Art like writing can be a solitary pursuit.
So, plein air oil painter Betty Schnell doesn’t mind a little company when she’s out in nature armed with her canvases, palette and easel.
More than a few times, she has attracted her own small audience as she captures mountains or other scenery in vibrant colour. “When I’m out painting people stop and talk. You get all this excitement. You’re out in the world. . . I love it when they stop.” Painting at Emerald Lake and other beauty spots in the Rockies in the summer, she regularly draws a small crowd when Japanese tour buses arrive.
Born and raised in southern Saskatchewan, Betty has always been drawn outdoors for her artistic inspiration. For years, she has crisscrossed the province in her trusty camper van from the mountains and Emerald Lake or Lake O’Hara to the big-sky vistas of the Prairies and Drumheller’s unique natural drama. That connection with nature has changed her art over time. “I think it’s got a lot more bold, with bold colours and good brush strokes.”
She also has found inspiration in painting trips to Ireland, Britain, Italy and France. She has showcased her work, oils and watercolours, at numerous shows during her 40-year painting career, which had to wait to get going while she raised seven children.
Betty’s works have been seen at Red Deer’s Sunworks and are in private collections throughout Canada and the U.S., and as far as England, Germany and Brazil.
Her advice for those who feel an unfulfilled desire to paint? “Just pack up your paints and get out there. . . Learn your own technique. Everybody does it differently.”