About Art Interview Betty-Anne Gaetz


Betty-Anne Gaetz is a Nova Scotian visual artist working predominantly in oil, acrylic, and egg tempera. Gaetz began her love of art at an early age, though she chose a career in the Royal Canadian Navy doing primarily secretarial work. It was not until later in life, that she rediscovered her passion for art. As a dedicated artist since 1976, she has been featured in numerous exhibits and publications. Her paintings are in private collections in Canada and the United States. She is part of the tri-solo show ,”Views”, at Visual Voice Fine Art gallery, which features three different artists: Gaetz (oil), Nora Gross (watercolour) and Lynn Johnson (acrylic). The show displays works of similar subject matter (landscapes, home scenes, flowers and still life) but created in different mediums. The exhibit runs until November 5th.http://www.visual-voice.ca/fineart/index.html


How did you start making art?

Over forty years ago I started oil painting classes at the local High School as my two preschool boys baked bread at home with my husband. Often the mess they made was more than I made painting!


How do you work?

I have a large, bright, studio space with infloor heat. I have had issues with oil paint and thinners so I limit myself to an hour at a time with lots of fresh air as I explore the use of water mixable oils. My ideal is to have two or three of these hours per day. I try to get out doors as much as possible to do on site sketches.


What’s your background?

For years I took weekly evening classes. I completed Foundation Drawing and Photography at the Nova Scotia College of Art. These were credit courses. For fifteen summers I did a week-long workshop with various artists. I spent a month on Baffin Island teaching with Barbara Dorey. I taught beginner oil painting for a number of years in the local schools. I had an art studio near home, where I taught and our local art group held shows and workshops. We had lots of plans for my space, but those plans all went up ‘in smoke’ one night as the building burned. I now show work in the Old School Gallery in Musquodoboit Harbour and Visual Voice Fine Art in Truro.


Do you have any tips or inspiring words for others?

Whatever you are working on, never leave it during a challenging part, push through before you stop. It doesn’t matter if it is sewing, writing or painting! It is so much easier to go back to a project when you know you’re on the other side of the difficult part. Also, when you first start painting, spend lots of time working with complementary colours so they become automatic. I was told about complimentary colours when I first started painting, but didn’t remember so I spent far too much time producing muddy colours.


What are you doing when you are not creating?

It seems I am always creating or trying something new. I play fiddle, guitar and sing. I like gardening and playing with frosting. I rug hook, knit, sew and tat. I have withdrawal symptoms if I am not making something.


What would people be surprised to learn about you?

I was in the Navy a year before I was married and then four more years back in the day when I had to leave when pregnant. I was an ‘admin writer’, but one of my duties was a jeep driver for the submarine squadron. I was told I was the first female to have a silence after the war.