Welcome Bienvenidos!

* My new solo show Reflections Of Nature is Jan. 12 - Feb. 13, 2019 at Agua Caliente Park in the Ranch House Gallery.
Bring your family and friends, pack a picnic, your binoculars (critter looking) and come enjoy one of Tucson's little wildlife oasis and Fine Art.
Every Saturday I will be there, painting in the Ranch House Gallery :)
* Classes in Coloring, Painting and Mosaic are available! Contact me here or Facebook or my website SueBetanzos.com to arrange a local class for a fun group activity. Ages 9 to adult, beginner to advanced.

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

St. Matthew Island Expedition

No art this time, just the beauty of the natural world. Find out where St. Mathew Island is by watching this short lovely video :)

Thursday, April 4, 2019

Garden Jewelry - John's Saguaro Mosaic

Almost finished!
At last, I am sharing a sweet mosaic commission for a memorial plaque.
What a pleasure to hear from her and create this special memorial mosaic sign for her garden.

Knowing what my friend likes, I designed the mosaic with a generous amount of 'bling' in the forms of mirror and iridescent tiles.

I love adding a bit of mirror to all my mosaics, the way it catches the light day or night. Contrasting textures is also favorite method. Whether painting or mosaic, there is usually a contrast of textures, colors or both to bring focus to a subject.

Here I uses the mirror as a sort of rainbow bridge that will glitter in the sun. The iridescent red tiles are so pretty with the mirror.
Large ball chain surrounding the main subject, the banner, will turn into gold dots when grouted. The dull matt of the neutral gray tile lets the main colors, shine, and banner pop forward.

Ceramic handmade tile elements contrast nicely with the smaller tiles and save the time of hand cutting the stained glass. I love the tiles by my friend Carol Hedgedus at Handmade Tile Studio. They are so fun and I always spend more than intended when I go to her studio!

I added bright yellow hand cut stained glass flowers for more color, texture, shine and green leaves for extra color. Using the basic color wheel of red, yellow, blue, green gives it a cheerful feel.

This charming little mosaic is 6 3/4"x 16" and will go into a hand welded iron frame with a stake included for putting into the ground.
It will be put in front of a Saguaro in the garden, a memorial to cheerfully glitter and shine.

Installed photos coming soon!

Monday, March 11, 2019

2019 So Far and Wild Angels

Dearest artist friends,
It's been so busy that I am just now dusting off the cobwebs on this blog. So much has happened that I am listing it here - to remind myself because time tends to slip from one deadline to the next on the calendar. This is a visual journal to myself too!

A quick side note: did you know... 2019 is the Year Of the Boar - my year - woo-hoo! Also the year of a big birthday for me so I feel like "something good is just about to happen" every day :)

A huge thank you to those who attended and purchased work at my Reflections of Nature show that closed Feb. 14. Seems like last week! It was a smashing success and such a wonderful experience, meeting the loveliest visitors at the gallery each weekend as artist in residence.

I am forever grateful to everyone who has supported me so that I can continue my creative journey and make my living as an artist.
Prints of the artwork are available by contacting me HERE.

Congratulations to those who now own an original artwork that speaks to their creative soul every day. Below are a few of the artworks that have new homes and the new 2019 awards

As to the rest of the success; I was the featured artist profile for January and February for the art publication Tucson Happenings.com.
My colored pencil portrait of Olivia was selected for publication in the April's Ann Kullberg's  Hidden Treasures  Vol. 6 magazine. I am honored to be in the very talented company of fellow colored pencil artists. My little Screech Owl, Whoo Me?, is in Ann Kullberg's Hidden Treasures Vol. 3.

And (*ching ;~)  I have been invited for a new solo show at a favorite place Kirk Bear Canyon Library this November.  Yay! It will be another multi-media show that features work in colored pencil, glass painting, glass mosaic. The title for the show Wild Angels, came to me in the early fuzzy hours between sleep and awake, the way most of my ideas do.

This new show will also be a fund raiser for animal rescues, both wild and domestic (hence the "Wild Angels" of my heart).
Throughout the month of November I will host a new fundraising event each weekend at the Library, demonstrating one of my art techniques. Donations to featured rescues will be posted.
Can't wait to get started now in the cool of March here in Tucson before it's blazing hot.

Now, on to a small mosaic memorial sign I am designing for a friend as well as a new glass painting with one of my favorite subjects :)

TucsonHappenings.com, January Artist Profile, 2019, from the St. Francis series

TucsonHappenings.com, Quail Whimsey, colored pencil, February 2019 Artist Profile


Olivia, colored pencil selection for April 2019 Ann Kullberg's Hidden Treasures Vol. 6

Barn Owl Neighbor, colored pencil for Reflections of Nature Exhibit

Dream of the Sea, reverse glass painting 20" round, Reflections of Nature Exhibit

Seal Curiosity, reverse glass painting, Reflections of Nature exhibit

Goldfinch Hello, glass mosaic, Reflections of Nature exhibit

Barn Owl Love, colored pencil for Reflections of Nature exhibit (a favorite!!)

