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In 1979, I attended classes at the Alexander School of Painting in San Diego, California. From Alexander Chidichimo I learned the basics of looking at objects in terms of blotches and shapes rather than objects, and constructing complex color palates.
In the beginning years I focused on realism, painting still-life and portraits in oils, then, moving to pastel portraiture.
In 2014 I developed the contemporary abstract style of “The Gene Pool Series” in oils.
Currently, my focus is on Extreme Realism all in the medium of Colored Pencil.
My work has been displayed in the gallery at University Circle United Methodist Church in Cleveland, Ohio (2016); at Coburn Gallery at Ashland University in Ashland, Ohio (2017); Tin Can Chandelier Gallery (Ashland, Ohio) displayed my entire “Gene Pool” collection of contemporary abstract oils in 2018.
Works have also been shown at Paul Hamlin Interior Design Studio in Cleveland Heights (2018); three contemporary pieces were published in the 2019, Winter, Fredericksburg Literary & Art Review.
In 2019, using colored pencils, I practiced layering colors with this medium, playing with perspective, and then turning the focus of my art to extreme realism in colored pencil.
“Queen Snapper” was part of the HeightsArts Members Show (Cleveland Heights, Ohio) in 2020; two drawings, “Canary Girl” and “Horses of Montana,” were published in the John Brown University (my alma mater) publication Shards of Light, Volume 3, Spring 2020. “Jump,” “Let’s Go for a Ride,” and “Lighthouse on Martha’s Vineyard” were included in Ashland’s M.A.D.E. Pop Up Artists display in 2020.
“Canary Girl” was also included in the “Hello Yellow” exhibit at the Carrington Arts Show in 2020 as well as 2 drawings, “Indigo Hamlet” and “Queen Snapper,” in the Carrington Arts (Sandusky, Ohio) “Underworld” exhibit in 2021.
“Horses of Montana” received an Honorable Mention at Coburn Gallery’s 2019 AshCAL Juried Art Show and “Canary Girl” received an Honorable Mention at the Coburn Gallery’s 2021 AshCAL Juried Art Show. “Covid-19:” and “Canary Girl” were also included in the BayArts Annual Juried Exhibition (Bay Village, Ohio) in 2021.
Currently, nine drawings are on display at River Reserve Interiors in Rocky River, Ohio. Two drawings, “Keep Your Distance, Buddy” and “Barnyard Bulls,” were also accepted at the Mansfield Art Center’s Juried 2022 May Show in Mansfield, Ohio, May 8 – June 5.
And finally, one of my drawings, “What Are You Lookin’ At?” will be on display at the HeightsArts Gallery Members Show (Cleveland Heights, Ohio) from June 17 through August 21, 2022.
Betz Johnson Richards
Artist’s Statement for Extreme Realism Colored Pencil Drawings:
My love of color and detail defines my work. I use stark or slightly designed backgrounds to keep the subject as the main focus of my pieces.
Artist’s Statement for Contemporary Abstract Oil Paintings on Canvas:
The contemporary abstract style of this body of work combines my love of color and detail in a very personal form of creativity. Called “The Gene Pool Series,” these pieces are meant to suggest arteries, cells, atoms, the connection of blood and vessels in a molecular setting or even planetary bodies in an imaginary universe. In a global sense, the series portrays connectedness, cellular inter-dependence and cohesiveness, and universal inclusiveness.