Talking Art with Becky Bettesworth
Inspired by her love of the old 1930’s railway/travel posters, we’re getting to know the creative Becky Bettesworth a little better as she tells us all about how her career as an artist started and how she got to where she is today.
Were you good at art as a child? I loved art as a child and drew all the time. I used to love comics, Snoopy and Garfield and try and copy them. I’d look at the front and back of the cereal box and copy and draw over breakfast. I’d draw at school and home, doodling and sketching. I am dyslexic so I found every other lesson hard except for art.I always loved art and at primary school it was what people connected me with and was part of who I am and what I was good at. I knew I wanted to grow up to be an artist.
Did you always intend to make art your career? Yes absolutely although I do remember my Dad advising me to think about getting a proper job as he knew it was a hard road ahead to make it as an artist. I’ve always known it’s what I wanted to do and have had self-belief, determination and tenacity which is needed through challenging times where self-doubt and criticism can knock you down as you grow, evolve and develop as an artist. It certainly doesn’t happen overnight and it is a journey which you have to be patient with and enjoy the ride!
Where did you train? I did art as GCSE and A Level and then did an art foundation course at Chester which I loved which led me to a degree at Bath.
What was your career after you graduated? After my three years in Bath I knew I wanted to go to London and was offered some unpaid work experience with an advertising company, where after a month they offered me a full-time job as an art director, helping to come up with conceptual ideas for campaigns and seeing them through to final fruition. Working with Cadbury’s, Guinness and Coca Cola, which was an awesome fun experience which consisted of long long hours where the client would fundamentally have the final say over the creativity.
When did you decide on a freelance career? At this point me and my future husband decided to take an adventure to New Zealand, which proved to be one of the best decisions in our lives! We applied for a one year working visa and loved loved loved our time out there. It is here that I met lots of other artists and saw lots of different art and thought “I could do that”!
When did you move to Devon and why there? So when we came back Matt joined the family business of chartered surveyors, Bettesworths in Torquay and I started my career as an artist. Building up a portfolio of work and approaching galleries and publishing companies. I experimented in different styles, doing life drawing classes and working with pencil, pastel and acrylics. I took part in exhibitions and was asked to exhibit with a London gallery and The Affordable Art Fair in London. I then became a full time Mum and had three wonderful children Heidi, Bertie and Tom so the paints had to be put away for some time as I enjoyed being a full time mum of three….
Describe your family and life in Devon. Our life in Devon consists of making the most of where we live and outdoor living. We love surfing, paddle boarding and cycling and BBQs on the beach are always great too, taking Squiggle our golden retriever puppy with us along the way.
How much time do you spend each day painting? I spend as much time as possible, but family and business administration tend to make this tricky. My ideal day is to have no interruptions and create non-stop. Sometimes I can work until 2am in the morning when I’m in the ‘zone’. My day always starts with either a morning yoga class, run along the coastal path or walk with Squiggle.
Do you have a studio? Yes I do have a studio which is in my home, which is lovely. I create in one room which is light and airy and then I have another room which is my mini warehouse / distribution / packing room, where all the orders from my website and shops are processed.
How would you describe your work and its style? My work is reminiscent of the 1930s travel poster art but done in a modern contemporary way, with the use of soft Pastel colours. I have always loved this art and the nostalgic feel of that wonderful bygone era.
What sort of things do you paint now? Having established a range of seaside destination posters I am keen to continue with this but I am also creating some Limited Edition pieces, adding to my Special Collection Range and taking on more commissions.
And what inspires you about South Devon? I am inspired by South Devon because this is where we are lucky to live. However I am inspired by the beauty of the whole of the West Country, both coastline and countryside. We are very blessed to live in the United Kingdom and have such beautiful unspoilt coastlines.
Which mediums do you work in? I work doing pencil sketches, painting and I also create my artwork drawing on the computer, so it is a real mix of old and new.
Where is your work sold? My work is sold on my website www.beckybettesworth.co.uk and I supply to boutique shops and galleries across the country. I even supply to a large store in Bermuda.
You also supply the National Trust. Could you tell us a bit about that. This is where it all started for me, when I had an exhibition at Greenway, Agatha Christie’s former home which is now a National Trust property. I thought if I could create some pictures of Greenway in this style it would be very fitting of such a stunning building in what is an exquisite location. At that time the NT asked if they could stock my artwork and I guess that is how it all began!!
What are you working on now? I am working on growing my Limited Edition Collection whilst also adding to my Seaside Collection Range. I have a number of commissions booked this year. I continue to have my artwork on fabulous chocolate bars created by Kernow Cornish chocolate company, greetings cards by Glebe Cottage and Tea Towels, Coasters, Pot Stands and Magnets by Proctor and Clark. A really fun aspect that has just launched is my artwork on three skirts produced by a vintage boutique in London called Revival Retro. My artwork is available in two sizes of Calendar and also an A5 British Coastlines Diary in partnership with Carousel Calendars. The 2020 versions of these will be on sale through my website in a wide range of UK retail outlets including WHSmith.