Small Business Spotlight: Susie Bettenhausen
Small Business Spotlight: Susie Bettenhausen
We are so excited for our next installment of Small Business Spotlight featuring Susie Bettenhausen! Susie is a costal southern artist who tends to set aside the rules when it comes to art + design– (we love that!). You can read and learn more about Susie over on her website!
Starting Monday, March 7th, we will be including a complimentary original art piece from Susie in online orders while supplies last!
Q: When did you develop a love for painting?
I’ve always been drawn to art for as long as I can remember. I didn’t really recognize how creative I was as a child but looking back it was obvious and I have the artwork, house sketches, fashion designs, doodles and painted pillowcases to prove it. I think I actually developed a “love” for art and specifically painting after I graduated from college. I was painting on the side while working full time and I couldn’t get enough of it. I loved putting my thoughts onto paper or canvas and seeing something that I had only vaguely envisioned in my mind. Sometimes it was similar, sometimes it was different but it was always an adventure with a paintbrush in hand and I never knew where it would go exactly. I loved that and I still do!
Q: What materials do you use in your work?
Paints, canvas, paper, etc? I primarily use acrylic paints and often add oil, pastel and graphite details at various stages throughout a piece. Much of my work is fairly fluid with multiple sheer layers that hopefully create a rich and interesting depth. Traditional acrylics and acrylic gouache allow me to do just this. When it comes to paper versus canvas, I float back and forth between the two. This allows me to stay fresh and each offers such a different painting experience that I love them equally. There are so many great options out there when it comes to materials available. Depending on what ground I am working on, my work changes slightly - my brush strokes, my heaviness of hand, all of it. I find it exciting and refreshing to constantly adjust. Lately I have been gravitating more and more to paper due to practical reasons. The last few years have provided new challenges for every industry to sort through and shipping is a significant part of an artist’s business. Shipping rolled paper or unstretched canvas allows for more attractive pricing, especially for a new collector.
Q: From where do you draw your inspiration?
I love this question. In fact, it’s probably my most asked question. I am passionate about and inspired by the coast and all things summer, sunny, warm and tropical. I have been fortunate to live between Jupiter in Palm Beach County and 30A. My parents took me to various tropical islands during the summers while I was a child so I blame them for my inability to withstand anything below 80 degrees. I love all of it including all the things that bother most people - the humidity, the sticky air, the sand between my toes. All of it. It energizes me to create like nothing else does. The wide open horizons that the coast provides are freeing and inspiring. Mountains, forests, snow, lots of trees - just not my thing. ;) Coming in second place to the coast would be the wide open spaces of Texas. Between the terrain and the culture, it’s easy for me to leave creatively energized. All that being said, as a working artist, I can’t count on bursts of inspiration at all times. There’s a point where you just have to buckle down and work. Like with most disciplines, the more time you invest in it, the better you become at it and the more you discover your styles. This is true for painting as well. I’ve learned to work through the frustrating creative ruts that are inevitable. Emerging on the other side of those is rewarding and inspiring in and of itself.
Q: Playing with colors and textures excites us when designing jewelry. What excites you when painting?
The same! I love the first and last marks of a painting the most. I mentally break down each piece into smaller vignettes and constantly evaluate composition, color, balance etc. I paint very intuitively and quite rapidly so these are things I do almost instinctively. There is usually a point in the middle of a piece that I pause and ponder it before calling it done. I love how a work can change by adding a line here or a bit of color there. It’s a dance!
Q: Any business leaders or artists that inspire or influence you and your brand?
Well...I made a conscious choice early on to put my family and home before my work. This has meant walking in the Lord’s timing versus my own and often passing up opportunities that the world says are critical. As a result, my business influences are often those that gracefully try to walk that same road. I tend to think outside the box so I like to look to leaders that are actually in other industries. I think if you focus too much on others in the same industry and how they run their business, you can really get stuck in what you think you’re supposed to be doing. I just don’t operate that way. I have always sought to stay in the story that the Lord’s writing for me. I’m drawn to businesses of all types that are streamlined, efficient, well-defined with a clear and developed aesthetic. Now that I’m typing that out, it seems humorous because I am likely not any of that! We can have goals though! As for artist’s influence in particular, I can always go back to the “New York School” of abstract expressionists for an instant reminder of what makes me want to get back in the studio. I have my favorites under that umbrella but in general, it’s the freedom, the movement and the raw nature that I love so much.
Q: What can we look forward to seeing from your brand in the near future?
I have a lot of ideas swirling around my head - definitely more ideas than I have time! I am looking forward to putting into action some ideas that are natural extensions of my artwork. I’m also working on some fun summer collaborations with other creative companies.