Bat Night Magic, reverse glass painting, Reflections of Nature exhibit

Blue Coyote, acrylic on paper, Reflections of Nature exhibit

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year Dear Friends!

May this shiny, wonderful new year bring you lots of opportunities in your personal and professional lives.

Pax, colored pencil portrait inspired from the story by Sarah Pennypacker. SueBetanzos.com
I love the story of Pax. It inspired this colored pencil of Pax, waiting. Prismacolor colored pencils, Faber-Castell polychromes colored pencils, Strathmore Bristol Vellum paper, 9" x 12".

New Years Thoughts:

Please keep in mind Oprah's quote that "luck is preparation meeting opportunity".
Or Chris Guillebeau's; "How do you get to be in the right place at the right time? You plan for it, and you position yourself for the success you want to see".

I have a niece who is an expert at this and so is an academic rockstar with several full ride scholarships, degrees and more. She is the super nova example of hard, smart work.

Monday, December 31, 2018

Rainbow Afternoon

New Year's countdown!

Rainbows have a magical quality, shimmering, winking with amazing colors so briefly. Sometimes in moments, they are gone, leaving a happy memory of a wondrous sight.

Wanting a break from the studio, I decided to get outside, go to a nearby park, take my binoculars and little camera, see what I could see. Cool and blustery weather from rain - perfect.

As I was going to the park I saw this shimmering, iridescent, wonder. I captured what I could, got to the park and took another photo of the rainbow, then a few of the amazing cloud sky. The light made me want to somehow, paint it, even though I am not a landscape artist.

Magic Rainbow in my little neighborhood!

Same magic Rainbow, the other arc side in the park.

The cliche of the rainbow after the storm is usually relevant for me, it's what I choose to believe and feel. How can you truly appreciate good without ever experiencing not so good? There is no contrast to compare with.
Since everyone has had both good and bad times, I want to share this rainbow and remind that:

"Something Good Is Just About To Happen!" 

Optimistic, sure. Beats cranky, pessimistic, depressed for sure, at least for me :)
Better design a 'think print' with this quote to put out there!

Add caption

Saturday, December 29, 2018

St. Francis and Friends is Coming into Being

Almost New Year's Eve!
This St. Francis painting on glass is in the last stages of completion. Bottom darker colors and star trails are left to add before the final stage - the sky. Once layers of the sky are started, there are no corrections. Actually, at this advanced stage of the painting, corrections are not possible because of the 5 - 6 layers of paint for each leaf, animal, branch has been painted many times for depth.

St. Francis painting on glass from the front, before the bottom and sky added.

St. Francis painting on glass from the back. Additional foliage depth has been added.

St. Francis glass painting from the back showing the translucency of the layers in areas. 

The blue paper is inserted behind the painting frequently to evaluate details. It is an important sky preview of darker blue to evaluate light and dark areas, elements (values).

The dogwood flowers are not white, but a light blue to be secondary to the dogs and cats in importance. The white against the blue would have made them come forward too much.
Composition concepts apply to all my paintings: rule of thirds, values, hue, intensity, tone, overall balance.

St. Francis painting on glass, almost finished. Blue paper behind to preview details.
Stay tuned for the last, finishing stages! Then off to the photographer for the professional photos :)

Friday, December 21, 2018

St. Francis Glass Painting Progress

As this sweet painting has evolved, I will keep posting to document the journey of this painting on glass. When finished, the painting is photographed by Wilson Graham, who does the best job, knowing how to capture all of the metallics and color.

A tiny golden Barn Owl in the Pine tree

A happy singing Prothonotary Warbler
St. Francis in East Texas with Gus, Swiffer, Pepper, KC, Sassy. Almost there!

St. Francis and friends with blue paper preview.

St. Francis glass painting, back side. Side that is painted on.

For now, I have almost all the details of the animals finished. On to St. Francis's robe and the leaves above his head!

I fine tune the details with a very sharp Xacto knife and razor blades. Oh, and a large magnifying glass. Very Carefully scraping paint to refine edges. I will go over the painting many times doing this and adding more layers of paint.

The FolkArt glass enamel paints are somewhat translucent, depending on the color. This means that each leaf, flower, blade of grass, animals, everything, requires 4 - 5 layers of paint.
It allows for layering of different glazes of color to create depth, shadows.  I love using silver and gold metallic in my glass paintings. The metallics require 1 - 3 layers, depending on the effect I want.

