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 :)

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 :)

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Happy Thanksgiving!

I like to refer to this as Gratitude Day. Reflecting on all I have to be grateful for. Writing it down. This has been such a good year for me. Yay!!

Has anyone accomplished, done anything that they wouldn't have thought of this year?
I know I have and it feels Amazing! Why?

Well here's a few things I want to share about my upcoming Reflections Of Nature Show:

1. All of the art that is being created for this show is of Arizona wildlife   Some of the paintings are my signature Reverse Glass Paintings. Other paintings are traditional acrylic paintings on canvas or board. The glass mosaics are made with hundreds of hand cut stained glass pieces.

2. I learned how to draw with my left hand.  I got a lot done, despite a recent wrist injury. I learned how to draw with my left hand. Teaching my brain to work with my left hand was a lot of work, but it makes me so very grateful to have my right hand back for the mosaics. Gratitude x ∞.

3. My scholarship awards this year from Skillshare and LinkedIn allowed me to upgrade my design skills. Thanks to the awards from these online class platform sites, I was able to learn new techniques in digital design, stay motivated with classes in social media tips (@ohn_mar_win).
Try new looser drawing and painting styles while my wrist healed :)  Some of this new artwork will be in my show this January.

Keeping frustration away, learning empowering skills, making my dreams come true - what an exciting way to enter the holiday season!

I'm really working to get more paintings finished and will post them here and on my:
 Facebook,   Instagram,   Pinterest.
There will be a pre-show sale for paintings I'll announce right before the installation Jan. 12.
Happy Holidays!

Monday, October 29, 2018

Reflections Of Nature Solo Exhibit

A very nice solo show was awarded to me this year at the Ranch House Gallery in Agua Caliente Park, Tucson AZ.   Yay!! I am so excited!

Available artwork will be added HERE.
Set in the northeast part of Tucson, Agua Caliente Park is a little water oasis that draws a variety of animals, a nature habitat.
It's great for picnics and birding. Inside this park is a gallery that hosts 11 artists per year for solo exhibits.

I feel so fortunate that I was one of the artists selected for the date of Jan. 12 - Feb. 13, 2019.
It's been super busy in my studio between the show artwork and new commissions for the holidays.
Plus a bit of teaching.

Reflections of Nature is just that; reflections of my views of the natural world in this area. It's hard to whittle down the subjects because there are so many!

The show is a month long so as items sell, I will replace them with new artwork. A portfolio of the artwork available will be in the gallery to view as well as a separate gallery on my website titled Agua Caliente show HERE.

My artwork updates can also be found  on:

Instagram @artgirlsue
Facebook SueBetanzosDesigns
Pintrest SueBetanzosDesign

More work will be posted in the coming 8 weeks. Yep, 8 short weeks until Christmas, 9 weeks until installation for this show - counting down the days!

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Magic Bird Series Paintings, St. Francis

I will keep posting that the Feast Of St. Francis is October 4.
Most events for the Blessing Of The Animals will happen before or after this date on a weekend for all to enjoy.

More work on my little series that I feel inspired to make.
A 3-D box I am fiddling with. And mini bird and animal acrylic paintings.

Magical Ruby Pink Bird, 5"x7. Available HERE 

Metallic gold and silver is used on all of the paintings in the St. Francis Collection. I love the Golden fine gold and fine silver paints!  The little 1 oz liquid bottles are a perfect size

With an online coupon from Michaels or Hobby Lobby the irridescent gold and silver 1 oz  are very reasonable and last a long time, since the paint is very concentrated. Great, smooth coverage. A wonderful quick alternative to gold leaf. I should be a sales rep for them HaHa!

The challenging part is capturing the gleam of the gold and silver in a photo. It always looks better in person. The rest of the painting is matt, to contrast with the gleam of the stars and accents.

The painting is available and the jewel box - maybe. Really enjoying the process.

Friday, September 21, 2018

St. Francis of Assisi Feast Day Art

Every year Hundreds of animal lovers bring their companions to events where their companions can be blessed.
Many churches host these Blessings Of The Animals around the end of September through the first week of October on weekends so all can go.

The first in a series of St. Francis paintings. 5x7" acrylic on canvas. Available Here.

This year I'm going to have prayer cards (with the prayer of St. Francis on the back) and calendar posters available. The calendars will be ordered for early December delivery.

The images used will be the super popular St. Francis with dogs and one of the St. Francis with Kitties.  
I might include the St. Francis with birds too. It's where I got the idea for the magical birds!

A small series of magical bird paintings inspired by this alternate style of mine will be available on my website Sue Betanzos and my Etsy shop ArtOfSue. Free shipping in the USA for both sites!

St. Francis Prayer Cards to tuck into a wallet or gift card Available Here


Saturday, July 21, 2018

Image File Quality Info for Artists

Today's post, with more info than tips!

I'll share little nuggets of knowledge that are helpful to me. Hope they will be of use to you too!
(Actually, in this post there are a Lot of nuggets to save for later reference, even if you don't use them).

Nitro Surf's Up!, Sue Betanzos,  9"x12
 Colored pencil on Strathmore 400 mix media paper.

In this digital age, there have never been more choices regarding printing.
Artists, photographers,and the general public can print images on almost Anything.
Here's a review of the "10 BEST ONLINE PHOTO PRINTING SERVICES 2018.

