Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Betsy Dye

Betsy Dye will be the featured artist in the July Mobile Arts Show, July 15th from 6 to 10PM. The Mobile Art Show takes place in a U-Haul van parked across the street from City Arts Factory (29 South Orange Avenue). I exhibited my work in the Mobile Art Show, and had a blast.
Betsy's studio and apartment has a fresh retro feeling of the sixties and seventies. The walls are painted a submarine grayish green and everything in the place makes you feel like you have stepped back in time. She collects records, that's right real vinyl, and that collection fills a huge bookshelf in the living room. Arranged by recording artists the albums are all in their original sleeves and she must have the complete works of such groups as the Beatles and Moody Blues. She collects owls and hand crafts owl dolls. On a table in the living room there was a basket full of white rabbits with huge black eyes. These rabbits are cute and yet strangely demonic. Also on the table were a bunch of round mirrors which were framed and encased in old Boys Life magazine adds. The sexist ads were light hearted and very funny. The Bob Dylan poster on the kitchen wall turned out to be a rare collectors item. Only a few of these posters were printed to promote a new record label. Betsy bought the poster for cheap and later researched to find out about it's history.
Behind Betsy in the sketch is a blue cardboard tube tree that she plans to mount in the truck. She plans to place nests in the tree where she will then place her felt stuffed owls. In the sketch she is painting a sloth onto a wooden plaque. She has a whole series of these plaques which will be hung on the U-Hauls interior walls.
Everything about the space was warm and inviting. Sketching I felt like I had stepped back into a time when things were more tangible and less hectic. Something about the retro feeling of the place made me feel like I was finally sketching in the right time period. I felt so at ease and the sketch just flowed. I experienced a playful feeling of bliss.
As I was working on a second sketch, a friend of Betsy's stopped in named Gina Yolango. She helped Betsy out by painting several of the cardboard cockoo clocks with a bright base coat of paint. Seated in the corner of the kitchen I really couldn't see Gina so she never made it into the sketch. Betsy told me to pick out an album from her massive LP collection. I searched the titles of some time until I saw that she had Pink Floyd. The album "Wish You Were Here" was my immediate choice. I delicately removed the album form it's sleeve and placed it on the antique record player. Lowering the needle was strangely rewarding. The needle gave off a familiar hiss and the album began with its delicate guitar melody. I couldn't see Betsy working if I sat on my stool, so I stood the whole time I sketched while swaying to the familiar music. Since I was in the living room I was put in charge of the music and I fully enjoyed the responsibility.
Gina finished 2 cuckoo houses and got ready to leave. She gave Betsy a present which was a demonic little voodoo doll complete with pins piercing its blue heart, an earring and stitches for eyes. Betsy loved it and laughed out loud. As soon as Gina left, Elizabeth Cason arrived. She kept Betsy company as I finished off the last of the watercolor washes. When I was finished and showed Betsy the second sketch, she invited me to join Elizabeth and her for a bite. We went to Taco Bell. On the trip back to Betsy's studio, it started to rain. This wasn't just any rain, it was epic. On a mad dash back to my truck I was soaked to the bone. Every event of the evening was punctuated with laughter. You will see that humor in every piece in the show. So close up Facebook and come on out!

Tomorrow I will be sketching Jazz, Art on a Summers night at Redlight Redlight (745 Bennett Road) sometime between 7PM and 2AM.

Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at


Anonymous said...

Betsy Dye's work is so whimsy and wonderful. I have often found myself wondering what her house is like. Thank you for this sweet little article and the brilliant sketches.

Mary Anna said...

Terrific article! So glad that Betsey Dye's name and talent are getting out there!

emma said...

Betsy and Eliz WOULD take you to Taco Bell! Haha. Oh, those girls. Love it.

I love that my mom commented on your blog! AWESOME!

Thor said...

Emma, I love that so many people are starting to comment on the blog. I always felt the blog should be an open conversation.