I visited painter Betsie Molinsky in her studio in the K12 Gallery building on South Jefferson. The colors of this building must be a daily inspiration for all of the artists working within.
As you walk in the building’s big red door, you see a section of the mural that tells you that you are on the right path to Betsie’s studio.
Walking past a group of young art students at work, and climbing to the 2nd floor, I came to Betsie’s studio.
The studio is spacious, with room for Betsie and sometimes a few students. Three large windows provide great natural light.
A mirror can be rolled around the studio. This can give Betsie two views of an object without moving from her easel.
Betsie has a degree in Fashion Illustration, but she was away from the art world as she raised her family. Then she began studying with Cincinnati painter Roland Houston. He taught her to start with only a rough idea of what a painting will be, and then to let it evolve.
Sometimes Betsie is surprised at the result of this process. She worked with one painting for months, changing the color palette and the surface texture until a story about the joy of giving gradually came to the surface. This painting, called “The Giving Tree” was chosen by the Dayton Foundation as the cover of their Annual Report.
I mentioned to Betsie that I had been studying composition myself, to try to make my photographs emotionally stronger. When Betsie heard that, she switched to full teaching mode, using examples from many of her reference books to show me why some images work and others don’t.
One of Betsie’s current students, painter Marilyn Hart, is working on the left.
Betsie also used examples from her own work to show me how you could adjust the building blocks of a photo to make something that pleases the eye from edge to edge.
I watched Betsie start with a blank canvas and create the beginning of a new floral painting. By the time I asked her to pose for this photo the painting was starting to take shape, but Betsie said she didn’t know if the work would be done in a few days or a few months. “It is important not to paint with the clock ticking. A painting can only be done when the painting says it is done.”
I stepped out of Betsie’s studio and started to put my gear away. But when I saw her looking out the window I quietly snapped this last shot.