BETSY EBY: Contemplative Space, Depth, Resin & Fire

Today, we’re joining Pinecones & Acorns for another artist spotlight. What sweet relief from excessive interior design and paint color speak! My love for abstract paintings is alive and well, and American artist BETSY EBY lyrically and literally paints my favorite ones with fire. What pure pleasure it was to pose questions to the artist in 2011 and be the recipient of such golden responses. If you followed along, you’ll likely remember. Beauty flowing from her work then and now lingers. We’ll return to glimpses of her delicately layered compositions and wisdom.

Encaustic painting with rosy pinks by fine artist Betsy Eby. See her work exhibited across North America

See more of Eby’s work at these galleries.

BETSY EBY: Contemplative Space, Depth, Resin & Fire

A classically trained pianist, the keyboard is a foundation to Betsy Eby’s work. She notes:

“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.”

I Gathered Glimpses of Her Work in This

The wondrous book by Betsy Eby here in my living room can be purchased on her site here.

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

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

Encaustic Painting is Explained

Her creations are meditative music to move the soul.

Suspended subtle energies flickering, blooming, traveling and pulsing–carry us to hidden places of ethereal light, of shadow, where somehow paradox is tenderly held.

Is this what she means about creating “space” intentionally?

Such intention echoes contemplative themes flowing in my own creative and spiritual practices of emptying, of ever yielding to interior spaciousness in a spirit of unknowing.

Madeline Miller Circe quote on Hello Lovely Studio. #madelinemiller #circequotes

Conversation With BETSY EBY in 2011

Betsy Eby (a work on paper)

Honoring the Creative Life

Why is it important to honor creativity?

Betsy Eby's Wheaton Island art studio.
Th artist’s Wheaton Island studio

BETSY EBY: “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 our creative differences can contribute to a rich, cultural tapestry.”

Betsy Eby encaustic painting Ferdinand on Hello Lovely Studio.
Madeline Miller Circe quote on Hello Lovely Studio. #madelinemiller #circequotes #lovequotes

Sacredness in the Everyday

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

Encaustic painting by Betsy Eby.

BETSY EBY: “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…

Painting by Betsy Eby.

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.
Betsy’s painting on the cover of NY magazine (and notice the Taylor Swift headline from 14 years ago!)
Madeline Miller quote from THE SONG OF ACHILLES on Hello Lovely Studio.

Wabi Sabi Reflections

What does “beauty in imperfection” bring to mind?

A work on paper by fine artist Betsy Eby.

BETSY EBY: “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

Is There Whimsy in the Process?

How important is humor to your life and work?

BETSY EBY: “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

Encaustic painting by American fine artist Betsy Eby.

What Inspires the Artist?

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.

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

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.

Fine artist Betsy Eby with two of her 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.”

I remain humbled that Betsy Eby not only carved out precious time for us, but so vulnerably shared wisdom from her soul. Do listen to her commentary in the videos above where you’ll sense: generosity, deep compassion, emotional intelligence, and fierce longing to live harmoniously with the earth.

Find PRINTS by the artist for purchase HERE.

And visit Pinecones and Acorns where artist KATE LEWIS is honored today.

Peace to you right where you are.




  1. March 20, 2024 / 9:44 am

    Michele, thank you for joining me today and for sharing Betsy! Her art is ethereal and so beautiful. I love when betsy talks about classical music and whet it means to her work, as well as where she mentions that humor does not seem to find a place in her art.
    Your blog and posts are an oasis or peace and calm in a world that is everything but that. Thank you for sharing your beauty and those you love with us.
    Have a wonderful day my friend.
    xo Elizabeth

    • Michele
      March 20, 2024 / 10:59 am

      So glad you enjoyed – so many interesting layers in the conversation just like her work. xox

  2. Carol J. Rizzo
    March 21, 2024 / 10:39 am

    Hello Michele, Your thoughts and photos are usually the first emails that I open each day. Thank you so much for all that you share.

    • Michele
      March 21, 2024 / 3:08 pm

      Awww, so happy to have you here. Thanks for your loyal readership and journeying with me, Carol. 🙂

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