Thursday, December 29, 2011

Just off the Easel: Wilson and Trey

Here's another holiday commission that I can share now:

Wilson and Trey
5" x 7" oil pastel

These two fellas are big Redskins fans, so we had to show their team colors in the painting and in their collars!  According to Vikki, their mom and dad loved the painting!

It's so much fun working on pets and bringing photos to life in pastel.  Find out more about commissioning a portrait of your furry loved one here on my website.

Stay tuned for more completed commission posts this week!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Just off the Easel: Virginia Farm

Hoping your holidays have been magical!  Christmas has come, and  I can finally post some of the commissions I painted this holiday season.  Here's one of a Virginia farm:

Virginia Farm
oil pastel on board
12" x 16"

I'll be sharing more commissions in the coming week, so stay tuned!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Just off the Easel: Christmas on Salem

Happy Holidays!  I hope you are enjoying all of the joy that the holiday season brings.  We have been so excited to introduce our daughter to Christmas traditions, and one of our favorite places to celebrate is Downtown Apex!

This past weekend was the annual Christmas Parade on Salem Street in Downtown Apex, NC.  This painting is based on a photograph I took just as the sun was setting and people were lined up along the street waiting for the parade to begin...

Christmas on Salem
12" x 16"acrylic on canvas
available in my shop

I love the Downtown Apex, NC area with all of its history and charm! I have worked in the downtown area of Apex for 7 years and consider it to be a local treasure.  They close off the streets on Friday night for the Christmas tree lighting and carriage rides, and again on Saturday for the Parade.

The view is looking South down Salem Street. You can see the street lights which are decorated with lights and trumpeting angels. Along the sides of the street there are people lined up ready for the parade. You can also see the buildings of a few of my favorite businesses, among them are The Rusty Bucket and Anna's Pizzeria. If you are ever in the Raleigh, NC area, Downtown Apex is not to be missed!

I hope that you enjoy creating special holiday memories with your friends and family.  Please remember especially those in need during the holidays and our men and women serving in the Armed Forces.  Sometimes the happiest times for most can be the hardest on those dealing with loss or missing loved ones.  

I am donating 25% of the sale of this painting to the Western Wake Crisis Ministry, an non-profit based in Downtown Apex serving the community through employment counseling, food pantry, and financial assistance.  Visit their website at for ways that you can volunteer or donate.

Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Just off the Easel: Blue Ridge Winter

This is the other piece that I finished and is hanging in the Apex Arts Council's Winter Holiday Art Show:

Blue Ridge Winter
16" x 20"
oil pastel on board

It is framed and hanging in the Salem Street Promenade near enV Salon through December 12th.  There are some great works available for auction, so stop by if you are in Downtown Apex.  It's right near Common Grounds Coffeehouse, so you can get caffeinated while you're there!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Just off the Easel: Snowy Lane

I just finished this for the Apex Arts Council's Winter Holidays Art Show:

Snowy Lane
16" x 20" acrylic on canvas

I took photos along the way so you can see the progress of this painting from start to finish:


lay down color & refine shapes

more detail and shadows
finished! added branches,
more highlights and adjusted colors

Snowy Lane will be on display and available for purchase via silent auction in the Salem Street Promenade/Common Grounds Coffeehouse Dec. 1-12.  Auction bid starts at $150.  I also have another piece in oil pastel, Blue Ridge Winter, in this show.  Come by and see some great local art in Downtown Apex!

Remember that I have four paintings on display at the Visual Art Exchange starting December 2 (see posts here).  The opening for these shows is during First Friday, tomorrow night, December 2nd from 6-9pm!  

Monday, November 28, 2011

WIP: Pet Portrait Commission

This is a work in progress... a commission from two different photographs.

Trey and Wilson
5" x 7"
oil pastel on board

If you're looking to commission a pet portrait, please check out the Black Friday-Cyber Monday sale in my Etsy shop!  All prices are automatically discounted 10% through midnight tonight (Monday, November 28).  

There are lots of Etsy sellers offering discounts, so take advantage and shop handmade this holiday season!  For shops offering sales for this weekend, add "cyber monday" or "black friday" to your search terms.

