Welcome, Bienvenidos!

* June - Sept. 2020 new show
at the Tucson International Airport, Lounge on the lower level west end by the car rental.

Bring your family and friends to view my reverse glass paintings!

Follow me for the latest artwork :)

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Happy December solstice, everyone | Tonight | EarthSky

Happy December solstice, everyone | Tonight | EarthSky Today is the winter solstice - basically the shortest day and longest night of the year. This explains the details and has links for even More information . There are religious celebrations and customs for the summer and winter solstice.
On the longest night of the year I like to bake, filling the house with the delicious smells of baking pasta dishes and sweet rolls!

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Tiny Gems

African Bee Eaters - Sold.  Allen's Hummingbird - Sold.
The first, a small, sweet gouache of a species of birds that (some) makes it's nests by burrowing in sides of river banks in large colonies.
The second, Allen's Hummingbird below it is small but fierce in guarding it's territory.
Thank you to Denis and Noreen for facilitating these sales XO!!

Last year I did a small series of a favorite subject - hummingbirds.  I like a contemporary feel to them because they are so energetic, fearless and gem like.
Originally they started out like many - studies for a new direction of work. I never know how they will turn out since I just play with backgrounds until it feels right.  An intuitive process of experiments in (new term I just learned and Love) "Imaginary Realism".

Reading facts/information on each new subject is a part of the job that I enjoy as much as the painting.

All have sold, so I know it is a good direction. Now it's a matter of choosing and inventing subjects based on reality, animals & nature to satisfy my inner visions. Constantly works in progress with some touching on fantasy like unicorns, mermaids, sphinx, elementals and more.
African Bee Eaters - Gouache

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Keepsake Boxes

Most of us have mementos of certain times, places people in our lives. Scrapbooks, drawers full of "stuff", closets full of sentimental tees and clothing we can't part with even though it doesn't fit or would not be worn.
Keepsake boxes, treasure boxes, memory boxes - all meant to hold items of sentimental value. Past, present, future boxes of memories.
The boxes currently being created are inspired by our human need to hang onto sentimental mind/heart value that is represented by the items they can contain.
I know for me it has been the gift of companionship of my pet companions in the chapters of my life. Each dog, cat, bird a beautiful, bright part of the big ongoing visual novella I call my life.
I have kept the tags from my dogs and cats and will use the little box to house their loving memories.

What about the fantasy? It's an itch I have wanted to scratch for a while. Fantasy, folktales, sci-fi, paranormal mystery, magical fiction are a big part of my reading - always have been.
Reasons why some of my favorite authors are Nora Roberts fantasy series, Charles De Lint, Pierrs Anthony, Tolkien (Way before all the movies), Star Trek, Star Wars, Kat Richardson,
And that's just a few!

Oh, two new terms I have just learned that are perfect for all of my contemporary animal and nature pieces: "Imaginary Realism" and "Magic Realism". These words are much richer in meaning than 'contemporary art' (boo - boring). So those are my new words that I will be using 2014 :)

Keepsake StarGazer Box

The first in a new series of little boxes done in a style I used to call fantasy art, but now have a new, richer term: Imaginary Realism.

Subjects of imagination, myth, folktale and more will be featured as this direction is explored. Some playful, some fey and wild, others completely new. My new StarGazer style isn't really so new since it has been used for all of the glass paintings.

Next year it is being expanded to include the boxes and other functional 3D art.

Now for getting quality boxes made of harder wood in the sizes I want at the right price.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Sunset Nebula Mosaic - Sold

Tucson sunset are some of the finest - they can take your breath away in the seconds before twilight (my favorite time :) )
Last year I did a series of small mosaics created from tempered glass and inspired by - you guessed it - StarGazing and nature.
They ranged from small squares to small rectangles. This one was part of two mosaic pieces submitted for the Small Works exhibit at Tohono. I am happy to say it has found a new home - SOLD

The rest can be seen in an Earlier Post. All have the fantasy elements of glitter, jewel colors, gem stones and are signed by the artist (me!).


Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Magic Realism

I thank each and every one who has supported me through the purchase of my work, comments and just staying in touch via this wonderful and magical keyboard. 
Studio work can be isolating due to the nature of the work (an issue with many artists), and it makes my day when I get communication from individuals that I feel I know though we have never met in person.  

That's the magic part - being able to make friends with those I would otherwise never have the opportunity to meet!  This is one of the Many reasons I love my job and am Grateful Every Day. 

