Today, you will have the opportunity to meet my first guest in the series AN INSPIRED LIFE…someone incredibly lovely…
Artist Interview with BETSY EBY
“An inspired life is a balanced life.” ~Betsy Eby
Betsy Eby is a gifted artist I truly admire.
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.
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.”
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.”
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.”
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.”
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.