Spotlight: Bethany Kartchner
Bethany Kartchner is a self-taught freelance mixed-media and paperclay artist. passionate about trying new techniques, products, and ideas, she always tries to stretch herself in her work. Thanks to her artistic mother, Bethany has experience in just about everything creative. Because of this, she is known for combining seemingly disparate mediums with ease. Plus, she has a distinct ability to think outside the box and push products into new, innovative uses.
Bethany enjoys working with many mediums including fabric, paper, and paperclay. Lately, her focus has changed from that of a die-hard scrapbooker, creating layouts to be placed in an album, to a mixed-media artist. This is a very exciting transition. Yet, whatever medium she chooses, her style can be defined as whimsical freestyle. The majority (if not all) of her work is cheerful and fun with bright colors and happy themes.
How did you get started in mixed-media?
I began my career as a scrapbook designer about 6 years ago when my third child was born because I needed a personal creative outlet. It took me about a year of rejections to break into the industry and become a design team member for paper manufacturers. I was strictly a scrapbooker for about 3 years until I started adding extra bits like paints and 3D elements to my layouts. About a year ago, I made the short leap into mixed-media and I absolutely love it. Mixed-media allows me to combine all of my interests into one art form. When I feel like sewing, I add fabric, when I feel like sculpting, I add air-dry clay. Paint works with everything so that seems to be the common element in my pieces.
What kind of painter are you?
I would describe myself as a whimsical painter. I enjoy creating pieces that are stylized and imaginative. Most of my themes are youthful and happy. I tend toward bright spring colors: aquas, yellows, reds, greens and oranges. I rarely, if ever use earth tones or darks. To me, painting is such a joyful process that I just can’t be dark or serious when I’m doing it.
What has been your biggest challenge?
My biggest challenge as an artist is believing in myself. With all the talented, creative individuals on the internet, it is easy to become paralyzed with feeling of inadequacy. However, I recently encountered a quote by Andy Warhol that has helped me to separate the people-pleasing part of myself with my creative self.
“Don’t think about making art, just get it done. Let everyone else decide if it’s good or bad, whether they love it or hate it. While they are deciding, make even more art.” Andy Warhol
Now, when I finish a piece and that inner critic starts in on me, I simply begin another piece and refuse to waste precious creative time on worry. Creating brings me joy and that’s the most important thing, not whether my art is good or bad.
When did you start using DecoArt products?
I’ve been using DecoArt products since I could hold a paintbrush. As a child, I frequently used DecoArt’s acrylic paint in my craft projects. I started choosing DecoArt exclusively about two years ago. I love the quality of DecoArt products and the price point just can’t be beat. Plus, I love the variety and versatility of DecoArt. I’m especially drawn to the textures and mediums. It is so much fun to experiment with them and to use them to push the envelope in my art.
What impact do DecoArt’s products have on your work/life?
I feel like DecoArt gives me the tools that I need to create from my heart. DecoArt’s quality and price allow me to focus on the creative process without worrying about disappointing materials or wasting supplies. I can always count on DecoArt for reliable, quality products that make my projects shine.
What has been your greatest success, so far?
Being on the cover of GreenCraft and Somerset Apprentice was an experience that I didn’t even dare dream for myself. Walking into a store and seeing my artwork on the cover of two magazines was simply amazing. As if that weren’t enough, because of the GreenCraft cover, I was asked to be part of an six month exhibit at Buell Children’s Museum in Pueblo Colorado. When I walked into the museum and saw my display, I was so proud. Becoming a professional artist when I sold my first pieces last year was just as thrilling. More recently, I have been honored to receive two awards for my artwork in local juried shows. Every time someone tells me that they like something that I’ve created, I am both thrilled and touched.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Let’s see…in 5 years, I will be a published author, I will have figured out the secret to keeping my studio at least functionally organized, I will still be teaching art to children and adults and I’ll continue to create from my heart. I will continue to work on my technique so I can better express my intentions and I’ll still be working with DecoArt paints. They just keep coming out with more and more interesting products. I can’t wait to see where they go in the future!
Who is your favorite artist?
Goodness, I’m not sure. I’m drawn to different artists for different reasons. I’m drawn to Monet’s exploration of light. Van Gogh’s passion. Warhol’s fearlessness. O’Keefe’s focus. Kahlo’s determination. Cassatt’s themes. Gauguin’s colors. Picasso’s lines. Arcimboldo’s imagination. Pollock’s disregard for convention. I’m inspired by anyone and everyone who creates.
Recreate Bethany’s Spring mixed media piece from CHA Winter 2012
The Spring Mixed Media Kit includes:
- Full sizes of DecoArt’s popular Gesso and a full 4-oz of our new Americana Decoupage that you’ll use again & again!
- Free sample of the many new 2012 Americana colors including Red Alert & Margarita!
- Lara’s Crafts 5×6″ Wooden Postcard Surface
- Americana Stencil
- Paper pack featuring some of Canvas Corp’s newest designs of paper
- A complementary, free, online video (20 minutes) and step-by-step tutorial by Bethany Kartchner, showing you neat techniques to create this mixed media piece that you can easily reproduce in other pieces!
BUY NOW! Limited quantities available.