I'm also working on a few winter scenes for an upcoming show...look for a post on those soon!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Locally Grown / Sale for the Season

Two of my works have been accepted into a juried art exhibition, Locally Grown, at the Visual Art Exchange in Raleigh.   

And two others will be a part of the annual Sale for the Season, also at the Visual Art Exchange.

Locally Grown   December 2-23, 2011:  Locally Grown will feature 2D and 3D artwork that represents local places, food, and events.
Sale for the Season   December 2-23, 2011:  Sale for the Season is the best opportunity for VAE members to make their art available for purchase this holiday season and for shoppers to get original, thoughtful gifts!
There is an opening reception for both shows on Friday, December 2, 2011, 6-9 pm.   
I hope to see some familiar faces at the reception!

I'm busy preparing for a few more shows and painting holiday commissions!  Happy Thanksgiving! 


Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Just off the Easel: Hadleigh

After the first version of this portrait got all muddled, I decided to completely start over.  I'm very glad that I did, since I love the way the final version turned out!

8" x 10" oil pastel on paper

I've been painting lots of animals lately, and this was a challenge that I really enjoyed (even though my husband would say I wasn't loving the process a few days ago!).  

I just have to remember to take my time in the beginning laying out all of the structure before laying down thick layers of oil pastel.  Once you get a lot of pastel down, it's hard to make drastic changes without everything looking muddy!

I also decided to do the painting on white paper instead of my usual terracotta so that her face could be bright and light without using a lot of white pastel.  I used a watercolor wash to underpaint in everywhere except for the lightest areas of her face.

I'm going to be busy for the rest of the week getting some submissions ready for some shows.  Stay tuned for updates!

PS- If you're interested in commissioning a custom portrait or painting before the holidays, don't delay! Check out my Etsy shop for more information or email me your photos.  I'm booking up my calendar now! 

Friday, November 11, 2011

Just off the Easel: Drew

I finished this portrait last week for a client's husband for his birthday.  Drew was a sweet black lab who always was right by his owner's side and had a loving personality.  

8" x 10" oil pastel on paper

I hope Drew's family loves his portrait, and that it brings back wonderful memories of their happy boy.  It's such an honor to memorialize a pet and I'm always grateful for the opportunity.

I've just finished another pet portrait that's very different for me...stay tuned!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

WIP: Little Girl Custom Portrait

So far I'm loving how this custom portrait is turning out!  

She is an adorable subject, so it's hard to go wrong!  Painted from a client's photograph.  I have some major work still to do on her, like lower the eyes and tweak the chin and neck.  Probably have another 2 hours of work to do still!

I also am working on a custom pet portrait in acrylic, and just finished another pet portrait in oil pastel.  The holidays are getting near, and I'm loving creating some really special gifts!

I'll post the pet portrait that I just finished later in the week, since it's a birthday gift and I don't want to ruin the surprise.

Stay tuned!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Painting at A Shopping SPREE!

Last night was a fun night of painting at the Junior League of Raleigh's A Shopping SPREE!

One of my paintings was showing in the Carolina Color Gallery at the event 
for the Southern Menagerie show.  They asked if anyone would 
like to paint live at the Preview Party, and I was ready to go! 

Here's a photo I took of my framed piece hanging in the gallery, and my easel set up:

I abandoned the first painting when I got bored and moved onto a farm scene...

Blue Ridge Farm
20" x 10" oil pastel on board
 I finished it during the show and it's in my Shop!

I had a great time painting at the event, and hope to show at SPREE! again.
(Even though painting in high heels on a concrete floor for 3 1/2 hours is hard work!)

I'm busy getting some custom portraits done, as well as some entries for upcoming shows.  More soon, so stay tuned!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Art Show Updates: Southern Menagerie

The results of the Southern Menagerie show are out....and I was accepted!

I talked about entering two of my works into the show here in a post back in September.

This one was juried into the show and will be on display Nov. 3-6 in the Raleigh Convention Center at the Junior League of Raleigh's "A Shopping Spree" ... 

My other piece, below, will go into my Shop tonight...

