Hannah Betzel’s 100 Paintings Project

Hannah Betzel fine art

Local artist Hannah Betzel had gotten away from her craft. Or maybe her craft got away from her. A wife and a mother of two young boys, she looked up at the end of 2014 and realized she wanted to start painting again. So she challenged herself to complete ten paintings by the end of this year. As of the beginning of this month, she’d done 100.

This was thanks in part to the #100daysproject, a movement that sprung up from Instagram to encourage creative people to develop a practice by making a new piece every day for 100 days. The project was created by The Great Discontent, who say it’s “not about fetishizing finished products — it’s about the process.”

My Athens recently caught up with Betzel to discuss her #100daysofabandon, how it’s changed her as an artist and what painting from her home studio has meant for her as a mother.

Hannah Betzel fine art
Hannah Betzel in her home studio. Photo by @dominiquepaye

My Athens: You worked with lots of different media in this project — watercolor, acrylic, collage and more. Did one emerge as a favorite?

Hannah Betzel: I like collage a lot and mixing that with acrylics, mostly. I found I like watercolors more than I thought I would. I always thought my work would be real stiff, working with it. Once you put it down, it’s there, you can’t really erase it. But I went at it with a playful attitude and mixed it with other things like colored pencils and pastels, and that took away from the harshness.

You say you got back into painting with this project. What drew you away from it in the first place?

I think the fear of not being able to make it as an artist. I think that’s what held me back for a long time, thinking there’s no way I can make any money with that.

Has your feeling about that changed over the course of this project?

I think so, yeah. It’s showed me that you can make it if you really put work into it. That’s really what it comes down to.

Hannah Betzel fine art
Hannah’s workspace. Photo by @dominquepaye, courtesy of @bmaathome

You’re holding a reception and viewing of work from this process at BMA at Home this Thursday night from 6-9. How did your relationship with BMA start?

I had never been in the store. I have no idea why it took me so long to get in there. I was posting my 100 Days Project on Instagram and eventually Breckyn [Alexander, the owner of BMA at Home] got in touch and said she really liked my work and she wanted to see something in person.

What’s next for you?

Next, I think is I want to do a couple of series that go together. I wanted to focus on one style and do maybe ten paintings in that particular style.

I’m a seamstress as well, so I do a lot of sewing, and I’m inspired by runway stuff in my paintings.

I reconstruct old clothes, and make some of the boys’ clothes and make some stuff for myself. I was in the Olives and Wax Vintage [Repurposing Project fashion] show this summer. I had an outfit in that. I’ve sold some kimono tops at a local shop and Community wants me to put some stuff in there.

Sounds like you’ve had a really fruitful year!

It’s been busy! I’ve gotten a lot of work done.

What were you up to before all this?

I’ve been really busy with my sons and not really focusing a lot on trying to get stuff out to sell. I want them to see me succeed as an artist. I think it’s important for them to grow up knowing not to be afraid of their dreams, and even if it feels impossible, they should go for it.

Hannah Betzel fine art #100daysofabandon
Hannah’s first painting in her #100daysofabandon project

The home studio must be good for that.

It’s been fun! I used to have an easel in here for them. I have it in their playroom now. They’ll see me do stuff, especially Bruno [my oldest], he’ll see me do these different styles and want to try them. He’s working on a collage now. Treehouse has been a really great resource for us.

Hannah Betzel fine art
Hannah’s 100th painting. Photo by @dominiquepaye

How has finding this practice changed your relationship with yourself?

I’m learning how to be more efficient with my time. I’ve never been one to be much for a calendar. I go with the flow. So I am learning the importance of having a schedule and a routine.

Hannah Betzel’s paintings will be on display Thursday, August 13, at BMA at Home in Five Points, from 6-9 p.m.


Community Q&A with Photographers Phillip and Eileen Blume

Meet the artist: Phillip and Eileen Blume

Check out their website: http://www.blumephotography.com

Tell us what you do:  As wedding photographers, Eileen and I (Phillip) get to serve engaged couples not only here in Athens, but all over the world — from New York and London to Antigua and Manila. Over the years, we’ve received many honors and awards. But the greatest honor we ever receive is the enormous trust couples place in us to document such historic days. This genre of photography requires a deep sense of humility, to create a perfectly blissful experience for every couple rather than play the “prima donna” art director role. We also believe strongly in the power of photography to give identity and to connect us with our heritage. So we aim to create imagery that is timeless and that relates new family’s story authentically and proudly. From pulling the trigger to hand-binding a finished wedding album, we create heirlooms that our couples’ grandchildren one day will pull out of the attic steamer trunk and gain a whole new insight into their roots.


