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 :)

Thursday, December 29, 2016

St. Francis in Texas

St. Francis love is universal and here he is in Texas.
Instead of the glass painting, this is an acrylic on a 9x12" cradled board.

St. Francis main companions are two loving brindle boxers, a clever Amazon green napped parrot and a sweet Angus cow. Whimsical accents of regional flora and fauna surround them.
The rest is my imagination to add a bit of magic in a place of love, trust and peace.

Some of the flora and fauna include: Vermilion flycatcher, Scissor tailed flycatcher, Meadow lark, Green Jay, Red winged Blackbird, Armadillo, Jackrabbit, Rat, Gopher, cactus, flowers. The white iris and house in the trees on the horizon are part of their ranch.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Risa's SoulShine Mosaic Grout Tutorial

A little grouting demonstration for the SoulShine mosaic paper weight memorial of Risa's lovely spirit. Colorful glass bead 'rays', chain, clear glass beads, red iridescent glass adhered onto a small black stone. A fun little student project!

• After glass and beads have been glued, the adhesive has to completely dry. In our dry climate it's about a day for Weldbond, a couple of days for cement. Weldbond PVC glue was used for this mosaic.

• Painters tape is used to mask around the edge for a nice clean grout line. Small cut pieces overlaid go around the curved shape. The tape also prevents grout from getting on the rest of the stone.

• Black Mapei grout was used with Mapei grout additive in place of water. An eye dropper is used for small work to add liquid because it is more controlled and easier. Walmart has them very cheap.

• As you can see I recycle my paint palettes! The grout is mixed a little thinner than peanut butter to get into all areas easily. Grout is gently smoothed over the mosaic and over the edges of the beads, making sure not to go beyond masked tape.  Then the grout is left to set up about 10 minutes or less.

• A small bit of sponge, container of water and patience is all that's needed to wipe off excess grout to reveal the pretty beads, glass, mirror.
Video link shows how I wipe the grout off carefully, not using too much water. A small towel to blot off the excess water is handy now.

•  Once all of the excess grout has been wiped clean, carefully peel off the masking tape around the edges.

Finished! The grout will continue to harden and set up for a few hours.

Soulshine Mosaic stone

A little Risa's SoulShine mosaic inspiration on stone with glittering beads and red iridescent glass, at the bottom. Came across a dog show today with tri-Aussies. Thought of Risa and this little mosaic came to mind :)

Dogface Butterfly and Monarch Butterfly mosaic stones are colorful companions. Mirror is a favorite material usually included in my mosaics.
The decorative stones make excellent paper weights and doorstops. They also decorate nicely in a landscape design.

Up next, Horned Toad Lizard below. Here is part of the layout and stone. The Horned Toad was supposed to go on a large jewelry box, but I like it on this Large, interesting natural stone below with it's mirror and chain accents.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Wildlife Painting - Mixed Media Class

For artists who like to dabble in a variety of media I'm offering classes in mixed media painting. Colored pencils with an underpainting.

It's my favorite method to work in, whether mosaics or painting because I like the effects of a variety of media and most of my work has a foundational underpainting.

The Barn Owl below was painted with an under painting of watercolor, then refined with colored pencils. White feather dots are gel pen.

Interested in advancing your art skills? Contact me for class information via this blog in the comment section below or my Facebook page Sue Betanzos Design where you can message me and post your questions.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Mosaic Rocks! Mosaic Classes

Well mosaics do rock Haha! In this case, on rocks that will go in the garden. The paisley is in progress with glass beads and mirror.  Dog faced Butterfly almost finished.

Easy versions of garden art on tile will be offered in mosaic classes this month.
Interested in advancing your mosaic skills? Contact me for class information via this blog in the comments section below or on my Facebook page Sue Betanzos Designs where you can message me and post your questions.

Winter is when Tucson shines as a destination area full of activities and fun. Choose something creative to do!

