Lauren Betty Eco Artist

Can you expand on your comment, “…there is a rhythm that exists on the farm” how does this rhythm influence your art?

When my husband and I came across this land, there was an unfinished barn with a slight structure on top of it, a long gravel drive up to a clearing , and views of the sunrise over acres and acres of pasture. The trees were swaying and “talking”, rubbing up against one another. Immediately we knew had found our homestead and named it “Talking Tree Farm”.

Frida and Diego the goats

The rhythm exists in the sound of the trees, the winds, and the seasons. I am on mother earths time, the sunrise, the sunset, and the weather dictates everything. The animals go out at sunrise and away at sunset, the rhythm is the movement of the farm and all its beings.

The influence rhythm has on my art is that is all interconnected. I moved to the farm in 2020 from the city, and my art was transformed.

Originally, my studio did not have running water and I was using a rain barrel to wash my brushes. Seeing the pigment wash into the ground was frustrating . I was watching the pigment poison the ground. I began using fabric to absorb the pigment in my dirty paint buckets and suddenly realized I had found my next chapter in creating art. This is what i call I my “aha moment”.

I found old metal objects that had been stirred up from the earth and began using these to create rust on paper and fabric.

The peaceful and quiet rhythm of isolation on the farm combined with the need to be environmentally conscious and sustainable created the “Fabric of Being “ collection! 

Discuss how you use college and fabric in your work.

I use collage and fabric to create compositions that evoke an experience. The majority of my work is on a large scale, to have the viewer stand within the paintings. The process is my passion. I have dyed fabric hanging from clotheslines and rolls of paper strewn across the floor covered in watered down paint. Once dry, the dyed fabric and paper is torn into monochromatic compositions. My paintings are a form of propagation.

Taking a piece of a whole, planting, nurturing, and duplicating my surroundings. The weave of the fabric is represents my integration with nature and the symbolism of being interconnected with our environment.

How strongly has your art been influenced, by your formal art training?

The art I create today could have been accomplished with or without formal training, but I believe that when we learn how to use multiple “tools”, it allows us to find ourselves in our art. Life drawing, realism, sculpture, basic disciplines allowed me to free up space for the creative process to flow. As a multidisciplinary artist, I am able to create with fluidity of thought without guessing the process. Knowledge is freedom to tell your own story.

What method of recording do you do when you travel?

I love to collect organic forms from the area that I’m traveling. Branches, rocks, shells, feathers, bones, sand, anything tangible as diaries of the adventure. I also have been known to send myself postcards! One of my favorites is a postcard i sent to myself from Abiquiu, New Mexico, USA with a photo of Georgia O’Keeffe riding passenger on a motorcycle in 1944. I write simple notes to myself . These tangible diaries create the shrines throughout my studio.

Discuss the femininity of your work?

Women and nature have an undeniable bond. My art is representational of nature. That is why my art has femininity.

‘Of Light and Water’ I, 48″x 48″ Mixed Media on Canvas

You have work in both private and public collections.  Please take one that you were sorry to see go but also delighted to where it went and why?

In the beginning of my art career, I held fast to the emotions surrounding individual paintings. Now, many years have passed, and my emotional investment in the individual painting is severed when it leaves my studio, giving space for my mind to breathe into the next piece of art. My emotional connection has fallen into the love of the process. The meditative actions taken in dying of the fabric, hanging the fabric, pooling water onto paper, and composing compositions. This is what I hold dearly.

 ‘Of Light and Water’ II,  48″x 48″ Mixed Media on Canvas

Discuss how multi layering brings out unexpected results in you art.

I believe the canvas already has a plan, and I am its tool. The delicate surprises of color change when the underlayer of paper is combined with the sheer top layer of a dyed fabric, is comparable to mixing color on layers of transparent film. Repeated to achieve deep organic hues. Combined with the different size of weave in the fabrics , the folds become deep crevasses exposing small peeks of rust. A focal point of warmth trickling through a monochromatic sequence of layered color. The multilayering is unpredictable, and the outcome is unpredictable as well. I simply allow the painting to transform and trust the process.

‘Willow’ 1 70″x 60″ Mixed Media on Canvas

Comment on your current colour palette.

I lean towards a monochromatic color pallet. The color inspiration is influenced by my surroundings, also inspired by travel. I will bring the ocean or the desert home to the mountains and recreate the colors on the canvas. It’s a visual diary for me. I travelled to Joshua Tree National Park and the surrounding area of California several times this past year. In my current exhibition in North Carolina, USA , the colors depict warm tones, deep grays, and whites. I brought the high desert to North Carolina! Carolina! grays, and whites I brought the high desert to North Carolina!

‘Wind Moon Howling’ I 48″x 48″ Mixed Media on Canvas

How do you compose landscapes to give such a calming embodiment?

I am fortunate to have found my place of serenity in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. I watch the ever-changing landscape of the weather, mist, fog, clouds, sun, moon, and seasons from the farm. I try and capture the movement of the elements in the form of collage. By using the thin delicate weave of fabric, and haphazard placement, i attempt to mimic the serene. This ethereal display of nature is the inspiration of my landscape paintings.

‘Wind Moon Howling’ II,  48″x 48″ Mixed Media on Canvas

Discuss your amazing studio….

The studio was the first structure able to be used when we began the work on our homestead. It was a shell of a structure, so getting it up and running was a huge undertaking and it’s still very rough around the edges. The studio sits above the barn . The sounds of the goats, chickens and ducks echo over my music, and at night the frogs sing around the pond in chorus! in chorus!

It is my sanctuary, oasis, and a space where my mind can open. I have 1200 square feet of raw work space with multiple windows and glass doors to allow for the natural light. Through the glass I can see the pastures, the pond and all the trees surrounding the studio. An extra large, table is in the centre of the space, and is used as my main flat surface for the focus painting.

There is an area that I have dedicated to a lounge/sleep space, decorated with found objects of wood, bones, feathers, rocks, and shells. These objects are my “collections” from my travels and from around the farm, and they are displayed in shrines to nature over a drawing table. It’s a very thought provoking, space and is rough enough to feel free to explore my art in all mediums!

In 2023 you had five exhibitions – how do you keep up the pace.

It all circles back to the rhythm of the farm, and the isolation that allows me to focus on my art. I’ve been an independent artist for years, and self-discipline is a necessity to achieve the goals I set for myself.

I found that integrating my life on the farm and my art, and seeing them, allows space for freedom of thought and creativity. When the opportunity presents itself to exhibit my work, I jump at the chance to have a vision come to life.


Lauren Betty Art

Deborah Blakeley, Melbourne, Australia

Interview by Deborah Blakeley, June 2024

Images on these pages are all rights reserved by Lauren Betty