Wednesday, January 31, 2018

in the studio with Bethany Joy

I am an abstract painter, focused on sharing joy through art. I express my joy through painting vibrant abstracts, flowers, and inspirational quotes. My paintings involve many layers until I feel that the piece is harmonious and bursting with positivity. A graduate from Brevard College, I obtained my BA degree in Fine Art. Along with my husband and puppies, I live in North Carolina where I work from my home studio and am the Art Director at my local Boys and Girls Club as well."
I love seeing how other artists set up their creative space. Can you tell us a little bit your studio?

My studio is a lovely, brightly-lit room in the front of our house located in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains of Western North Carolina. My husband and I were blessed to be able to purchase our first house in 2017 and I got first dibs for my studio. I am so grateful for this space, especially after squeezing my previous studio into a tiny space of our old apartment. Quickly after moving into our new home last January, we added a fresh coat of white paint to the walls of my new studio and placed a huge double layered drop cloth over half the floor in an attempt to protect them (no such luck, though…I’m a messy painter)!

There are two pieces of furniture in my studio that I couldn’t do without AND that will always have a special place in my heart. One piece I received as a birthday gift from my mom when I was in the fifth grade.  When I first saw that artist’s desk, I remember thinking that I would just never use it. I was creative then, but obviously, not serious about it yet, and now that desk is so well-used and loved…right down to the multiple layers of paint caked onto the table. The second piece I can’t do without is a one-of-a-kind paint storage table that my husband designed and built for me. He’ll tell you that he’s “not very proud of it since he built it with super simple tools in the sunroom of our old apartment” however, I absolutely love it! This table enables me to actually see all the colors of paint that I have in a (somewhat) organized fashion (because let’s face it, I don’t pride myself in organization) and I know it was created with love. 

In my current studio, I also have a table with my computer, a dresser full of shipping and craft supplies, a huge pile of works-in-progress, several blank canvases, as well as a small closet full of finished paintings and other items for my shop. My space may seem small to others right now, but I have huge dreams for this studio of mine to grow! And for now this little home studio of mine is super sweet.

What inspires you? What motivates you to create? 
There are so many things that inspire and motivate me to create. First of all, my faith definitely plays a part in inspiring me, as well as my family and friends. My family is always there to help motivate me to create my best AND not be scared to put it all out into the world (often the most challenging part of being an artist).  
Flowers and color are two things that have always shown up in my art. Spending a day at a flower farm and arranging colorful flowers into beautiful bouquets is one way I pull myself out of a creative slump during the spring and summer seasons. Arranging flowers is an art form in itself, and I love thinking of painting as creating my own gardens on the surfaces I’m painting. 
We live in such a beautiful area surrounded by the Blue Ridge mountains here in North Carolina, so hiking and being outdoors is inspiring to me as well. Flowers, mountains, and just nature in general are all such amazing creations that we’ve been given to enjoy so I always hope to translate those things into my art with vibrancy! 
The students I teach at the Boys and Girls Club motivate me as well. They are often facing challenges that they shouldn’t have to face and I feel it is my responsibility to show them the beauty and positivity in our world. My style of painting is very playful, using fun techniques to add textures to my art, and I love helping them do the same. Inspirational quotes can be uplifting as well, so spreading joy in that way is one of my main goals!

How do you organize your creative schedule?

My creative schedule has to work hand in hand with my two part time jobs. I actually started my art business right after graduating from Brevard College three years ago with a Bachelor of Arts Degree (concentration in painting and teaching). I also began working as a tutor at a local elementary school. Later that year, I applied for the Art Director position at our local Boys and Girls Club (I had worked at the Boys and Girls Club throughout each of the summers of my college years), and I am blessed with the honor of still working in this position as well! 

That being said I learned early on to schedule my creative time around my jobs...that’s just how it’s always been so far. Tutoring occurs during the morning school hours and teaching art occurs later in the afternoons at the Boys and Girls Club (an after-school program). Weekends are full of painting and creating (and some family time as well, of course!) During the weekdays, I also squeeze in time during my lunch break in between jobs to answer emails, post to social media, take packages to the post office, etc. I usually set aside some time to paint in the evenings after work, but time with my husband and two puppies after work is always a priority as well. I also take full advantage of breaks, such as snow days and holidays, to make the most of extra time in my studio.