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Fairy Bunny Acrylic Wildlife Painting

Monarchs on my mind and playing with a little fantasy.  A friend's yard is always full of bunnies and butterflies playing. Stories of urban fantasy by Charles DeLint, Laine Taylor and more authors  - a little Fae Flutter Bunny is one daydream.
Acrylic paints and  metallic gold paint (orange areas) in many layers on Bristol paper with a favorite quote. Collecting quotes is an addiction :)

Friday, October 21, 2016

Origami Day Of The Dead Puppy Boxes

Happy Friday!  Origami is so fun. Here is an easy Origami Puppy Box to play with.
I made just a few - my own puppy pack.
The hand painted ones are inspired by the Day Of The Dead, which is Nov.1 & 2. These little puppies are great helpers and can carry all kinds of small things. Enjoy!

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Gila Dreams Mosaic Signs

This little Gila Welcome mosaic sign is on it's way to Philly to enhance the entry of a Herpetologist's home, where it will make a difference every day.

I'm feeling the itch to mosaic again and make another version of this most favorite subject, the Gila Monster. Another welcome sign or simply the beauty of this unique jewel colored animal.

Mosaic artwork can enhance an outdoor or indoor space as either functional or fine art. The beauty is that the medium of mosaic is very durable, dating back to ancient Roman, Greek with examples of Pompeii being the most known/seen.

Stained glass is my preferred medium, mixed with other glass, natural stones. Here is the same design using rich colors in a re purposed cabinet door with tempered glass.

Commissions for Gila Dream mosaics and welcome signs are available. Each is handmade, unique, made just for you.
Gila Dream - Glass Mosaic, ©SueBetanzos.com

Saturday, September 10, 2016

How to Get Your Facebook Posts Seen

As we know, Facebook is constantly changing the way posts are seen. Only a very small percentage of your fans, friends will see those nice posts you make. You will see the amount of fans reached on the bottom of each post.
Facebook is in the business of selling ads to get posts seen. This can get expensive very quickly and can be tricky.
Here is a simple yet important strategy you can ask your followers to make on their feed when they like your page.

1. When a business page is Liked, there are options to choose from under the Like Tab.
Hover over it and the options shown under the In Your News Feed will be See First and Default.  Facebook auto selects the Default selection.

2. Ask/inform your fans about Selecting the See First to have ALL your posts come up in your fans news feed.

3. Under the same Liked tab there is a Notifications with the two options. Facebook auto selects the Live videos for notifications.   Click on the small grey pencil on the right to edit and custom select notifications.

4. Pin the post to the top of your page by clicking on the small grey arrow, upper right of the post.
A post showing these two steps can be pinned to the top of your business page as the first post seen by your fans.

Simple, yet effective. Get your posts seen by ALL of your fans.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

I'm Published - Anne Kullberg's Colored Pencil Magazine

One of my colored pencil pieces has been published in Anne Kullberg's CP Hidden Treasures Volume III earlier this year.

Over 800 international entries and I am thrilled and honored to have my piece selected.
So many talented artists are in the magazine - I am humbled and happy! I picked up the colored pencil medium the beginning of this year, so wow!  :))

A digital version is available as well as a print version. Anne Kullberg's site has lots of wonderful information, instructional kits and more for those wanting to further their colored pencil journey.
The staff is super helpful, friendly.  I subscribe to their digital monthly magazine and love it - I'm hooked!
The magazine is celebrating 16 years in publication.

Here is my little screech owl Whooo, Me? and the page in the CP Hidden Treasures Volume III. I love these little owls. Please read more about screech owls here. They so interesting as well as cute!

Whooo, Me? - Colored Pencil 5x7"

Pyrrhuloxia Desert Cardinal Pencil Drawing

Pencil drawing of the Pyrrhuloxia, Desert Cardinal to practice some value studies. Value are the dark and lights of a painting or drawing. Color can sometimes be a distraction so I like to draw several pencil studies of a subject to get the feel of it.

Plus it's fun to play with the shades and the lovely graphite tones.
This is in my sketchbook, on Canson acid free 98 lb paper with Derwent pencils.

Pyrrhuloxia Pencil portrait study. 9x12" 

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Linus, Dog Pencil Portrait

The Linus dog pencil portrait is part of a series of pet portraits and our connection to our pet companions.
That saying "pets enrich our lives" is an understatement. For many our companions are family members and our relationships with them are priceless.

*The impulse addition of my reading/working glasses was a visual pun that worked out, enhancing the original drawing.