What is important to know is the image quality that is submitted to the online site of choice.
The better the image quality, the better the product. This goes for portrait work too.
Artists with local clients often prefer to take their own subject photos. Especially if the client photos are from a phone camera or not the quality that can be worked from.

Ready for some tech info? Save the links to refer back to if needed. Log them in your mental rolodex as you use them. Looks like a lot, but it really isn't once you use a few of them.

Many sites will require specific print formats:

• RGB - Common color model for DIY print sites. Red, Green, Blue. Computer monitors are RGB.
CMYK -  Used in printing process. Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Key (black).  This color selection works great for painting too.  Better than the regular "color wheel" theories. (Ex.: blue + yellow does not make as nice a green as Cyan + Yellow. More on this later).

Some of the common file types are listed below. Click on the letters for an info link.

PDF - portable document format. Very common, preserves original fonts, sizes etc.
PNG - portable networks graphics. Larger files, preserves transparency. Printful only takes PNG or PSD.
TIFF - Tagged Image File Format. Large files. Great for image printing resolution.
JPEG - Or JPG, is a form of compressed file. Very commonly used for web images or transmitting.
EPS - Encapsulated Post Script. Commonly used with Adobe Illustrator for vector based images.
PSD - Photoshop file. Many platforms accept psd files. For images edited in Adobe Photoshop.
AI - Files with this extension are created in Adobe Illustrator.
BMP - Bitmap Image File. More used on Windows platforms.

Pixels and Dots Per Inch. Why it's good to know them.

Photographer Andrew Dacey  has a great article explaining the difference between DPI and PPI.
Once you get it, it seems pretty simple.
PX - Pixels. Computer resolution. Very important to know when creating specific image sizes for web and printing. I use a converter like THIS ONE 
DPI - Dots Per Inch. The reason why some images will look grainy, soft, not clear - low dpi.

There you are, some terms you will become more familiar with as you use a few.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Free photo sites for artists and designers

My Tuesday Tip: Free reference photos for artists!

These days it's pretty easy to get good quality resource photos For Free or a very low cost.
The photos are usually used to either paint from for artists or design with for graphics.

Which means there is no excuse to steal photos off the web. Two words: Copyright. Infringement.

Above: Screen shot of Wildlife Reference Photos site.

Below is a list of free stock photo sites (except one very reasonable one). There are many free sites , but these seem to be the most popular for quality photos at hi resolution options to download safely without virus issues.

Pixabay: probably the most popular free share site.


Unsplash.com: another very popular free stock photo site.


Wildlife reference Photos : excellent quality photos. Only 5.00 an image.

• Photos for Artists FB Group: a closed group on Facebook that you apply to.

There are many stock photo sites. Professional photographers will sometimes charge higher fees, depending on their reputation. For example, a photographer for National Geographic or other high profile media is going to have a higher fee than a hobby photographer.

By professionals I mean those that make their living from their photography art vs those that like to take lots of photos.
You will often find what you need in both and if the photos are what you want, always ask if you can use them.

Prices range from free to 40.00 to 80.00 on up. Again, depending on the reputation of the photographer.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Australian Shepherd Mini Painting

Acrylics will always be my go to medium. Fast drying, easy to use. This is Aussie Risa on Canson Watercolor paper 140 lb paper, 5"x7".

Walmart had the best price by at least 4.00 from other stores. Of course, with a 40% off 1 item online coupon, Michaels would also be a good deal.

The Strathmore site is also pretty fun and informative. Their Strathmore 400 Mix Media paper is
great paper for a lot of media, it holds up well with good weight and paper tooth. They have a new one that is an even heavier paper. (340 lb)

For just casual sketching I have used the Canson Mix Media 9"x12" for years. And guess what?  Again, Walmart sells it in my town. It's super reasonably priced and the 98 lb paper is heavy enough to take most media without much buckling.

The brushes are the synthetic Simply Simon from Michaels. Their cheapest since I go through them often.
You can also get it all at Michaels and Hobby Lobby for even less by using their online 40% off coupon for one item.

No matter what you decide to use, it's important to practice - a lot. Just start drawing, painting. Pick something that moves you and just Start :)

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Colored Pencil Dog Portrait of Faeyre

This lovely girl was easy to be inspired by. Her soft steady gaze is part of her calm wise demeanor.
Faeyre is an Australian Shepherd.

Colored pencil is a slow medium. My shortcut for this is using odorless mineral spirits to quickly fill the paper with an underpainting for the pencil layers. I like Mona Lisa Odorless Mineral Spirits, but Gamsol works too.

Much of my work in all media involves an underpainting. Painting and drawing are foundations I always start with.
Colored pencils used: Prismacolor, Faber Castell, Koh-I-Noor. Each brand has a quality I like. This was mostly done in Prismacolor with their soft, buttery rich color letdown. The fine details were done with the harder leads of the Koh-I-Noor and FC.

Prismacolor pencils are wax based. Faber Castell and K.N are oil based. Both dissolve well and blend with each other when the mineral spirits are used. Paper used is Strathmore bristol vellum in a soft white. This colored pencil painting has 6 layers of pencil to achieve depth and richness of color.

I loved painting this lovely girl!

I always make a color swatch to sample the colors I think I might want to use.
The ones with the numbers are the colors I used for this portrait.

• PC = Prismacolor
• FB = Faber Castell
• KN = Koh-I-Noor