Betty Nash

This article appeared in the Fall 2008 issue of Texoma Living!.

People are taking notice of Betty Nash’s art. Her works, done in oil, are graceful, subtle manipulations of light and shadows, of deep colors and reflections.

She uses the chiaroscuro style (the play of light and shadow) embraced by masters such as Rembrandt and Raphael. “I set up objects in front of me. I have a north light studio. Light constantly hits what I’m painting. I look at how the color of each object reflects into another…and push, or brighten the reflection,” she said.

The native Texan has had an interest in the arts as long as she can remember. She made a career painting classical realism and commissioned portraits. “I painted portraits, landscapes and other genres,” she recalled. “About six years ago, I was outside painting trees, and with every stroke I thought, ‘I hate painting trees’.” She hasn’t painted one since.

She also dabbled with other mediums but in the 1980s settled on oils. “After my children were grown and I could leave oil paint out is when I decided to use nothing but oil. It’s richer than any other medium,” she said.

Nash was studying with internationally- known artist and instructor David Leffel when her passion for the technique of the old masters, chiaroscuro, drew her in. Keeping the play of light, shadow and reflection in mind, she is meticulous in composing portraits, applying many of the same techniques of light and reflection that she uses in her still life compositions to “create a third dimension.”

Nash spends three hours a day at the easel. Many of the antiques and delicately crocheted tablecloths featured in her works are borrowed. “A good friend of mine has a house full of antiques. She lets me pick anything I want to paint and take it home,” Nash said. “She says people get to enjoy the objects she has through my paintings.”

Nash also travels the country selling her works, on the “art circuit,” as she refers to it. She credits her husband Bob for making it possible for her to tour, since “he drives the bus.”

She has been featured in International Artist Magazine as one of the “Master Painters of the World,” and American Artist magazine judged three of her paintings as outstanding.

Though praise is nice, it isn’t what prompts her to pick up her brushes. The love of art does. “If I never sold another painting, if no one else ever saw what I did, I would still get up and be excited to start painting every day,” she said.

—Joe Munoz

Betty Nash’s work can be seen at The Pat Waymon Gallery, 430 W. Main St., Denison, TX 75020 (903) 465-2008, Hours: Mon-Sat 10 a.m.-5 p.m. or visit online www.paywaymongallery.com or online at www.bettynash.com.