Tell us about your history: You could say we fell in love — and into our profession — quite unusually. Eileen and I met in Tokyo, Japan. Sparks flew, but only later did we discover that our families lived within one hour of each other back home in the United States. We spent just a single day together in Tokyo, but stayed in touch after I returned home to Athens and finished my studies at UGA. Eileen remained in Japan for work and — as it turned out — her family began to “date” me on her behalf. You can’t imagine my nerves when it came time to meet her enormous filipino family all on my own! Six months later, we decided to meet for a mutual friends wedding in San Francisco. There, on our official first date, I proposed. She was crazy enough to say “yes,” and the rest is history.

We were both amateur photographers when we married, and I had photographed a few friends weddings during college to help pay tuition. When a newly engaged friend asked to see my portfolio to consider for her own wedding, Eileen did more than “post some pictures online” as I had asked her to do. Instead, in her classic overachiever style, she built a full website to display the images. Soon, we began receiving calls about wedding photography from complete strangers. The demand grew, and we soon were able to leave our jobs to pursue photography full-time.

We couldn’t have anticipated what came next. Within three years, our work was becoming widely published, couples were flying us out for their weddings overseas, and we received invitations to speak at some of the world’s largest photography conventions around the country. As a former high school teacher, I’ve loved marrying art with education — even if it is sometimes a challenge to juggle work along with our two daughters and an ongoing adoption process. We now enjoy instructing other photographers — both amateurs and professionals — through our weekly newsletter, my column in the popular Shutter Magazine and workshops everywhere.

Tell us about the importance of your work: The importance of our work with engaged couples and families (we also take on newborn and family portraits when time allows) goes beyond the artwork we create for them. Our primary goal is to serve our couples and impress on them the importance and beauty of their marriages. Outside our usual “studio hours,” our most important work consists of personal projects to improve the lives of children living in extreme poverty. Among smaller related projects, we produced a feature-length documentary film, “Lost Boys of Paradise,” which we released in 2011 at Athens’ own Cine theater. The film went on to tour venues around the United States, helping to raise awareness and support for children surviving in Guatemala’s post-civil war slums. The experience of filming and sharing those children’s stories was life-changing, and the power of visual media to give voice to the voiceless impressed us deeply.

Tell us why you live in Athens: I (Phillip) was born and raised in Athens, with the exception of a brief but memorable stint near Philadelphia. Athens has it all! It’s all the amenities of the city, but with an eclectic small-town feel. Since moving here, Eileen has become obsessed with our classic city as much as I am. We love the community and seeing people we know when we go out. Yet it isn’t so small that everyone’s “in your business.” You know what I mean? Between the two of us, Eileen and I have studied and lived in maybe 30 countries or more. We consider ourselves citizens of the world. But Athens is always our home base.

Describe your favorite things about this city: This could become a long list. But the first things that come to mind: We love the Twilight Criterium, Georgia game day (the atmosphere even more than the games), and cuisine from Last Resort Grill, to Etienne, to Five & Ten. We love the ever-increasing attention to historic preservation, the good ol’ Southern charm and the wealth of cultural diversity that the University fosters. We love you, Athens!



Community Q&A with Artist Laura Deems


Meet the artist: Laura Deems

Check out her website: http://www.etsy.com/shop/littlemustardseed3

Tell us what you do:  I recapture memories by returning to the buildings and homes in which they were made. I use a technique I learned in a drawing class to portray the nostalgia and whimsy of each building by highlighting the features that sometimes go unnoticed. It is my desire to capture the aura of the building and preserve the sweet memories made there

Tell us about your history: I was born and raised in the one stoplight town of Taylorsville, Georgia and am currently pursuing a degree in Fabric Design at the University of Georgia. I am also a product designer for Magnolia Lane, a leading distributor of hand painted, collegiate licensed items, picture frames and sentiment plaques. And recently a new artist for The Broad Collective.

When I am not dying fabric, you may find me jogging around Athens listening to Spirit Family Reunion, hanging out with my Young Life team at Clarke-Central High School, or learning the secrets of the culinary arts from Ina Garten on the Cooking Channel.

Tell us about the importance of your work: It all began with one simple, handmade gift for a friend.