So here's to magic and love in the coming holidays and new year.
Keepsake Box inside with rich red faux stone finish

Monday, November 25, 2013

Seth's Blog: The sound of confidence

Seth's Blog: The sound of confidence Nicely put. There are polite ways to express a No and do your best not to offend. Of course, there are those that are going to get offended anyway just because of the refusal :) but trying to please everyone will only end up in not pleasing anyone.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Tohono Chul Small Works Exhibit

Tohono Chul will have two new exhibits - the Small Works Exhibit in the Entry Hall and the Nature Illustrated exhibit. I am proud to be part of the Small Works exhibit with two mosaic pieces: Dog Star Canyon and Pink & Orange Nebula Sunset.

This Friday I will be attending the opening artist reception from 5:30 - 7:30 pm.  It will also be the opportunity to pick up the piece from the last show Little Scout (need to find a good home for that one).
(I don't know how I missed the call to artists on the Nature Illustrated, but I did which is ironic since nature is my specialty. I would have Loved to do something for that particular show)

Things have been too busy to get to Tohono Chul  since it is on the other side of town, about 11 miles from me. I meant to get it on the Altar Dia De Los Muertos night and walked right by it.
I was so tired and cold (forgot my jacket) at the end of the evening that packing up and getting home was about it!  Plus deadlines are always many and constant at this time of year.

This Friday should be another nice reception and hope to see familiar faces. As usual, Tucson bombards us with events in Nov. Dec. which makes choosing what to do difficult at times. Then after the holidays it tapers down to summer heat when many leave to cooler places. (I truly want to be one of those to leave this year and am looking very hard for opportunities in several areas.)

Meanwhile here is the info for this Friday.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Tohono Chul Small Works Exhibition

Good things come in small..." Well this Small Works Exhibit at Tohono will be worth checking out with artwork 12 inches and under. Two of my mosaics were chosen for the invitational exhibit.
The round Dog Star Canyon has elements of the rich sandstone canyons as well as a small petroglyph of a dog in gold reverse glass painting.
A sparkling blue creek water element, vintage gold glass bugle beads gleam, curling thru the 'sandstone' and tiny smooth river pebbles around the edge of the piece complement the earth colors.
Dog Star Canyon - Mixed Media Mosaic 12"

The second mosaic piece is from my Nebula series called Sunset. Contemporary mixed media mosaic in rich pink and orange it is in a black box frame like all nebulas.
The mate, Turquoise Nebula is sold. There are several small nebula pieces available at www.suebetanzos.com that are equally fun jewel toned contemporary mosaics to add sparkle and color to an area. There is a sprinkle of glitter under the glass in each piece to add interest.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Maybe StarGazer Magic

Painting in my StarGazer fantasy folk style is a new journey that I am enjoying exploring, trying new things, mixing media, letting my imagination fly.
It allows for the freedom to create a new world where there magic is everywhere. Since fantasy, sci-fi art and literature are my hobbies, it's easy to fall down these magical rabbit holes.
Oh, and my latest passion - photography by landscape night photographers who specialize in starry skies. Photographers such as Mike Taylor Photography and Ben Canales Star Photography. Both are super talented and I never get tired of gazing at the night skies.
Just subscribed to Earthsky which is where I found the talented Mike Taylor. Love to get the latest in meteor shower times, sky reports, star sightings, photos etc.
The starry night photos inspire and fuel my imagination with possibilities.

As my StarGazer style evolves I'll post them here to migrate to FB.  The style is already looser, characters less stilted, softer. Still want jewel colors and incorporate lots of color in my work.
Since my specialties are animals, folktales, myths this new style will continue developing. It's exciting to reinvent my artwork into something new, fresh (for me anyway).
This is the boxer Maybe from CA on a starry night in a magical meadow. 12" x 12" acrylic.
I'll make new headers for my FB page with starry images soon!

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Recordar Es Vivir

To remember is to live. Translation of the title and always my thoughts on November 2.
Altar display at Tohono Chul for my grandmother, great grandmother, mom.

The altar display went well. I brought items that were relevant to my grandmother such as sea shells (she loved to walk on the beach and collect shells), photos of:  her BFF friend Carmelita, her mom (my great grandmother next to the white frame of Carmelita), family photo in the front with my mom, and her daughter (my mom at the end by the bible). Also her favorite color - pink, some tiny dishes, a wooden chocolate mixer, flowers, candles. Forgot to fill the cup with coffee (cafecito).

At the last minute I also brought postcards of the painting to give as mementos, keepsakes of the event. People loved them and I wish I had brought more.

My grandmother was passionate about the Virgin de Guadalupe, the bible, church so there were items for that as well. You never know what people will be drawn to and I was surprised how many questions I received regarding the wooden chocolate mixer and the significance of the shells.