I have found it to be extremely helpful to plan out a social media schedule for the week so that I don’t lose track of posting about sales, etc. For that planning, I simply use a 52-week planner pad to fill in the dates for each week. I often make sure to write my social media posts the night before so that I am more prepared on mornings that I can’t seem to get ready on time for work! 

I adore working with the students at my day jobs, and honestly they help inspire a lot of my work. I hope that building this creative schedule for myself will eventually turn into something much bigger and better for my art business. Persistence, patience, and never giving up is key

What is a typical day like for you?

A typical day for me is super busy!  I am a morning person, so I usually wake up early, get ready for the day, read a devotion with my husband, get the dogs settled, and then it’s off to school to tutor. Around noon when I am home for lunch, I answer emails, post to Instagram stories, take product/art photos while the outdoor lighting is optimal, and possibly go to the post office. 
Around 1:30 – 2:00, it’s time to go to the Boys and Girls Club.  Each afternoon, I teach art to different age groups (1st-7th grades). We often have lots of various projects going on, and I have a teen staff member assist with the classes as I teach. Typically, each class consists of 20-30 kids and we either paint, make jewelry or melty (perler) beads, create masterpieces to enter art shows, write cards (thanking Club donors or encouraging those in need), and so much more! 

I get home from teaching shortly after 6pm. My husband and I cook dinner together and talk about our days. We also unwind by playing with our dogs. I usually end the day with a little exercise and painting, going to sleep about 11ish only to do it all again the next day! 

Having two different jobs (both working with young students) along with my art business, keeps my days full of variety and excitement. I may think I know what each day has in store, but everyday is usually filled with an unexpected surprise or two as well. 

What are you working on right now?

I am always working on more than one project at a time which pretty much always includes original paintings. Sometimes the paintings are abstract and colorful, and other times (like right now) they’re florals. I like creating colorful works of art that are somewhat “farmhouse style” inspired as well. You can expect to see some colorful art with “chippy” white or rustic wood-style frames with more coming soon! A lot of the trendy farmhouse style decor I’ve noticed is primarily neutral, so putting my own colorful spin on things is currently inspiring me. I’m also working on some new art prints for this year and “retiring” several older prints, and I have great ideas for projects coming soon.  

Also, after months of preparation and anticipation, I just released my first art licensing partnership this month with Wheatpaste and Oopsy Daisy Art with plans to add more designs. 

Life as an artist is constantly busy and oh, so exciting! You can always follow along with me on this colorful journey at

A special thank you to Alisa for this fabulous opportunity to share my art with you all! 

Want to see more of Bethany?

"In the Studio" is a feature here on the blog where I share a glimpse into friends and fellow artists and crafters spaces. If you are interested in submitting your studio to be featured, send me an email at

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

flash sale today!

Anyone else have the winter blues? Well, if you need a little pick me up and some spring inspiration, I'm having a flash sale on my favorite online class Watercolor Blooms $15 $10 TODAY!

Monday, January 29, 2018

making art on a budget

CHEAP CRAFT PAINT is something that I always have on hand when I am creating. At about .50 a bottle I am able to keep all kinds of colors around to use in a variety of projects. I use the cheaper paint when I am working on more crafty projects or if I am working with lots of colorful layers in canvas, fabric or paper projects. I have found that while the cheaper paint is not as vibrant as more expensive brands, it will works great for me.

Cheap acrylic paint is also perfect for getting accustomed to working with acrylic paint without spending too much money. 

One of the best paint supply tips I can share is keeping HOUSE PAINT on hand when creating. Back in college when I was a painting major, many of us couldn't afford gesso so the next best thing was house paint and I have used house paint ever since! From priming different surfaces- to mixing it with acrylic paint- to splattering and dripping- house paint is a really great affordable supply to keep on hand. I like to keep a gallon of white primer around the studio but just about anything (even leftover paint from house projects) will work. Often if I have a bigger project that require lots of paint I will purchase colorful house paint to use instead of acrylic paint.

Canvas will always be my favorite surface to work on but it can get expensive when working large:

Purchasing large canvas that is stretched is really expensive so I always recommend learning to stretch your own. Most art supply stores will sell stretcher bars and yardage of canvas- sometimes they will actually show you how to stretch or there are all kinds of resources online when it comes to stretching. I shared THIS POST a few years ago on stretching canvas.  

