Welcome Bienvenidos!

* Individual and group art classes are available :) Contact me here or Facebook or my website SueBetanzos.com

* Summer classes in Coloring, Painting and Mosaic are starting! Contact me here or Facebook or my website SueBetanzos.com to arrange a local class for a fun summer activity. Ages 9 to adult, beginner to advanced.







Sunday, October 8, 2017

You Are Loved Dog Portrait

Australian Shepherd dog portrait in graphite finished. I love drawing animals, dogs especially. It was really fun to play with the Faber Castell 9000 pencils. I'll list the tools I used for this at the bottom.

Drawing is the foundation for all, whether you doodle or want more. It's what humans have been doing to express themselves since the cave days of drawing :)

"You Are Loved", 14'x13.5", Dog Portrait, Graphite on paper. SueBetanzos.com


Tools of the trade for my drawing below:



• A set of Faber Castell 9000 pencils in the leads of: HB, B, 2B, 4B, 6B, 8B.
• A 9B and extra 6B Derwent pencil because I use those pencils  so much.
• Kum hand pencil sharpener.
• Mechanical .05 mm pencil with 4B lead for fine details.
• Pentel click eraser.
• Kneaded eraser.
• Small pointed blending tool to soften and fill some areas.

As you can see, my favorite pencils for graphite portraits are the 4B, 6B, 8B, 9B.
Any pencil is good for your sketch book.  Now start drawing! :)

Saturday, September 23, 2017

I See You Dog Portrait, Graphite

This Aussie dog portrait is almost finished. I love working in graphite pencils on a favorite dog breed, the Australian Shepherd.

This girlie's eyes say "I see you, you are loved" to me :) It is the message that shines from our companion's eyes whenever they look at us.




The Faber Castell 9000 pencils are awesome and I'll finish the darkest areas soon for contrast.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

I See You, Dog Art Portrait

Playing with my new Faber Castell 9000 graphite pencil set. The smooth leads stay sharp and leave rich marks, shading beautifully.

Also using a .05 Pentel hi-polymer lead in a mechanical pencil with a 4B lead helps get fine lines without sharpening. I love drawing animals. It's great to flip to drawing after the marathon mosaic mural :) Drawing is my foundation since forever.




This Aussie girl lives in Switzerland. The graphite is a study for a painting to establish the main values (lights and darks).  I was going to use it as an underpainting, but decided to let it stand on it's own.

Grisaille underpainting is really helpful when painting.  It is a technique many of the old and new masters use.
The main work of composition and values is established in black and white. Then it's just a matter of coloring or painting over it.

I like to establish the darkest areas first in relation to the lightest. Then it's easier to find your middle values. The eyes are usually the focal point in portraits. Get them right and the rest falls into place... usually ....

Monday, August 28, 2017

Artful Oasis

The finished mural with a few photo edits :)

After blending out some of the palm tree on the yellow area and color adjusting.




Before photo editing. Early morning was the best time to finish the edges, but the light was in a lot of shadow.  The mosaic mural was centered over the pool.  Their landscaper put the palm trees on either side after the installation.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Red Glass Mosaic Mural Progress

Can't wait to see this on the wall, sparkling with it's rich jewel toned colors!

Almost ready to grout, and the optional water bubble circles will be left out of the mural.

With the heavy moisture in the air, installation will be moved another week so the adhesive will have time to cure. The adhesive will continue to cure for about a month, but a week will be good for installation.

The grout will be a neutral gray in a middle tone, maybe 2 shades. Fast forward a couple of years in the intense Tucson desert climate  and it will fade to a shade lighter, as all exterior things do.
Except glass, ceramic, stone, some metals!




Thursday, August 10, 2017

Red Glass Mosaic Mural


6'x2.5' stained glass mosaic *** Almost Finished! *** Yay!

Just the tip to go. Then going back to add in bubbles (circles), accents, adjustments etc. If I get the glow tiles in time, I'll use them for some of the bubbles in the blue areas. Using iridescent glass now.

