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Betsy Montoya

I don't remember a time when I didn't have a paintbrush, a knitting needle, a camera or a wad of macramé twine in my hand.  My first actual works of art were a set of four oil paintings inspired by"The Catand a Fiddle" .  I was ten.  Sewing became a passion and I began making my own clothes when I was not much older.   Never content with convention, I improvised my patterns and added unlikely embellishments and unlikely color combinations.  I never considered a skirt just a skirt….that was just the beginning.  Embroidery, beads, a little paint….now it was a skirt.  

But life happens when you are making other plans and what I thought was to be a career in art didn't happen for some time.  Right out of high school and head first into marriage and motherhood, I took a fall-back position in the medical field and worked for the next 20 years in healthcare administration and patient financial services in California and Washington State. Even as  a struggling single mother, my busy fingers andthe right side of my brain never slowed down.  During those years I continued painting,  quilting, sewing, jewelry making and cake decorating.  Never formally taught, I just figured out how to do it.  I found my only limitations were those placed on myself.

In 1986 I heeded the advice and encouragement of the man who later became my husband, himself a successful artist,  left my job as the business office manager of a chemical dependency hospital and developed a line of "wearable art."  I applied to a weekly art and craft show in Santa Barbara, California known simply as the "Beach Show".  I was accepted and showed my work every Sunday for the next 8 years.  Eventually  my line, which combined original design, appliqué, beading, painting and matching jewelry, was shown at many other Arts and Crafts Festivalsin California and sold to boutiques and resorts.  I expanded my line to include abstract textile collages at that time.

But again, life happened and a move to Arizona and a return to healthcare put my art career on hold when I began working forMayo Clinic Arizona as a Revenue Analyst in 1998.  Meanwhile, I fell neck deep into the phenomenonof Scrapbooking and collaging, learned papermaking and continued making jewelry.  But my spirit was compromised and my passion waned.  So I took up my art again while juggling a full time career. 

By 2014 when I retired from Mayo Clinic my work had evolved from themed collages utilizing my original paintings, scrap paper and found objects, to a style I referred to as “Southwestern Pop Art” to what it looks like today.  Recently I have found my passion again.  This is born out of a new spiritualism and the recognition of a greater power within me.   As a result came a collection of abstract expressionism featuring the use of multi-layer color and texture incorporating the warmth and light from gold leafing effects.