Linus is a young Australian Shepherd that loves to be involved in every aspect of his family's life. Sometimes he can be relaxed enough to hang out with a good book!
His portrait was such a pleasure to draw and I thank the owners for loaning me the reference photo. The graphite drawing will be used for notecards and a personal newsletter.

Derwent and Faber Castell pencils were used on Stonehenge paper. I liked that the paper had just enough texture (tooth) to really do some nice layers. The thickness (weight) of the paper is great for pencils and even some light painting (not too wet).

Usually I like to start with the eye of the subject - it's the soul of the painting. Whiskers were added last with a very fine liner and gouache. Then I toned and refined the whiskers with a very sharp HB pencil.

Audio book I listened to: Downpour, by Kat Richardson. Urban Paranormal mystery. Pretty cool.

Linus Reading Glasses, 8"x11" pet portrait in pencil - original available 

The Eye - 

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Colored Pencil Pomeranian Portrait

The colored pencil pet portrait of a Pomeranian is finished.
Materials used: Faber Castell colored polychromos pencils, Prismacolor colored pencils, Derwent water soluble sketch pencils,  water brushes, Strathmore 400 series 140 lb vellum mixed media paper.

The 140 lb weight of the Strathmore 400 paper takes water well with little buckling. I like a heavy paper that can be worked on with mixed media because it stays/drys flat when taped to a board.

The Pomeranian is done in Faber Castell polychromos colored pencils, which builds layers beautifully. Prismacolor colored pencil accents were added in FC colors I didn't have.

Background is in three layers of washes with the Derwent water pencils.
Derwent water soluble sketch pencils are like watercolor pencils; they can be activated with water for black, grey washes. Perfect for quick field sketching with water brushes. They have blue end caps and a little brush logo on the pencils.

I found water brushes good to use on the smooth Strathmore paper vellum surface.  It was easier to control the wet areas with a constant supply of water in the brush because with the vellum paper there is little to no open time.
Meaning once a wash of color is put down, it's hard to manipulate the paint, unlike watercolor paper where there is plenty of time to move paint in water. Liquid watercolors work well on this paper with their super saturated colors.

A little spattering with the darkest Derwent wash pencil added a subtle interest to the background.
I love senior dogs!

Colored Pencil Pomeranian, 7" x 7" SueBetanzos.com  available.

Monday, June 27, 2016

K9 Gallery, Dog Portraits

Happy Monday! A few dog friends I had the pleasure of portrait painting (Harley, Bonnie, Maya, Riley, Kita, Risa, Bella, Macy/Chet, Anabell) . It's always fun to meet beautiful dog souls. I'll be playing with some sketches and ideas in different breeds :)

Dog Portraits - Acrylic on canvas  © suebetanzos.com

Friday, June 17, 2016

Every Painting Has A Story, Colored Pencil Fox Painting

A colored pencil painting journey with Sara Pennypacker's story of PAX.

Although I know I am incapable of picking a favorite book (because books are sacred, like friends, and you can't pick JUST ONE), each story has a special place in my mind.
I usually have several books to choose from that I either read or listen to as I paint. (I am addicted to audio books!).

Pax  by Sara Pennypacker is a lovely, touching story I listened to and was very inspired by. The colored pencil painting that resulted from feelings as I listened (and then read again) to this story is of Pax and his friends. Their journeys. Animal stories are some my top favorites.
(How many times do companions wait for the return of a loved one, trusting that they will return?)

A great story I really enjoyed and hope you will too. Find it on Amazon, your local library (Tucson Pima Libraries for me), or audio book.

Pax  10" x 12" Colored Pencil Painting ©Sue Betanzos
Available Here
Colored pencil painting on white Stonehenge paper.
Great paper with just enough texture (tooth) for lots of layering, building colors, shades.
Pencils used were Faber Castell, Verithins (for fine detail), Prismacolor. Love the soothing zen of layering colors to create depth and value. (while listening to a story of course :)

Also: a Kum hand held sharpner, kneaded eraser, fine embosser with tape (to lift fine lines of color).

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

On the easel - Pax

A work in progress inspired by a lovely story.  Every artwork has a story either I am listening to or am inspired by. Books, stories are my passion!
I like working in layers in all my media, slowly building color relationships.
Pax in progress  Colored Pencil on Stonehenge paper.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Birdy Journeys - Nature Haiku's

Documenting my experiences in nature with little picture poems - visual nature haiku's.

