Wednesday, December 29, 2010

For Spacious Skies and Rainy Weather

I got this book by Eric Sloane for Christmas. It's a wonderful, informative read! I came across some interesting comments about weather and creativity, and found it delightful that today it just so happens to be raining (again!) in Southern California. Listen to what Mr. Sloane has to say:

"Rainy days are regarded as depressing, not conducive to work, yet I find that my best writing and painting occurs during the lowering pressure of stormy days. When the day is dreary and the falling barometer fortells a storm, I hurry home to my studio to make use of the "good weather" for working.

The American naturalist John Burroughs said, 'Rain is an necessary to the human mind as to vegatation. My very thoughts become thirsty, and I crave moisture'. Before a storm, animals and insects become nervous; flies bite, fish rise, dogs become alert, birds dress their feathers, horses get quick-tempered and are liable to bolt. Lowering air pressure releases gases and odors that stimulate animal sensitivity. It is natural to presume that humans, too, react to pre-storm weather; at least they feel some sort of restlessness conducive to creativity (I wonder if this contributes to my impulsive decision to drive to Idyllwild yesterday..?)  You will hear an artist or writer say that he can do his best work 'near a fireplace, snug inside while the weather is roaring outside'. His ideas are stimulated by the slight reduction of oxygen in his arteries, possibly to the extent of one glass of wine. I find that on so-called good days I enjoy resting or vacationing with less thought of work, while written thoughts and paintings pour forth copiously in hurricane weather.

Perhaps that old thrill of walking in the rain (remember it?) will come back someday and there will be more weather-minded people to enjoy whatever the sky happens to have in store for us. To those who remark, 'Isn't it a rotten day?' I reply 'Yes, but isn't it a wonderful rotten day!' I think I shall buy rubber boots again and enjoy the pleasure of sloshing" (Sloane 41-42).

What do you think? Are you more creative when it rains?

Retreat to Idyllwild

I get this crazy urge to go to the mountains each time another year comes to a close. I think it helps give me space to see everything that happened over the year, to reflect on the blessings and the things I need to improve. Knowing that another rainstorm was coming, I decided NOW was the time to go, otherwise there'd be no way of getting up the hill with all the fresh snow.

So, I spent yesterday by myself in the little artsy village of Idyllwild, CA. It was a perfectly clear and sunny day! I did some post-Christmas shopping, enjoyed a latte while staring up at the Tahquitz monolith pondering all sorts of things. I checked out the Idyllwild Arts Academy (a huge forest campus for high school kids) then went for a hike at Idyllwild park. It always seems to happen that I miss the trail and go an extra few miles out of my way...the total hike ended up being an hour longer than intended and I was practically running down trail to get back to my car before sundown! It was a fun adventure the whole day long, and I feel quite refreshed from the clean air, rugged tree bark and rocks, soft pine needles underfoot and glittering snowdrops. Here are some pics:

 I stopped at a turnout on the drive up and snapped this picture. Amazing visibility!

 Tahquitz peak!

 Festive flags in the village

 There was snow on the trail!

The summit trail took me alll the way to the top before dropping back down into the forest (the unintended extra hour was visually rewarding)

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

As of late...

This first week of winter break has been awesome! I'm working with an 11 year old student, preparing her portfolio for the OSCHA audition in Feb/March. We've been putting in some intense hours designing, painting, and discussing composition (3 or 4 hours a day, and this kid is only 11!) I'm totally impressed and love working with someone so focused and passionate about art. In the evenings I've been teaching cycle (Spinning) at the gym and picking up a few extra classes from other instructors who had to leave town for the holidays. Fun full days! Feels great to work out after being cooped up all day, esp. with this all this crazy rain.

During my own studio time I've been working on a magazine cover commission for Concrete Network, some characters in scene for a Creative Director, and oil paintings for my Grad show (current piece in progress is "The Devourlings" coming soon).

I {might} be creating a T-shirt design for Viva La Art!'s clothing line for the Grammy's MusiCare foundation! I have some ideas in mind and can't wait to see what turns out. The details on this should be solidified soon, I'll let you know what comes of it.

So, the first week of Christmas break has been pretty darn good. I've been able to catch up on my reading with I cherish so much. My book list for the break is Van Gogh's Untold Journey by William Havlicek, Crush It! by Gary Vaynerchuck, and Color: A Natural History of the Palette by Victoria Finaly.

Only a few more days until Christmas! Have a blessed and merry day with family. I'll be celebrating Emmanuel, "God with us"!!!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Prayer Mountain

My latest project is an album cover for a Christian ministry in Uganda, Africa. It's a compilation of various singer/songwriters from the States, featuring my friend Jennifer Schroeder. She has traveled to Africa 4 different times, using her musical talent as a way to minister to the people of Uganda. The title of the album is Prayer Mountain. 

Below is the final art in progress. I used gouache on bristol board for this one.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

For Sanity's Sake

 It's Wednesday, it's winter, and I am finally free to hide out in my studio and create! This first day of freedom from school will be spent reflecting on the work that I did. I'm always amazed at how everything gets done! It's a mystery!

After some reflection, the second half of this day is about planning. There's a lot to do in 5 weeks! I'll be creating a magazine cover for Concrete Network, a CD album cover for a church ministry in Africa, giving private art lessons to 3 different students, and painting for my grad show.

So, now that I can cross blogging off of my list, I'm going to sweep up the studio so I have somewhere to think.

I will be posting progress pics of all my projects, so please make another visit to Katy Betz Studio!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Thesis is DUE on MONDAY!

I am in awe that in one week I'll be done writing my Graduate thesis! The experience wasn't nearly as bad as people said. But, considering that my research process took about 6 months, all the hard work is now one big blur. I just remember there were about 8 solid weekends of typing and editing. So, can you guess what my topic is by looking at this stack of books?

The topic is on postmodern irony vs. sincerity in religious-themed artwork, as seen through an analysis of two exhibitions curated in response to the 9/11 terrorist attacks: 100 Artists See God & 100 Artists See Satan. I argue that a cultural shift is taking place in favor of sincerity thanks to Stuckism, Remodernism, and Post-Postmodernism (movements that balance irony with sincerity through methods of originality, nostalgia, and personal conviction.) It's about 35 pages.

Oh joy! Can't wait to hand this sucker in!! By the way - our professor is having us meet at a Hookah bar on the day it's due!? Go figure!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010


I've been working on charcoal drawings for a group holiday show, and for subject matter I'm using ideas for my Graduate Show, "Guardians of the Heart". Inspired by C.S. Lewis' Chronicles of Narnia and other great fantasy epics, it is my own epic conceptual narrative. So far I have 7 completed, 3 more to go for the show. These were created over the weekend and on Mon-Tues.