Artist Profile: Sue Betanzos

Artist Profile


See the new Wild Reflections Art Exhibit by artist Sue Betanzos Nov. 1 - 30, 2019 at the Kirk-Bear Canyon Library.

The natural world, literature and folktales are inspirations for my artworks.

My designs, media & materials are often storytelling in design, creating picture poems.

As a professional artist, I’ve had the pleasure of bringing colorful animal portrait paintings to nature and animal lovers.

I love working with glass. It adds a wonderful depth to the paintings and mosaics, with rich jewel toned colors. With the glass paintings, anywhere from 5 - 8 translucent layers of paint are added, creating depth. The studio is my Zen time to create interpretations of what I love most, animals and the natural world.

Sometimes, the glass painting is combined with the mosaics, as in the four permanent public art mosaic mural installations at the Tucson International Airport. These murals at the baggage level of the airport waiting areas are filled with local flora, fauna, gems and even fossils from the Tucson gem show.

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Anna Hummingbird

When did I know I would be an artist? All of my life. It runs in the family, with my famous artist uncle Luis Betanzos in Mexico. Growing up in California, horses and dogs were my loves. Riding and working with horses, always drawing them, always having dogs gave me a lot of first hand practice. I learned to draw them from memory because I have touched and felt the shape of them. Experiencing something by involving more of the senses.

Going on nature walks to observe the seasonal changes is always rejuvenating. With my binoculars and sketch pad, notes are journaled for visual and emotional responses to what I am experiencing. The resulting artworks are personal responses to what I see, hear, and feel.

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Little Visitor

Later, I wanted to experience and see the world, and I decided to serve my country and joined the Air Force. The traveling during those years was a kaleidoscope of people, places, beautiful natural parks, and art adventures! Even then, I had a small stained glass side hustle and pet portrait business.

Since then I have worked on many animal/nature themed projects including: public art at San Diego, Seaport Village, San Diego Zoo with Starbucks Coffee, public art at Tucson International Airport, Pima County Library, Tucson Botanical Gardens and Tucson public school art residencies.

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Nesting Mama

There has not been a time when I was not creating. When my dominant right wrist was broken last year, I learned how to draw and paint with my left hand. (temporarily!)

Subjects in my paintings are from personal observation and photo references. In my yard twice a year night blooming cactus thrive, gifting me with their beauty and scent. Bats visit my neighborhood on summer evenings and hummingbirds, verdin, cardinals, Gila Monsters, deer, coyote and more are part of my nature walks.

If anything describes me, it’s that I’m an explorer. I create visual art in several mediums and I problem-solve with my pencil and keystrokes. I’m interested in how things are made…from glass painting, to canvas, to public art in mosaics. I’m passionate about new ideas, projects and challenges. Aiming to master them while enjoying the process

While my professional work is animal portraits, my personal work springs from the same place…my heart.

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Orange Beauty 

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