You can also see two of my paintings still on display at the Oxidation ->Rust show at the Halle Cultural Center in Downtown Apex.  It runs through Friday, October 28th.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Just off the Easel: Jack

I recently had the privilege of painting a sweet Golden Retriever, Jack, with his owner.

In Memory of Jack
11" x 14"
oil pastel on paper

We only had a snapshot taken with a camera phone, but we were able to make it into a lovely expression of their special bond.  

reference picture

I was so honored to be trusted with such an important task of capturing Jack.  These kinds of commissions are especially gratifying to me as an artist.


For more information on my pet portraits, see the Pet Portraits section of this website.  I'm currently working on portraits for the Holidays, so don't delay if you are considering giving a portrait this year.  The process typically takes 2-3 weeks.   

If you don't have the time, or aren't sure what photo your loved one would want painted, I offer gift certificates in my Shop.    

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Just off the Easel: Waterfront Property

We had a beautiful weekend camping at Jordan Lake!  Here's a little oil pastel painting that I did while Miss Natalie napped on Saturday...

Waterfront Property
oil pastel on paper
Available in my Shop

The campsite (E40 at Poplar Point) had a great view of the boat dock and water. In the distance you can see Highway 64 across the lake.

Natalie and Nick at Jordan Lake
(right near where I was painting)
It was wonderful painting with my chair halfway into the water!  You couldn't have picked a more ideal day or place to paint en plein aire.  
Hoping you had a great weekend, too!


Friday, September 30, 2011

Just off the Easel: Down on the Farm

Here's one of two pieces that I entered in the VAEJunior League of Raleigh show.  
The theme is "Southern Menagerie."

"Down on the Farm"
12" x 12" oil pastel on paper
reference image from here

If accepted, these works will be on exhibit and available for purchase November 3-6 during the Junior League of Raleigh's "A Shopping Spree".  During the annual event at the Raleigh Convention Center, they feature a  Carolina Color art gallery with original art by artists from around the country.

Stay tuned for updates!  Also,  if you are looking for something to do tonight, come to Downtown Apex for the opening of the Oxidation ->Rust show!  It's from 6-8 pm and I'll be there along with other artists exhibiting their work.  

Monday, September 26, 2011

Art Show Updates

Thank you to all that came out to the Art Affaire this past Saturday in Fuquay Varina!  The weather held off and it was a great afternoon of art in the gardens.  I met some lovely new friends and had a great time.  

Two of my works have been accepted into a juried art exhibition and sale, Oxidation -> Rust,  at the Halle Cultural Arts Center of Apex.  I will be at the opening reception is this Friday September 30 2011, 6-8 pm.   I hope to see some familiar faces at the reception! 

Oxidation -> Rust runs through October 28, 2011.

Apex Farmhouse
one of my works on display
now thru Oct. 28

If you are not familiar with the Halle Cultural Center, it is a beautiful facility in Historic Downtown Apex.  Built in 1912 as the Town Hall, the building was recently renovated into a modern facility for the town's Cultural Arts programs.  Learn more about the history of the building here at the town's website.

I'm busy preparing for a few more shows and painting some more farm scenes!  Stay tuned :)


Sunday, September 18, 2011

Just off the Easel: Three Blue Ridge Mountain Paintings

Here are three of the paintings from this week... Can you tell I am excited for FALL??

That Red Barn
6 x 6 acrylic on canvas
Available in my Shop

Autumn on the Farm
6 x 6 acrylic on canvas
Available in my Shop

Blue Ridge Parkway
6 x 6 acrylic on canvas
Available in my Shop

And here they are all together... I'm loving these smaller canvases!

Be sure to put my show at Defining Design/Adcock Nursery on your calendar for NEXT SATURDAY 9/24!  The event is from 1-5 pm, and there will be many artists showing their work outside on the nursery grounds.  There will be live music, food and refreshments (Vineyards at Southpoint will be there).  Adcock Nursery will also be having a plant sale... we drove by this morning and the nursery is HUGE!  Please come out,  support local artists, and hopefully enjoy some beautiful weather!   :)

Friday, September 16, 2011

Just off the Easel: Blue Ridge Parkway

Finished another little acrylic on canvas...