I must have demonstrated the use of the wooden hand mixer and the making of Mexican hot chocolate at least a dozen times, rolling the handle quickly between my hands.
Dia De Los Muertos Altar for my Abuelita Margarita Gomez Macias - Tohono Chul 
Talking and explaining non-stop from 5 - 8 pm was exciting but exhausting and towards the end I was getting a little hoarse. Also, in the rush to get everything, get out there and set up, I forgot a sweater. By 7:30 pm it was chilly and I was glad I had brought the jeans to change.

It was a new experience to share my family memories and photos. People were fascinated by the old photos and personal items. They were kind, respectful and curious.
By now Many have learned about hand making Mexican hot chocolate with a traditional tool over a stove! I bet if I held a tiny cooking class on just that I would have gotten a fair attendance :)  Who could know? I hope at least one person is inspired to try this old fashioned, traditional method.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Dia De Los Muertos

Today I am building an altar at Tohono Chul Park for their Dia De Los Muertos celebration. This is my first time doing a public altar offrenda and I feel a little anxious. I have been asked to do an artist altar and I am going to do a more personal one because that is what feels right.

So many details, little things my abuelita liked. Her favorite color - Pink. Favorite food, drink, music, photos. Things that are about a celebration of her life. I wanted to bring my original glass painting of the Virgin De Gualelupe since she was very devoted to prayer and the Virgin, but fearing breakage I made a quick poster thru Costco and will mount that instead.
The painting would be magical, but one bump on the table would be the end so poster and some silver stars instead!

What if the other alters are these major works of art? And here I am with my homemade altar...
Well whatever happens, by this time tomorrow it will all be a memory. Better get to it - how I wish my family were here so we could do this together. I'm off to shop for: pink carnations/flowers, photo pick up, candles, vase, pink table cloth, tostadas, conchitas, poster board and more.
The poster I will use instead of the original painting. Recordar Es Vivir

Monday, October 21, 2013

Drawing Birds

Maybe I could use a helper? No, Risa would never tolerate anyone else being my " helper"! My old aussie girl wouldn't share with any bird.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Fairies, Dragons, Unicorns and More

With fantasy art so popular nowadays, there is a VAST selection of books available on everything from Manga, to tons of How To's.
Though I have always loved, read and collected fantasy stories, I have only admired fantasy art from a distance until recently when I was introduced to a few How to series (out of dozens!). After a marathon meeting with local fantasy artist Jessica Feinberg I came away over saturated, a little overwhelmed, and very eager to try this genre of painting - fantasy artwork.

My personal favorite How To's are the Dreamscape series by Stephanie Pui-Mun Law and the Fairy series by Linda Ravenscroft. Both are excellent water color tutorials - covering the basics of fantasy artwork drawing and the medium in simple, thorough lessons.

Both artists can be found on Amazon and often at your local library, which is where I started although I  already want my own copies! Both Amazon books also offer generous Look Inside features where you can preview before buying.
Stephanie Pui-Mun Law Dreamscape series

Coming from a mural painting and faux finishing background my brain was literally sparking with ideas for new paintings just when I was starting to feel a little burned out with current techniques and searching for something new.
I have already designed a new painting that is sort of fantasy, but still realistic. A riff on Stephanie Law's swirly style while I find my own.
Letting go the mental grip of reality to free style in fantasy takes some practice both in technical skills and thinking. This is where I will draw (literally) on all of the fantasy and paranormal literature I have loved and read most of my life.
Fairy tales, folklore, myth and legend are some of my favorite reading in all age groups with a sprinkling of excellent paranormal series like the Kat Richardson Greywalker series.

First, better get to work on current commissions since one of my deadlines is in five days, the others at the end of this month. Then at the end of the day I can play on my own personal project which will be my new experiments with fantasy artwork - Yay!
I will post my experiments and journey here.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Seth's Blog: Can an audiobook change your life?

Seth's Blog: Can an audiobook change your life? YES. One of many reasons I am a devoted fan of audio books. Also recommended is Think and Grow Rich (Napolean Hill), 101 Free marketing tips, Duct Tape Marketing, Flight Plan and several others. They are great to keep you moving forward, whatever your goals may be. Zig Ziglar is also good. Of course, stories are nice too, but those are saved after the work day is done :)

Some narrators can sweep you away into the story and I much prefer the pictures, sounds, landscapes in my own mind to those supplied by Hollywood.
Nora Roberts is so prolific that I always find a story I enjoy full of intrigue, romance, paranormal (which I like), and rich characters. There are so many, but I recently finished listening to this one. All of the audio books I listen to have been found at my local library :)

Saturday, October 5, 2013

How to Reverse Glass Paint

Risa StarGazer - Reverse Glass Painting

Seven years ago, while instructing at a glass academy, I was introduced to glass painting and fell in love with the technique. The rich jewel enamel paints glowed under the clear glass, creating a magical effect I am still currently exploring as my style continues to evolve.

