Bettie Grace Miner Interview Page 3
BM: It kind of evolves, as I may have said to you before… one door closes, another opens and when you have a creative streak in you, it has to get out (Laughing). It has to find an outlet, and when I stopped being a music performer, and stopped my participation in music, naturally I gravitated to the music field, and so that was one of my first bodies of work or subject matter was musicians and music, and I think I kind of come full circle at this point.
Smitty: Wow… Well your creative streak is certainly alive right now. (Laughing)
BM: (Laughing) I would say so. I can’t seem to stop. I mean, I get a notion like two in the morning, and I sit down and start working, and by the morning, there’s a new piece created. So it’s again, it’s something that’s knocking to get out, you know. It just has to get out. So you give into that, and you have to create.
Smitty: What I like so much about your work is that it’s, it’s so alive. The colors are vibrant, and your work talks to you. You know what I mean?
Smitty: It always has a voice.
BM: Oh that’s, you know that’s interesting because it speaks to me, and I think that, that’s probably how it comes out.
BM: And you mentioned the color. Actually, I really have not ever studied art. I studied art very briefly with a French painter. I was studying impressionist painting a few years ago, and I studied with her for about a year. And other than that, I’m working with the photographer that I did for a number of years. Other than on the job training, I’ve never really studied photography, or art, and yet I’m doing it.
Smitty: Yes. You’re setting some new standards and trends.
BM: And it’s so funny that I recently hosted a workshop for photographers that want to get more into painting. I’m sort of telling you the whole process. That’s the way to say it. It’s really painting for photographers. The teacher of this workshop, without knowing me, or ever having seen my work, he said the funniest thing to me. He said, “Bettie, you mustn’t be afraid of color."
BM: (Laughing) And I looked him dead in the eye, and said “ Sir, color should be afraid of me.”
Smitty: I know that’s right! (Laughing)
BM: Because that’s one thing you’ll see in my work is lots, and lots of color. I have absolutely no fear of color. I think that it is our emotion that it’s our passion; it’s everything that we are that comes out in all these various colors. And that’s the way it expresses when I work. If you look at the portrait I did with Michael Paulo, there’s lots of reds, and warm colors. He’s a hot, hot saxophone player. And that passion that he has when he plays, and that fire that’s under him. I mean, he’s that kind of a guy. But he’s got so much power, and so much passion, and so much fire, and that came out. I just, I didn’t know what colors I was gonna’ start with, I had no idea, and I just started. I never really have a plan. I just start.
Smitty: Yes, it’s from the heart.
BM: And it speaks to me. And, that comes back to the voices. It speaks to me, and tells me, you know, what the colors should be, and, and what the dynamics of the piece should be. So it’s really that person. I sort of feel like I’m channeling. I feel like I’m channeling Peter White, or Mindi Abair, or Earl Klugh, or you know, some of the other great favorites. I feel that I’ve been fortunate enough to know them, and to tap into what their heart is, and just sort of channeling what they might say into these pieces, with the color, and with the shapes, and with the form. I sort of feel like I’m sort of a conduit. You know, between what they have to say, the way I interpret it, and put it on paper.
Smitty: Very cool Yeah. Now you’re a Native up Seattle. And now you’re.
BM: Yes I grew up there. I actually was born in Southern California. Born here, but moved away when my father was in the military, a navy man, and we lived in Memphis, Tennessee for a few years. We moved to Paris, France for a few years, where I actually went to grade school. We came back to California for a few years, and then settled in the Seattle, Washington area, and that’s where I grew up, and went to high school, and college, and, so yes… I always consider myself as being from Seattle, but in fact I was born here in California.
Smitty: After traveling the world, and the memory you have of all of these gorgeous places you’ve been. Is there something, or one thing that you would love to paint, that you haven’t been able to?
BM: Oh… Gosh, you would ask that. Yeah, Tuscany, Italy, Paris, I’d love to go to some of the older areas in Europe, and, and there’s a project I wanna’ do... I already have a name for it; it’s called “Portals”. It would be windows, and doors, and all things that are opening to other places. I’d love to do that. I’ve had the trip planned in my head for a number of years, and I keep hoping every spring that comes around I think, “ok maybe this is the spring I’ll be able to go and do that”. But yes, I wanna’ go to both Paris, and Italy. Not just Paris, I mean really the whole area, you know in France. The country side, and the vineyards, and all of that of course.
BM: It’s really one of a fine art thing. Of course if I find any Jazz musicians along the road, I’ll probably do that too. There’s just something about them that just makes me detour.
Smitty: Oh Yeah, I can appreciate that, and I can feel a lot of French connotations in your paintings as well. Is that because of your history in France?
BM: You know, if it is, it’s unintentional. I was very young when I lived there. I was in first and second grade. I lived back in California by the third grade. But we did some, some field trips. I mean we went to museums, we painted in the park. You know, as children, we were exposed to a lot of artwork. I remember at the time, of course I’m giving away my age at this point, but I put my six year old hand on the Mona Lisa, and so did every other first grader in my class, because at that time there were no protections for the art work. So I got up close and personal with all these paintings, and I imagine that perhaps it got into the back of my mind somewhere.
BM: And like I said, if there’s French connotations coming out of my work, it’s purely unintentional or it’s something to do with my love for that art form.
Smitty: Wow. That’s so cool… Now all of the things we’ve talked about, in terms of your work are certainly for the most part on your website right?
BM: A lot of it is. In fact there’s a lot of new work. The work that I’m doing now, that are paintings, are not on the website. Everything you see on the website is actually the Polaroid art form that I’ve been doing for the last ten years. We are updating the website in the very, very near future, which will include the new paintings I’m doing.
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