Blue Ridge Parkway
6" x 6" acrylic on canvas
Available in my Shop

Going to do several more small paintings, then preparing for the Southern Menagerie/JL Raleigh and Halle Cultural Art Center shows.

Happy Friday!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Just off the Easel: Blue Ridge View

Here's another acrylic on canvas that I painted of the Blue Ridge mountains:

Blue Ridge View
8" x 10" acrylic on canvas
Available in my Shop

I'm enjoying these paintings using my palette knives! Making me think that I need to invest in some more knives.  Currently I only have one small metal one and several larger plastic ones.  The metal ones are MUCH better, but of course they are more expensive.

I have a great brochure of the freestyle knives that I got at a Liquitex demo a few months ago.  They have a great line of knives that are stainless steel (won't corrode in water), resist wear, and have ergonomical handles. Add those to my Jerry's shopping wish list! 

Still much more to do before the show on 9/24... keep the coffee flowing!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Just off the Easel: Apex Farmhouse

I finished the piece I did a WIP (work-in-progress) post on yesterday (here).

As promised, I refrained from doing too much more, and only spent another 45 minutes on the painting.  I'm pretty happy with it!

Apex Farmhouse
16" x 20" Acrylic on canvas
Available in my Shop

I most loved working on the trees and sky in this painting.  It was a lot of fun to work on, especially since I hadn't done an acrylic painting like this in a while.  Lately I've been very into the oil pastels.  

Here's another picture I did a few months ago of the same farm in Apex (in oil pastels and larger)...

Just off 64 from Jordan
available in my Shop

And here's a painting I did a few years ago in the same style, using a palette knife and a loose, expressive style...

Maggie Valley
available in my Shop

Next, I need to get some smaller paintings done for the outdoor art festival that is LESS THAN TWO WEEKS away!  I hope you'll come out to the Defining Design Art Affaire on September 24th (my birthday!).  Here's the flyer...

Click here for the event page on Facebook

Stay tuned!  I'll be painting some more today :)

Monday, September 12, 2011

WIP: Apex Farmhouse

Here's a painting I've been working on for another show.  This is for the upcoming juried show at the Halle Cultural Arts Center of Apex.  View event information here.  

Apex Farmhouse
16" x 20"
acrylic on canvas

I started with a wash using water soluble pastels on canvas primed with Colourfix in terracotta... I was planning on a light layer of acrylic with some touches of oil pastel.
I liked the drips...maybe I'll do this again soon!

Next, I laid down the acrylic paint with a palette knife... this took about 2 hours.

I worked on it another 30-45 minutes last night and made myself stop here...

Not sure how much more I want to work on it.  I'm afraid it will get too blended or have too much detail, and it won't look as fresh and spontaneous.  What do you think?

I might just finish around the windows on the left side of the house, add some more Fall color to the tree on the left, and add a little more green in the shadow above the shed.  Oh, and I think I want more yellow in the meadow.  That's all ;)  

Maybe I'll limit myself to another 20 minutes!  

Stay tuned... for the latest details, you can see my images and what I'm working on by following me on Twitter : ArtbyBethany.  (See the Twitter feed on the right bar on this page!). ------->

Friday, September 9, 2011

Just Off the Easel: Jazz Kings

Another musical piece for the Cool Notes Show in Downtown Apex from September 10-19!

I took pictures through every step of the process to show my current method:

reference picture from here
Chris Parfitt
sketch in water soluble pastel
on 8 ply board primed

with pastel primer
color blocked in with Neopastel II  pastels
create a wash of the pastel w/water
detail of drawing after wash finished
added layer of Sennelier oil pastel
 After final tweaks/adjustments
I could fiddle forever,
but I had to make myself stop!

Sorry, most of the pictures were taken in my studio at night and are not very good lighting!  The final image shots (first and very last) were taken outside in natural light, so the color and light are truest and best represent the actual piece.  

I enjoyed working on these musical pieces and look forward to seeing the rest of the works in the show.  I hope you'll come down and check it out!  A link to the Facebook event page for the show is here

Next I'm thinking about some abstract pieces in oil pastel.  I feel a pull to just mess around with color and texture, so we'll see what happens!  Stay tuned... :)

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