Betty Block greeted The Observer at her home tucked away in Lake Errock with her friendly golden retriever Amber, who was clutching a teddy bear in her mouth, and offering up a happy wag at their home/studio/gallery on Harrison Bay.
The picturesque setting is something to be admired, with its main cabin, and two other small cabins nestled into a hill, each containing generations of carefully displayed artwork from both Betty and her family.
Betty, at 83, has been doing artwork since the 60s, and is completely self-taught. She is also the featured artist at the 11th Annual Harrison Art Show, where she was chosen among the talent of 43 artists that will be featured this year.
The diversified artist, sticks to acrylics as her preferred medium for painting, one that has seen her through the years because it’s forgiving. She also mentions that it’s cost effective because you can recycle canvases, though that’s not something she typically shares with her clients. Some might consider that character with the considerable faces hiding beneath the exterior of her finished pieces. It also adds mystery.
Betty’s work covers a multitude of themes and styles from abstract, to portraiture, landscapes, still lifes, nudes, folk art, and she paints furniture as well. She had just finished a Samurai because the idea struck her, and she had run out of paint, so she went with a black and white motif.
According to Betty, you don’t need money to become a painter, just the desire, and the willingness to dig in.
“It’s always changing, I will do something, and then move on,” she says of the a lifetime of work that is as unique and nuanced as the different periods of her life. “It’s something to do and I enjoy doing it.”
Betty is humble about her achievements as an artist.
“We’re all good at something, I just happen to be good at art.”
Betty and her husband retired to their summer home after a life in Vancouver and have turned their oasis into a full time life of creativity.
Everyday, Betty paints in her charming loft studio in the main cabin, a space that is as distinct and colourful as her work. There is an antique radio that still works, carefully tucked into the corner of her desk, and she has a view of Harrison Bay that has seen her through countless manifestations of her subjects both real and imagined.
The Art Show and sale will be held on Saturday May, 20 at Harrison Memorial Hall starting at 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information phone Marg Doman at 604-796-8665.