos.