Artist Interview with BETSY EBY

Today, you will have the opportunity to meet my first guest in the series AN INSPIRED LIFE…someone incredibly lovely…

Artist Betsy Eby
Betsy Eby

Artist Interview with BETSY EBY

“An inspired life is a balanced life.” ~Betsy Eby

Betsy Eby is a gifted artist I truly admire.

Betsy Eby encaustic painting Pleud des Cordes.
Pleut des Cordes, an abstract encaustic painting by Betsy Eby

Her creations are meditative and like music to my senses.

A classically trained pianist, the keyboard is a foundation to her work. She says “Capturing the rhythms and dynamic tension of classical music and conveying them in the material world has proven to be an endless source of inspiration in reinterpreting form, line, gesture, and negative space within my paintings.”

Betsy graciously granted me an interview, and I’m thrilled to share with it with you.

Betsy Eby's studio with encaustic paintings.
Betsy’s studio – learn more about her work here

Why is it important to honor creativity?

“When we are involved in a creative, single focused task, our brains are working on beta waves. Painting, drawing, playing Brahms, all change the brain in the same way as does meditation. When we are living a fully integrative, creative life, we are in touch with the past, the present, and the future simultaneously. A creative life, a creative practice is a way of channeling our personal experience in a constructive and innovative means. To live in this flow is to live in the moment…It is essential to honor one’s core, because from there are creative differences can contribute to a rich, cultural tapestry.”

Betsy Eby encaustic painting Ferdinand on Hello Lovely Studio.

Any suggestions for finding lovely and sacredness in the “everyday?”

“I have a bumper sticker on my car that I made. It reads “Kindness is Cool.” While we can’t save the world, I do think we can change it person by person, through kindness. I think about it as changing the world one smile at a time. There is sacredness to that…I think it’s up to us to create our everyday. finding sacredness and loveliness comes if we slow down enough to witness the beauty in the smallest things around us. I find it in long walks in nature. I find it in my practices…While I spend most of my days in the studio painting, I also spend a lot of time on my piano practice and more recently voice. For me, classical music practice is a sacred world…A good friend and minister, Marcus Walker, said that whatever our God concept is, we are living a Godly existence when we are doing what we are best at. So if you are inclined toward jazz, play jazz from the heart, if you are inclined toward painting, paint from the heart, if you are inclined toward activism, practice activism from the heart.”

New York magazine cover with Betsy Eby bstract encaustic painting and children eating in breakfast bar nook.
How precious is this magazine cover?

What does “beauty in imperfection” bring to mind?

“In nature there is no straight line. As an artist, we must get out of our own way and be the continuum of nature that we are. don’t let the work be too tight, too precious, too thought about. Allow room for variance and a bit of chaos. Beauty, as John O’Donohue states, lives at the edge of things. Nothing is more tedious than a piano concert where the performer is academic and perfect in their interpretation. On the other hand, a sloppy off-tempo performance is just as off putting. This is where “the edge” comes in. We must learn our skills and craft through arduous practice. But we must stay open so that we continue to tap the mystery through that practice…The Native Americans kept several stitches open and unfinished at the edge of their prayer blankets. It is said that they do this to allow the evil spirits to get out. I see it as a metaphor for leaving aspects of a creative practice open to mystery.”

Betsy Eby encaustic painting Variation on Hovhanness' The Garden of Adonis I
Variation on Hovhanness’ The Garden of Adonis I

How important is humor to your life and work?

“This question makes me realize that I don’t rely on humor very much in creating my work. The emotional range I feel as a I paint my paintings runs from channeling feelings of loss to exaltation, but humor doesn’t seem to be in there. But in day to day life, humor is essential. It greases the wheels of communication. It’s essential to a good marriage. And I do believe ‘laughter is the best medicine.’ My husband and I sometimes will get laughing about something silly, and I’ll say ‘We’re funny little people.’ The skill of choosing my battles, or as I say, ‘choosing what mountain I want to die on,’ has been a skill acquired with age. I remember hearing the Dalai Lama interviewed and the journalist asked, ‘But what about the atrocities the Chinese are exacting on the Tibetan people?’ And the Dalai Lama responds with a smile and a shrug of the shoulders with a sing song voice ‘Oh, they always do that.’ Humor helps us cope, it helps us relate to one another, it allows us to survive.”

” It is important for artists to develop all aspects of self.” ~Betsy Eby

Three things inspiring you at the moment?

“This has been a season of loss for me. So this time has been inspired by taking stock in that which is sacred and understanding the bigger vessel life requires us to be with every pain, adversity, or sadness. Figure drawing has been inspiring…Lines, shadow, and volume discovered while studying the human form helps in the organization of these same aspects found within my abstract, encaustic paintings. Music is always my greatest source of inspiration outside of painting. I’ve just finished a Mozart theme and variation which is demanding on technique, and I am loving the misty, dreamy, deceptive preludes of Debussy and their ever-shifting accidentals which create an audible equivalent of shifting sands.”

Betsy Eby with a blow torch creating an encaustic painting called THE NEW WORLD for the American embassy in Dubai.
Betsy’s newest painting: THE NEW WORLD for the American embassy in Dubai

Truly inspired and humbled that Betsy took time out for us!

Thank you, Betsy for so much lovely illumination, for the glory of your work, and for the music that is YOU…

Peace to you right where you are.




  1. April 1, 2011 / 4:53 pm

    Betsy's work and her answers to your questions are beautiful, so soulful and moving.

    This is a wonderful series you're doing, sweetpea, so lovely to know about such talented and inspiring people!

    Have yourself a groovy weekend and wish you a fabulous inspired April ahead!

    Meera xx

  2. April 1, 2011 / 6:14 pm

    Oh, I am so glad you stopped by. Your blog is glorious. Full of wonderful inspiration. Must follow and add you to my blog roll! Keep in touch;)

  3. April 1, 2011 / 7:11 pm

    Betsy’s paintings are stunning, I would love to have the “Ferdinand” painting. She’s truly an artist both inside and out.

  4. April 1, 2011 / 7:25 pm

    Wow!!! One inspired gal! I can relate to her due to the fact I was a cello performance major in college. Music can have such an impact in one's life… it's magical! I love how her amazing talents play off each other!
    This made my week… thank you so much Michele!


  5. April 2, 2011 / 12:22 am

    Betsy is one talented lady. I love her art – great post.

  6. April 2, 2011 / 12:46 pm

    Wow, what a great artist! I love that last painting. Thanks for stopping by my blog!

  7. April 2, 2011 / 3:12 pm

    Michele, as an artist myself I found this interview very inspiring! Betsy is incredibly talented and so very insightful. I was just at my daughter's first solo art exhibit last night and that was so exciting! Your creations (the previous post) are beautiful! I love the combination of art and words. I do that a lot in my own pieces. Thank you for visiting me and my vintage Mary collection. PLEASE tell me where I can find the photos of your rosary collection! I searched a bit but couldn't find them… All my best… Donna

  8. April 3, 2011 / 6:57 pm

    isn't her work amazing? i hope you guys check out to view more of her portfolio and impressive resume.

    donna: i'll post something soon and make sure to give you a heads up. i've never done a single post, my photos are all over the place!


  9. April 4, 2011 / 12:07 pm

    What an amazing interview! Her paintings are just glorious and she sounds like an incredibly thoughtful and inspiring person. I loved this bit of advice: "Don't let the work be too tight, too precious, too thought about. Allow room for variance and a bit of chaos." So true.

    I am loving this series! Looking forward to more x

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