Will use dark grey grout as it will fade in a few years to light grey in the intense sun. Maybe black in the red areas.

Black marks in the center are where the mosaic halves join. Blue stickers are where the bolts go to install. Sanded calk will finish the edges when installed.

Fabricated with glass from local Expressions Art Glass and my stash of glass :)
To be installed at exterior pool area. Stay tuned for installation news.






Thursday, July 20, 2017

Red Abstract Glass Mosaic

A peek at the progress of this lovely glass mosaic.
Each glass piece is carefully matched in color, hand cut, shaped. Hundreds of pieces go into a mosaic.  It's further along now and I'll take new pics to share soon.












Wednesday, July 19, 2017

St. Anthony and the Silver Hoops


A small, strange magical story that happened last week.

Have you ever heard of of the little prayer to St. Anthony regarding lost objects?




I've always used it with good results - don't ask. I'm not an organized religion follower, yet I enjoy some of the Catholic saints.  I'm known for my St. Francis artwork and enjoy painting them because of the love and relationship he had with nature and animals.

St. Anthony is another person who has had a positive effect.
My little magic story:

I wore a pair of silver hoops shopping one day and discovered one missing when I got back into my hot car after shopping . I went back into the store and asked if anyone had turned it in - of course not.

I was bummed. So even though the earring had been lost at the store, I repeated the little prayer several times when I got home, then gave up. This was three weeks ago.

The other day, I got a back pack out I hadn't used -  since May. When I reached into the front pocket, there was the other silver hoop earring...
Honestly, I was astonished and in wonder - but refrained from the usual questions. Focused on Gratitude instead :)
Yes, magic Does exist, especially when we least expect it.


Sunday, July 16, 2017

Coral Reef Mosaic Design

A custom mosaic design of the rich, colorful, vibrant life in a coral reef for a dear friend and mosaic artist Mermaids Sea Jewels.
Mermaids Sea Jewels specializes in beautiful medical alert jewelry and will fabricate the mosaic in her bathroom renovation. I can't wait to see her progress and am very excited for her.

Coral Reef Mosaic Custom Design,  by Sue Betanzos for Mermaids Sea Jewels

It's a large, ambitious undertaking that will be a creative journey she will document as it goes.
The mosaic will be fabricated in tile.  There are three panels surrounding the bathtub. The square in the center panel is the shower niche. The left panel will have the shower fixtures.

The floor of the bathroom was a custom design of playful, colorful blue swirls of iridescent blue tiles surrounded by sandy colored matt tiles - magical.

The concept was to use the line art and color key similar to a coloring book. This allows for artistic interpretation to serve as a creative spring board when fabricating - putting her own spin on it to make it her style.
The color illustration was done in colored pencil as a guide she will use when choosing tile. There is a scaled line art drawing (before coloring) that she has already printed, enlarged to full bathroom size on a banner printer at Kinko's to serve as a blueprint guide to mosaic from.



My Library Journey

A small peek at my process this summer.

After I upgraded my Mac, I lost my old version of Photoshop and MS Word.
This has me going to the library to use their software, tables - and enjoy their very cold A/C.

 ❤️ I'm a big supporter of libraries, bookstores, books, reading. Like all book lovers, I also have my own collection of dear books, like old friends.

I Love Books!


The library has always been a "home away from home" for me and this summer it has been another little studio for my drawing and digital work. I've known everyone there since 2000 or so. Seen it renovated, and just got new carpet.

Editing with public software and computers: While I'm not fond of PC's, it's good to have them available to use. Also the scanner on the copier is very good and large enough for works up to 11x17" and at up to 600 dpi scans.
The software GIMP is similar to Photoshop... bare bones version.

Eventually I'll purchase new software. For now, going to the library forces me into a new, comfortable, familiar environment and out of the isolation of the studio (part of the reason I continue teaching).