A few of the birdys I've seen below: house finch, northern beardless Tyranulet, yellow warbler, Wilson's warbler, western tanager, Lucy's warbler, vermillion flycatcher, black throated sparrow, elf owl, verdin.

Watercolor, ink letters  ©Sue Betanzos

Today, Ash throated flycatcher at Isabella Lee Nature Preseve with the guidance of Kendall Kroisen from Audubon.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

10 Free Artist Reference Photo Sites

Getting great photo reference is an essential part of a representational artist's research. If you are like me and don't have a high end camera with good telephoto lens, you rely on another's talent in this area if you want wildlife close ups.

Once a composition is designed, I often combine several photos in Photoshop. This Quail Whimsey is about five different photo references combined:
Quail Whimsey   Colored Pencil Painting   9x 12"   ©Sue Betanzos

While I like taking my own photos for small things, here are my top sites and some are free, for great photos:

Paint My Photo  - Free site.  The photos are donated on a wide variety of subjects. Just make sure to credit the photographer when you post images of your art.

Pixabay.com -  Free site. Photos are donated on many subjects. Credit the photographer if you post images of your art from their photo.

Morgue file  - Free site. Make sure to credit the photographer when you post images of your art.

Unsplash.com - Free site to download hi resolution photos.

Stocksnap.com - Free site for hi resolution photos to download.

Photos for artists -  Free site. A Great Facebook site with tons of donated photos on everything. It's a closed group so you have to ask to join and be on Facebook.

WildlifeReferencePhotos.com  Only 5.00 per high resolution image - what a deal. Compare to the usual 20 - 40.00 for most stock sites. Nice photos with correct animal names to search from.

Birding - Arizona and the Southwest. Facebook group site. One of my favorite sites for bird photos. A Facebook closed group, you can ask to join. Everyone is very nice and some may give permission for photo use.

The Hummingbird Whisperer  Facebook group site with nice hummer pics. Some may give permission for photo use.

Flicker.com - Social media site. A wonderful site to look at amazing photos. Search your subject and Ask the photographer if you can use a photo you love. Always give the photographer credit.

I have my eye on a Cannon power shot sx50 via ebay and Amazon, but it takes much more than good equipment for excellent photos. It's worth it to go to the experts when you want a great photo.

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Lucy's Warbler Watercolor

A week ago I heard a very different call, right outside my door.
Today I finally glimpsed the bird singing in the dense branches of mesquite trees. It was hard because the bird was small, grey and very quick - flitting from branch and tree.
I've since discovered that most warblers are small and very quick, as they eat the insects.

It was fun solving the puzzle because for a while all I could hear was the call. Plus I was determined to find it.
Once sited and after a bit of searching with sound and site matching I learned I had spied a Lucy's Warbler. It's call was insistent, distinctive.
Here is the little bird gem that I torpedoed a mornings work to find. Dashing out whenever I heard it's call in hopes of spotting it!

Lucy's Warbler Field Study - Watercolor, colored pencil

While searching I was also treated to bright red Cardinal, Phainopepla, cheerful House Finches, Mourning Doves, and a lovely rich orange Queen Butterfly!

Also, yesterday around 6 pm on returning from my jog I stopped to watch a Cooper's Hawk dine on a fresh dove. It was amazing how fast it finished. The hawk has a large nest in a large tree by my house. Ruby amber eyes flashed in the late sunset as it neatly finished it's meal.

Time to get back to work - Continuing on my fun new Birdy Journey - I am Drawn By Nature.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Sunday Hidden Magic

A few birds from last Sunday's birding. I'm going to go back for some field sketching before it gets too hot.
Meanwhile I have written notes and get reference photos from favorite photo sites I will share in another post. The best part after the adventure is painting and drawing with my notes!

My nature list and a few subjects.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Color By Number Hummingbird Class

Here is the design for the May 4 coloring class at Kirk-Bear Canyon Library which will have a simple animal color by number.

The design has a few numbered areas that will help understand shading for beginners. Especially in the feather areas. There will be a walk though demo, step by step showing what colors to layer where.