Often, just before adding the final element of the sky I will back some areas with white. So the dark blue of the sky will not shadow through in the lighter colors.

In the cool winter these paints take about two days to cure onto the glass. In the hot summer, about a day. I love the bright colors, ease of use and permanence of the paints. They are fairly UV and fade resistant, but as with any fine art painting, no direct sunlight.

The sky is crucial and is carefully layered in blues, violet blues, white (stars). A large filbert is used to leave softer edges. Star trails are scraped back with a razor blade in areas. Almost impossible to correct, a one time deal.

Blue and white paper is used constantly to gauge where the details are at, depending on the detail.
That is what you see in the photo, blue or white paper slipped behind the painting.

Thursday, December 13, 2018

All you need to know: Geminid meteor shower in 2018

All you need to know: Geminid meteor shower in 2018

Adding to the art cocktail of my posts - something I hope you will get out and see for yourself.

I love stargazing and this is one of the best meteor showers of the year. Tucson winters are so mild all you need is a jacket and a warm hat. I just stand in my back yard and watch until my neck starts to get stiff LOL!

If you can, check out this cool nature moment, puts everything in perspective for me :)

Before photography, life was documented by Artists! Writing and painting about everything from fashion to amazing events like this.

Sunday, December 9, 2018

St. Francis Pet Painting on Glass

More progress on this latest St. Francis pet painting.
Working on tree leaves and grass now, but wanted to share a study of Gus.
Painting backwards is a different rhythm than traditional painting.

I thought Gus would make a good warm up and did it on a scrap of glass. Since no two paintings are alike, the details might vary slightly on the large painting.

Blue paper is used behind the glass to get a feel for placement and variety of the details. Front and back views. 

The composition is flipped, so when the painting is finished, the view will be a mirror.
I have already asked the photographer Wilson Graham, who has done all the photos for my glass paintings, to reserve time for the photo shoot of the finished painting. 
Glass is tricky to photograph, especially these glass paintings with the gold and silver highlights.

It is gorgeous here in Tucson, looking from my studio window and I try to get out for a break at least once a day. Crystal blue skies, cool weather and a ton of activities every weekend for those that get out and about. I like my cozy studio just fine :)





Sunday, December 2, 2018

St.Francis in Texas painting progress

I have my basic color scheme and am ready to paint.
A baby owl is tucked in the branches above Sassy's perch!
Yesterday I had fun buying paints, playing with colors.

Time for glass buying!

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

St. Francis is in East Texas :)

I love starting new St. Francis paintings. Reverse glass painting requires a lot of planning and designing due to the nature of so much detail painting on glass - backwards, details first. My designs for this series invites repeated viewings with all the little details.

This new painting has Five pet subjects; 3 dogs, two kitties.
Plus the supporting cast of local flora and critters. The main subject of the large white dog will be painted in subtle white tones so he does not come forward too much, dominating the rest of the darker values of the painting.  The smaller dog leaning on St. Francis, black/white will also be painted similarly.
White reflects the surrounding colors, which is why white in any painting is a combination of many colors. It's the surrounding values that can make it come forward :)

Hello Gus, KC, Swiffer, Sassy, Pepper!
A small red fox shyly peeks through the azaleas and foliage.
My favorite part of painting is the research of the subjects, animals and nature. There is always something new to learn about an area, animal/s and then translate that into a drawing that captures the essence in a very different style than my realistic style.
Oh, and the coloring, once the design is finalized!

It's good mental exercise for my brain, to think differently in design. Pare information down to a few lines. The composition may change a few times as I try out different elements.
Subjects and background should blend harmoniously, inviting repeated viewings with the details without being overwhelming.

The details should have a rhythm of repeated patterns and a limited palette. This creates continuity for the eye, mind, so although the details are many, due to the palette and pattern they are not overwhelming.

I like the composition to subtly lead the eye to the main subjects with color value, hue, and surrounding elements. Usually this means half dozen thumbnails to arrive at the initial layout. Then selecting my palette and doing a couple of studies to warm up and decide on the values, colors, highlights.

Due to the complexity and nature of the glass paintings, I make several color references before painting to get the values and color intensity right.
But the foundation of all my artwork is the initial composition. When I get that right, everything else will follow :)

Sunday, November 25, 2018

Hello Florida! Magical Sun Glass Mosaic

Happy Sunday!
I wanted to share photos of a glass mosaic art piece that sold last week. The Magical Sun was purchased by a dear friend and collector of my glass painting.
She has supported my work with kind words and more - her friendship means the world to me!

Here is the mosaic art and where it now lives, in a sweet guest house in Florida. I love the way the light dances on it, catching the beads, mirror and gold highlights in the painted face.
The Magical Sun cheerfully greets everyone in the state of sun and palm trees -
Hello Florida :)