Friday, July 7, 2017

Rich Red Abstract Mosaic

Went glass shopping at Expressions Glass and I am working on this vibrant colored stained glass mosaic. It's large 6' x 2.5' for an exterior pool area. I will be posting stages in the creation of this mosaic from design to completion and installation.

Had to clear out and reorganize the studio, which was a good thing.
In fact, I'll be having a small online studio sale to find loving homes for a few pieces of art in a variety of media :)

Hand colored full size cartoon, ready to use



Coloring the bulk/Wht banner print out for color matching and because I like to color!
Used an old set of pastels to color the 6' x 2.5' print out.



Original art proposed for pool site. Changed to current curves.



It will be mosaics of stained glass in rich colors inspired by Georgia O' Keefe.
Also, working another mosaic that I am designing for a friend. She will be fabricating it in tile. It's super cool, I love it and will do a separate post for it.





Monday, May 29, 2017

St. Francis Love

St. Francis pet portrait paintings always get a lot of love. Whimsical, cheerful, full of details and color.  St. Francis pet portraits are very personal keepsakes of happy memories with our beloved furry companions.

Visit my Art Of Sue Etsy shop HERE  for St. Francis commissions and prints.

St. Francis and Kitties has been featured in Etsy's Catholic art collection Polyvore religious art, Pinterest, Facebook and more.  Here is this week's featured St. Francis pet portrait image: (sorry about the big watermark.)

St. Francis and Kitties pet portrait. Art Of Sue for commissions and prints.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Butterfly Roses

Having fun painting watercolor roses in a new style. It's out of my comfort zone, a nice challenge.  The style is very loose, interpretive and colorful.  A great excuse to buy fresh paints and brushes!

Butterfly Roses. 5x6" mini watercolor. Canson watercolor paper, Winsor and Newton watercolor 
Letting the watercolors flow, playing with the differentness of the medium. Even so, I just had to add the dog faced butterfly with tighter rendering :)

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Arizona Songbirds Coloring Book Art

This is the second design I chose to play with from the previous coloring book.  The fanciful birds were painted to represent songbirds native or migrant to Arizona.
Birds painted included: Yellow Warbler, Western Tanager, American Goldfinch, Vermillion Flycatcher, Red Faced Warbler and Painted Redstart.
I resisted the temptation to add more birdies such as Verdin and Hummingbirds!

Arizona Spring. Adapted from Eleri Fowler's charming coloring book Joyous Blooms to Color.

It was a simple, no thinking painting that was relaxing.  I enjoyed puttering through my bird books to pick my bird colors. Warm brights for the birds and flowers, cool blues, greens for the leaves.
The painting is embellished with lots of gold, just on the leaves as I played with the metallics. It looks pretty, shimmering in the light. Watercolors on watercolor paper.





Thursday, April 27, 2017

Bee Flower Wreath Coloring Book Art

Sometimes, when I have a lot going on or just freeze, I go to a super simple project to kickstart myself.
Last year a friend gave me a coloring book that I had admired and I finally took a couple of the designs to color, adding more line work.  Art without much planning, just doing.  I tucked in more flowers and embellished the painting with gold and silver (wings, seed heads).
 I loved getting lost in painting the extra flowers, playing with metallics, using my vintage flower book from my days in the UK.  Watercolor painting on Strathmore Vellum Bristol paper. Image was copied onto heavier paper.

Bee Wreath watercolor. Adapted from Eleri Fowler's charming Joyous Blooms to Color
When I think back, I can still smell the sweet pea flowers I added along with colorful poppies, leaves.




Saturday, April 22, 2017

St. Francis Of Assisi, The Original Environmentalist

Happy Earth Day!

St. Francis of Assisi was speaking of the love and importance of the natural world long before the word Environmentalist.

May the love of the natural world bring harmony and peace to all in the spirit of St. Francis. A person who acknowledged the importance of every twig, bird, life, the wind and this beautiful place we call Earth!

St. Francis and Friends. Prints of St. Francis at Art Of Sue
In case you haven't read this lovely poem prayer, here you go, The Prayer of St. Francis.
(no religious message intentions, just some good old fashioned advice on kindness, which this world could use right about now).

