Sunday, January 9, 2011

An Interview With Betty Sheinbaum

Reclining Woman and Greek Statues
oil on canvas 40 x 30"
Betty Sheinbaum

Betty Sheinbaum's rich variety of images reflect her 40 plus years of dedication and passion to life and art.

Your work is bursting with color and motion, are you working with large brushes? How do you choose your palette?

I work with small and medium brushes. Color reflects emotions – since most of my paintings have happy subjects, I use bright cheerful colors and color combinations.

Describe your process if you will, do you do drawings first, or go directly to paint?

I take many photographs and I use them mostly as my “inspiration.” I also love working from a model. I do lots of drawings before starting a painting.

How do you choose your subjects – is your own life reflected in your work?

I hope my life is reflected in my work. However, I am very tuned into our political and economic climate and find them inexplicable and depressing. I turn toward happier moments in one’s life out of self-defense!

Tell me about your figurative work – many of the poses do not include faces, or heads. Are you preserving the privacy of the model, or are you making a statement?

I wasn’t conscious that I wasn’t using faces in my smaller paintings, but I do love portraits, particularly in the larger paintings. I like working with different media and particularly mixed media paintings.

mixed media, newspaper on canvas 24 x 30"Betty Sheinbaum

You’ve been painting for much of your life, how have you managed to carve out time for artmaking? Has it ever interfered with your “normal” life, or vice versa?

I became an artist during my time as a young wife and mother. I had studied art and
loved using my hands to express myself. I had some encouragement from my art teachers and while bringing up 4 children, I found I could work at home on projects.

After the children grew up, I took several art classes at UCLA extension and became
more and more involved both with painting and sculpting. I loved sculpture and spent 10 years as a welder working on taking cars apart and making abstract people and animals. This was physically taxing and at age 60 I had to give it up and go back to painting. I love color, which is such a great element of painting, but I like 3 dimensions better in sculpture.

What do you like about painting? About being an artist?

Being an artist satisfies my need to do something alone. I love people and their activities and relationships. I love using color. I’m intrigued by shapes and compositions which are always an interesting challenge. There is so much to learn about myself and others. Painting is a method of looking for better understanding. However, there is always so much more to learn and to try. I never feel that I achieve enough. I will never feel as though I have reached a goal (one that I have set for myself). This is both discouraging and exciting. The end result of a painting is for me, and I am the one I care most about pleasing. As a painter, I can live in an amazing, beautiful, intriguing world – one in which I am constantly learning something new.

Betty Sheinbaum's retrospective exhibition at TAG Gallery begins Sunday, January 23, 2011.

Betty Sheinbaum

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