Interview with Betty James, Artist of the Month-July 2015
Why are you an artist or how did you choose to become an artist?
BJ: I have always loved art and everything artistic. I have been drawing since the earliest memories of my childhood.
Where do you paint? Home, studio, corner of a room? How is it set up?
BJ: I paint mainly in my home studio, with an occasional plein air.
What is your subject matter and how do you choose it?
BJ: My subject matter varies with whatever appeals to me at the time. I am attracted to portrait and figurative work, but also enjoy landscape and still life as well. Actually, I love it all.
What is your art background? Academic, self-taught, workshops?
BJ: I took a few art classes in college; however, the classes and workshops I have taken from talented artist over the years have proved to be most beneficial. I always did drawings, but did not start painting until I was 28 yrs. old. My first classes were in oil with Elsie Andrews, Fernie Tate, and Jeraine Reat.
I have taken oil paintings workshops from Scott Burdick, Tom Browning, Bob Wygant, Ron Riddick, and Carolyn Anderson to name a few. I took workshops in Sculpture from Ann Arnstrong, China painting from Stella Schilling, and stained glass from Cousin's Glass Art. I also attended extensive classes in faux finish and a workshop on trompe l'oeil from Nicola Vigini.
For a few years I sculpted original dolls from Cernit and traveled doing doll shows. For over a decade I worked doing faux finishes, trompe l'oeil and murals using acrylic paints in the Woodlands and Kingwood area. I still do an occasional mural that does not require extensive scaffolding. Approximately 2 years ago I went to a demo by Linda Dellandre at Woodlands Art League. I had no idea what wonderful pastel painting was possible until seeing Linda's beautiful work. I was hooked. I attended two sessions of classes on pastel and some plein air workshops from Linda. She also introduced me to PSST for which I am very grateful.
I am currently taking classes with Cheng Lian, a fantastic nationally know artist who luckily lives not far from me in the Woodlands. Cheng works mainly in oil, but does equally gorgeous pastel paintings.
In addition, I am fortunate to live in a very active art community that offers several weekly model groups, classes and workshops.
What are your goals?
BJ: My goals are simple. I hope to continue learning and improve my painting skills.
What do you consider your best painting ever and why?
BJ: Hopefully still to come.
What art events do you have scheduled?
BJ: Sharon Haney and I have a show scheduled at the Cloister in September 2016.
What do you hope people gain from viewing your work?
BJ: I will be happy if people viewing my work feel just a small amount of the pleasure It gives me while creating the art. Art is a never ending journey for knowledge. It not only gives me purpose, but also makes me a happier person.