The history of glass painting goes back hundreds of years to China and India. In mid century America and europe, tiny portraits of dogs, people, landscapes were often reverse painted on glass or carved clear quartz (intaglio) and worn as brooches, depicting the culture, people and times of the country.

Today in 'modern times' I am often asked how I do the ancient fine art of reverse glass painting. People think it's hard - but not really :) Like everything else, it just takes practice.
Glass or clear plexiglass can be used. Acrylic paints or enamel paints are good for this.
Often seen as "Acrylic reverse painting" if the acrylics are used and often with plexiglass.
I love the look of glass, so prefer enamels. They tend to be more durable.

Here is a short "How To" for those curious about the reverse glass painting technique which I use for rich, jewel colored glass paintings. At first glance painting backwards seems daunting, but actually it's easier to get into the rhythm than expected.

Materials you will need:
One piece of glass or clear plexiglass
Peebo enamel paints or Folk Art enamel paints (Dick Blick, Michaels, Jo-Ann carry these)
Few small round brushes ranging small, medium, large.
One liner brush for details
One larger square (chisel) brush for painting larger areas.

Step One: Make your drawing of your subject, keeping the first few projects simple to build your skills and technique. Use white paper and remember that any writing needs to be mirror imaged. Easy to do by writing on tracing paper and flipping it over to a backwards view.
Keep in mind that the finished painting will be the Opposite of your drawing.

Step 1

Step2: Start by painting in all the small details that will be in front. Eyes, leaves, stars. 
Remember you are going Front to Back - details first. Tape your drawing to the back side of the glass with clear tape at the top so you can flip the drawing to check your painting progress.
Clean the painting surface well to remove all traces of oil, grease, dirt. Try not to touch the glass because the oil from fingers/skin will leave a residue the paints don't like to adhere to.

Step 2

Step 3:  Keep painting and flip over to check your progress or have a mirror  behind to see the painting from the right side. Sometimes I prop a mirror behind the easel to see the right side quickly.

Step 4: Now that the painting is almost done the sky background is added last.  This is where you triple check any changes that need to be made. Once the background is applied it is very difficult to change or correct - next to impossible in most cases.  Small Changes Before the background can be made by carefully scraping with razor blades. Some areas of broad color are very difficult to rematch and are best left alone. I use colored paper to help establish form, color, contrast and composition adjustments.
Step 4

Step 5: Apply the background, in this case night sky. Pay careful attention to the direction of the brush strokes. Every brush stroke is visible in glass painting. Flipping it upside down was helpful for this little painting. The paints are semi-transparent, so it takes 2 - 3 coats for Each Element (leaves, bird, grass etc.) Some may want to be left with one coat to layer colors or special effects.

Step 5

Finished! The sky is several coats of Ultramarine blue and Dioxide Purple. I call this folky little style my StarGazer style and enjoy playing with it for the glass paintings.  Now try out this unique painting style and enjoy! In another post I will share some of the exquisite historical reverse glass paintings as well as modern reverse painting.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Tohono Chul Exhibit

Last night was the artist reception for the Tohono Chul exhibits Piece by Piece mosaics and Dia de los Muertos. As usual, it was very well attended with crowds of viewers jostling to view the artwork.
Tohono is one of my favorite nature oasis in Tucson and I always feel fortunate and privileged when my work is selected to participate in an exhibit.
Ran into several friends and met wonderful art lovers and artists.
Sold the Heart Song, yellow warbler and hope for another sale before the show ends October 20th.  I think the fact that Heart Song was featured on the Tohono web banner for the show helped :)

Monday, August 12, 2013

Dusting The Cobwebs

Confession time - "bless me father for I have sinned - it's been almost a year since I have blogged..."
After my blog domain was taken by a Chinese company I didn't come back for a long time, spending it on my Facebook page Sue Betanzos Design instead :/
Frustrated and upset, I even tried to set up a Wordpress site - no go - I was totally uninspired to write and cancelled the site (ha - a rhyme!)

I even had ideas of a separate blog devoted solely to studio stuff, but that didn't go either. So here I am, back at my original site with my original name Betanzos Designs except now there's no .com and the .blogspot handle.   I guess I can live with that for now...

I'll have a little of this and a little of that - Comsi, Comsa because it is by Living Spherically in many directions that inspiration is fed and stewed in my head to emerge as artwork.
I hope those that join will save this cyber channel and check in to read, share, or just say hi!

That's it for now - more later today!