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love.
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
And where there is sadness, joy.
O Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
To be understood, as to understand;
To be loved, as to love;
For it is in giving that we receive.
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned.
And it is in dying that we are born to eternal live.

As most of of you know, I work in two different styles; realistic and whimsical. The St. Francis collection is my whimsical side and prints of these are found in my Etsy shop. Cheerful, happy, colorful art to brighten any animal and dog lover's space.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Great Pyrenees Dog Portrait

Finished! This Great Pyrenees original dog portrait painting is for Big Fluffy Dog Rescue. It was commissioned by a passionate dog and animal lover who adopted sibling 'Pyrs' from this rescue. Wonderful companions - her babies :) Many heartfelt thank you's from Big Fluffy Dog Rescue and all the sweet dogs it will help as they wait for their forever home. All are fostered with lovely people.

I also sent a fluffy dog print of Australian Shepherd 'Risa Belly Rubs along with it '. Hope it raises the maximum for your wonderful rescue. Best wishes with your art auction!

Great Pyrenees original dog portrait painting. 8x10" acrylic on canvas. Artist: Sue Betanzos.com










Thursday, March 16, 2017

Rescue Dog Portrait

In progress, almost finished!
8"x10" acrylic on canvas for a rescue site.
I love painting and drawing our furry canine companions :)
Can you guess what breed?




Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Watercolor Practice I

One of the most important things to know when starting something new is that at first it's going to be awkward, uncomfortable, even frustrating at times.
That's expected and o.k.
KEEP GOING.

Eventually, as you become more comfortable with the new venture, your confidence will grow.
Watercolor is a medium I am using more this year, enjoying the new feel of the luminous watery media and it's challenges.



Here is one of many practice sheets using the paper that came with an inexpensive kit. The repetitive brush strokes are part of the learning.
Even though I have been painting most of my life, practice is part of my routine. It's relaxing too.

Watercolor classes 1 & II at the Kirk Bear Canyon Library:
• March 27 - 5:50 pm - 7:30 pm
• April 3  5:30 pm - 7:30 pm

Now get back to work and practice :)



Thursday, March 2, 2017

Materials for Coloring & Watercolor Classes



Supply List Of Materials for the Kirk Bear Canyon Library Classes:

These are some of the art supplies I used to create the demo examples for the class.

Some supplies will be provided by the library.

You may prefer to use supplies you already have, and that’s perfectly fine. Your results may

be different ... and that’s fine too.

If the suggested brands are not available, feel free to substitute.

Please avoid anything labeled “student” or “academy” grade regarding paints and pencils,

which tend to be lesser quality and can be difficult to work with. For the same reason, never

buy the generic or store brand of pencils or paints (such as Artist’s Loft or Master’s Touch) sold by

 Michaels and Hobby Lobby.

_________________________________________________________________

• HB drawing pencil

• Kneaded eraser

• Pencil sharpner ( the hand held KUM brand is good)

• Watercolor:140lb cold pressed watercolor paper, 9”x12” (Strathmore, Arches, Fabriano)

• Colored Pencil: Strathmore Bristol Vellum 9x12” pad

• 3 watercolor brushes: #1 round, #4 round, 1⁄2” chisel, #1 round ( I love the yellow nylon

“golden taklon”, Simply Simmon, and Coteman synthetic brushes, which are inexpensive

and durable and perform very well. Sometimes they are called “synthetic sable.”

• Something roomy upon which to mix your watercolors: a white palette or an old china

plate or white Styrofoam plate.

• A beginners watercolor tube set of the Royal & Langnickle which has a variety of colors at

a good value to start out. Coteman small pan set of watercolors is also nice and affordable.

• White gouache, any brand (an opaque watercolor) or FW white liquid acrylic.

• Prismacolor, Koh-I-Noor, or other Artist Quality colored pencils. Info HERE on brands.








Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Colored Pencils for Coloring Classes

Colored Pencil Classes at the Kirk Bear Canyon Library March 6 & 20, 5:30 - 7:30.

Ready for some creative coloring but confused about what to get, where to start?

There are a lot of options out there and it can be a little overwhelming for the beginner, if you don't know what you're looking for. In the many years of drawing, I have tried a lot of brands, types of pencils, products.

Colored pencils have so many possibilities. It's a slow enjoyable medium with a zen like quality as layers of shading are applied. That's why coloring is recommended for stress relief - Slow, creative unwinding. The continued popularity of coloring books is evidence - they are Everywhere.

The following is a list of colored pencil brands I have tried and own. I often mix the brands to get the results I want.
I have featured the current popular brands with some prices and quality info.
Links enclosed are to:
 Michaels (online coupon), Sarnoffs of Tucson, Walmart (Prismacolors, best deal),  Amazon.

    Prismacolor Premier Colored Pencils
$$   Pros: Artist Quality. Rich buttery pigments, blends and layers beautifully.  Large color selection. Online color charts available on their site for download. Available at many places, even at Walmart.
       Cons:  Soft core lead breaks easily. Not all colors are lightfast.
        Wax Binder. Can develop a waxy haze on top of layers.

   Prismacolor Verithin Colored Pencils
$$  Pros: Artist Quality. Rich pigments, Large color selection. Hard lead core does not break easily            and keeps a sharp point. Good for fine details.
      Cons: The harder lead makes blending a bit more difficult.
      Wax binder.

   Koh-I-Noor Polychromos Colored Pencils
$$  Pros: Artist Quality. Nice pigments, blends and layers easily. Hard lead core does not break easily      and keeps a sharp point. Up to 72 color selection. Michaels carries this brand. Blends nicely with         Prismacolor Premier Colored Pencils and Faber-Castell pencils. Get the ones Encased In Wood.
     Cons: Only found in select stores. The wood cased ones only found online.
      Oil binder. No wax haze, clean finish.


      Faber-Castell Polychromos Colored Pencils
$$$ Pros: Artist Quality. Rich pigments that blend and layer beautifully. Large color selection. Online        color charts available on their site for download. Most colors are lightfast. Lead is harder, keeps a        sharp point longer, doesn't break easily.
       Cons: A bit more expensive.
       Oil Binder. No wax haze, clean finish.

Sarnoffs of Tucson and Michaels offer the artist quality pencils individually to purchase. Another reason to buy artist quality - they are usually available individually in case you run out of your favorite colors.
Or would like to try a new brand but don't want to buy a whole set of the higher end products.
* Bottom line (no pun intended): get the best materials your budget can afford.

So don't wait - just start!
Stay tuned for paper suggestions. Art results depend not only on the pencil choice, but more importantly, the paper choice.

There are additional media combos for colored pencils like inks and mirco pens, watercolors for later posts. Mixed media is my very favorite method of creating.

Happy coloring!






Wednesday, February 8, 2017

New Colored Pencil Classes!

Time to learn new colored pencil techniques.
If you are a beginner or already have experience with colored pencils, then Colored Pencils I and II are being offered this March at the Kirk Bear Canyon Library.

Free to the public and sponsored by Friends of the Kirk Bear Canyon Library. Limited seating, registration is required.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Happy St. Francis Collectors

Happy collectors of the very special St. Francis series.
They make my heart glow with their personal stories :)

The best part is the lovely people I have met and collaborated with. I am continually humbled that they have selected me to honor the memories of their beloved furry companions.




"It's incredible!!! Wow!!!! My parents LOVE Thank you, again!!!!"


"It brought them both to tears! I would love to definitely keep in touch and support! ... I feel connected to you and your art. Thank you again, Sue!"

Hours of research go into designing each painting to include many tiny details.
The paintings invite repeated viewings as more is discovered. I learn so much about the area, the flora and fauna so that each painting is meaningful, personal.
Each commissioned portrait comes with a certificate of authenticity and a digital print of the artwork. Sometimes even bookmarks  :)