I love using canvas drop clothes from Home Depot- they are an affordable way to work large with canvas

Dick Blick has EVERYTHING you can imagine when it comes to affordable canvas HERE 
Canvas by the yard- HERE 
Stretched canvas - HERE 
Canvas drop cloths from Home Depot- HERE

SHARPIE PENS are pretty much my favorite (cheap) permanent marker to use in a variety of projects. From drawing in my sketchbook to adding doodles in my canvas paintings to drawing on all kinds of things (like a dishwasher, dinnerware, Easter eggs, pumpkins, furniture and more) a permanent marker can be useful in all kinds of art and craft projects. I always have a variety of Sharpies (or permanent markers) on hand- it is probably the most important tool that I use because because it is so versatile.  

Water soluble pens or pens that are NOT permanent can be used in all kinds of different ways! My favorite way it to actually make use of their non permanent nature and get them wet and then use the pigment to paint with. This is a trick that I have been using for years and actually something that is great if you have a limited budget, time or space for supplies.

I like to keep lots of really cheap CRAYOLA WATERCOLOR SETS on hand! I throw them in my purse, keep a set in the car and keep a few on hand for my daughter. Surprisingly they are very vibrant, can be mixed to created unique colors and at $2-$3 each, they can be beat up and even lost without too much guilt!

Thursday, January 25, 2018

masking fluid doodles

Masking fluid is so much fun to create with. And lately I am loving the watercolor resist pen from Prima. Masking fluid is a latex liquid used to block out areas of a watercolor painting. Once it dries you can paint over it and retain the white paper anywhere you've applied the masking fluid. The pen makes it possible to draw, doodle or write really fine lines. When you are finished painting you simply rub it away and you are left with white space anywhere the masking fluid was applied.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

it's ok to be weird!

Anyone else out there struggle with feeling weird? Or even not fitting in? For as long as I can remember I’ve always felt a little weird, like I didn’t fit in, like my thoughts and views were not quite the “norm”, like I was a walking contradiction, like everyone else around me was part of the “the club” and I wasn’t invited.
I got a D+ in color theory class my sophomore year of college even though color was my biggest passion in art. 
I didn’t have a boyfriend until I was 22 years old. 
It took me 7 years to complete my art degree. 
It took me over 15 years to create a viable art business! 
I am a Christian but I don’t like going to church. 
I am afraid of pretty much everything- especially the dentist, driving in the snow and river rafting. 
I’ve always felt SO awkward with lots of friends and instead prefer one good friend. 
I am SUPER uncomfortable talking in front of a group of people but I love teaching so. 
I am SO SHY unless I’m mad and then I have superpowers! 
I’d rather be alone than go along with who/what is cool or trendy. 
I spent a good part of my life getting TERRIBLY made fun of for my pale skin and freckles. 
I am super random, flakey and spontaneous but I love to plan.
This random list of nutty facts about Alisa could go on and on and on! And for a very long time I let many of the quirky and unusual things about myself hold me back. I let them affect and influence the way that I lived my life until I finally discovered that it’s the complicated, unusual, mysterious, layered, goofy, nonsensical things that make us all so darn special! When I started owning who I was, when I began to appreciate the complexity of who I am and what I do, I started to show up in this world with confidence and pride. Because there is nothing worse than changing who you are simply to fit in. There is nothing worse than hiding the pieces of yourself that make you so incredibly special! So my friends today I want you to know that it’s ok to weird, it’s ok not to fit in and it’s ok to own it!  

Monday, January 22, 2018

new class poetry and paint!

My next online class Poetry and Paint begins Monday, January 29th. This was such a fun one to create! Below is a little peek:

begins JAN 29th
$30.00 EARLY BIRD $25.00
I love drawing and painting but I also really love using words, lyrics, quotes and my own writing and poetry in my art journal, on canvas and in between my mixed media layers. In this class we will explore meaningful words, poetry and free writing prompts and turn them into art! We will explore handwriting, expressive writing, color, composition and a variety of creative ways to turn those words into art.
more information or register HERE

Saturday, January 20, 2018

we rise

Standing up for what you believe can be messy and scary and uncomfortable. You might lose a friend, you might say the wrong thing, your business might suffer and you may even stand alone. But in the end, it is so very important to use our voices and our platforms to speak truth, to use our talents and gifts for good and stand up for what is right. I stand in solidarity with the women marching and protesting today and my gratitude goes out to so many of you out there having the courage to stand up for truth.

download this image for free HERE
**for personal use only**

Thursday, January 18, 2018

exploring we will go

Fort Clatsop is a part of the Lewis and Clark National and State Historical Parks and it is one of our favorite places for hiking and exploration!



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