The hummingbird design is available at the Pima County Library in a bilingual coloring book I illustrated for the Tucson Botanical Garden years ago called My New Backyard Garden.

Student materials:
• Quality colored pencils
• Watercolors or watercolor pencils
• Couple of small brushes #1 & #2  or a fine to medium water brush.
• Enthusiasm and a smile!

Saturday, April 16, 2016

I am Drawn By Nature

Drawn to Nature like a magnet in the mornings. It's the cool spring weather that motivates me to get out and see as many birds and wildlife as I can.

Saw a lot of activity this morning on Tanque Verde Loop which I will record with a list of birdies and a few sketches such as the ones below from Woodland Road the other day. Bright yellow warblers, scarlet red Cardinals, jewel hummingbirds - so many it was exciting.

My current birding will keep me outside until the extreme heat hits. Then lots of painting inside!
Next time I'll try a little plein air sketching - trees :)

Nature Journal. Derwent, polychromos colored pencils, watercolors

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Barn Owl Study #4

A quick little barn owl study that turned out to be not so quick as I used the watercolor pencils, water color and colored pencils.
Kept adding more detail, tightening it up. A key to any artwork is to Know when to Stop  :)

Still loving the water brushes. Played with watercolor paper in a notebook for this one.

Almost finished!

Barn Owl Study 4, mixed media, 9x7"

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Watercolor Pencil Class April 6

Just a reminder about the Watercolor Pencil Class on April 6 at the Kirk -Bear Canyon Library.
That's Wednesday from 5:30 - 7:30 pm.
Image of roses will be supplied. Student materials list below at the end.

This class is about using watercolor pencils to enhance the colored pencil as an underpainting. It's Not a watercolor class, which is another subject.
The class will cover using watercolor pencils as sketching tools and as part of a mixed media with the colored pencils - the best of both worlds!

Some materials students will need for the class are below.  A possible continuation of the mixed media in animal and landscape sketches in May.

As you can see,  images of roses are chosen - the roses are blooming now! I love going to see rose gardens. Mesquite Gardens here in Tucson has an Amazing selection of gorgeous roses :)

Now for supplies the student will need:
• Watercolor Pencils. Prismacolor, Derwent, Faber Castell are all great choices.
• Your colored pencils.
• Pencil sharpener.
• Watercolor brushes (synthetic 2, 4, are good sizes) or Aqua Brushes as in the second photo with clear barrel.
** Aqua Brushes are synthetic brushes that hold water in the barrel so you don't have to carry water. I love them and use them more than my regular brushes now. Mostly the medium & fine sizes.

• Optional: watercolor pan set.
The trick with these when using them for the coloring books is to use Very Little Water. Most papers are not made for wet materials and will buckle if over soaked.
The Aqua brushes give more control for water use.

• Optional: Images of roses as reference for shading and color.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Rose Rainbow

This design is a repeat type from a coloring book I actually bought. Most of the books out there don't appeal to me At All, but this one did for a few designs.  It's called Joyous Blooms. I know part of the appeal was the flowers and quotes, which I love.

It was fun to experiment with for watercolor on the Bristol Vellum. To see how much water the paper could take before deteriorating or buckling too much. Overall it did surprisingly well. Good for student practice. Below are materials used for this project.

Materials for Watercolor Pencil Session April 6, 5:30 - 7:30:
• Watercolor pencils or watercolor set.
• Water brush and or 2 brushes: #1 round brush, #2 round brush. Synthetic.
• Colored Pencils
• Clipboard or other board to tape your project onto.

A 5x7" design will be provided. Pencil sharpeners will be available for use.
Aaron Brothers, Michaels, Jo-Anns, Sarnoffs are resources for the materials.
Call or go online to their websites to make sure they have them in stock.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Screech Owl in Colored Pencil

I'm calling this little Eastern Screech Owl done. Started as a small study, it developed into a tighter artwork. It's easy to get lost in the pattern of the feathers.
Colored pencils are an excellent media for the tiny details. Pencils used: Faber Castell polychromos, Prismacolor colored pencils, Prismacolor Verithins.

Whooo, me?  5"x7" colored pencil on Strathmore paper. Available