Art Illustration

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Layered Paintings by Betsy Walton Build Memory into Colorful Explorations of the Pacific Northwest

January 17, 2019

Kate Sierzputowski

Artist Betsy Walton loosely imitates the landscape of Portland, Oregon in paintings infused with geodesic rocks and female subjects dressed as spellbinding goddesses. Walton works in layers, leaving some areas of the paintings bare with minimal sketches, while others have been painted, mixed with new media, or patched over multiple times.

“I paint over old versions of images so that there is a kind of memory to the painting,” she explains to Colossal. “I like being able to create an image that slowly unfolds. My hope is that a person looking at the finished work is able to have a long relationship with the image—lots of nuance to discover over time.”

Although Portland’s winters have become a primary point of inspiration, Walton likes to also bring in elements of travel by including flora that exist outside of the Pacific Northwest. She also includes natural phenomena or invisible structures that we might not see in everyday life, such as winding tree roots or the ribs of a female subject. “In each painting I am working through a kind of mindfulness process wherein I try to stay faithful to my ideas as they arise, even if I can’t explain it or it seems like a hard turn from where I started,” she explains. “It’s a delicate dance between unconditional acceptance of new ideas and subsequent editing phases where I try to refine the image and gain more clarity in the expression of the image’s story. ”

Walton’s first solo exhibition will open in May 2020 at Stephanie Chefas Projects in Portland. You can view more of her paintings on her website and Instagram.

 

 

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