My artwork reflects what I am drawn to in everyday life… discovering color and beauty in unexpected place. I recognize basic shapes amid the seemingly complex, and am reminded of the childlike joy that often comes from familiar places that feel like home. My art attempts to capture the secret whispers of sacred moments in treasured places.

Tell us why you live in Athens: I am a full time student at The University of Georgia.

Describe your favorite things about this city: The intimacy in the smallness. The familiar smiles, a known name, and the history associated with the buildings, those are a few of my favorite things. Athens is a little treasure box if ya ask me.



Community Q&A with Artist magic8ball_athens


Meet the artist: magic8ball_athens

Tell us what you do: I am a free artist in the city of Athens, making a themed body of work with a familiar image that is then broken up into individual parts and hidden throughout the city (parts of the city I can get to on a bike).

Tell us about your history: I started doing this a few months ago. I have a lot of respect for the strong and growing free art community in Atlanta and I wanted to try to bring that to Athens. The anonymity of the work is its strong point in my opinion, and I wish to remain anonymous as an artist because I think that divulging my identity would detract from the work itself while remaining anonymous will give this work in this specific medium a life of it’s own. That detail is just not important.

Tell us about the importance of your work: This project started very small but I have found myself putting more and more time into it every day and I am excited to see where it can go and what it could do. Using social media (Instagram specifically) as an interactive outlet has a lot of possibilities and I would like to see what power this symbol could hold of it reaches enough people within the city or beyond. I would like for it to represent Athens pride and its uniqueness as a city with a life all its own.

Tell us why you live in Athens: I have been in school at UGA for 2 years. I am from Midtown Atlanta.

Describe your favorite things about this city: I have found in the last few months that my favorite things about the city of Athens are the unique, hidden gems throughout the city, big or small. I enjoy the sincerity of the restaurants and businesses in the city, as well as the diverse range of neighborhoods. I have lived in Normaltown for the last year, and being in that spot has made me feel like more of a part of the vibrant Athenian culture.

Community Q&A with Wesley Johnson

Meet the artist: Wesley Johnson

Check out his website: https://wesdaruler.bandcamp.com/

Tell us what you do: I’m a self branded beatsmith that goes by the name “WesdaRuler”. I mix 90s era boom bap/sampling with 90s ear video sounds. I also do traditional mpc style boom bap beats. No one really raps or seeks out this kind of production anymore so I recently started doing live shows where I recreate/remix my own beats live in a non-stop 20-45 min set.

Tell us about your history: Ex military brat. I was born in Warner Robins, GA. My mom grew up there. My dad grew up here in Athens and met her when he joined the Airforce. We have lived mainly in the south (SC/GA/FLA), but spent some years on in northern Cali. I came up in SC as the neighborhood “beat box” and was just called “big wes”. When I moved to Cali and got exposed to a different kind of music scene I became the street dj and was given the name “Wesdnile da Virus” (lol). From there I started making beats. I’ve always been a fan of 90s hip hop usually referred to as the “golden era”. I’ve also always been a huge chipmusic fan (8bit video game sounds) which ironically is considered the golden era of gaming. Listening to great producers like Pete Rock, Large Professor, and DJ Premier led me to Jay Dilla of Detroit. I became a huge fan of his productions and have adapted that style as my own. I’m also a big fan of Mr. Dibia$e/ Professa (darkerthanwax)/Phillipe Edision/Mndsgn. I’m also into photography and sometimes attempt to express the picture in a beat.

Tell us about the importance of your work: It’s important to me simply because I really love doing it. I could never clearly explain in words how I might feel one day, but I am able to take those feelings and vibes and turn them to a beat. It’s a way to express myself. I would love to help build the beat scene here in Athens. I’ve already done a few shows, and people seem to be into it. Any way to contribute to the overall scene and feel of Athens.

Tell us why you live in Athens: It’s a great town. A lot of my family is here and after growing up in the military it’s nice to finally be around. I also have a wife and one-year-old son, and would like to give him a stable environment. I have a good career at UGA. I love football! I love the food here, the music here and MOST of the people here (lol). Sometimes this lil’ town takes my breath away when I take a minute to just stop and look.

Describe your favorite things about this city: I like to old town feel of it. It’s historical, but not TOO historical if that makes sense.


Community Q&A with Artist Brianna Rawley Isbell of Moonsail Design

Meet the artist: Brianna Rawley Isbell of Moonsail Design

Check out her website: http://www.etsy.com/shop/moonsaildesign

Tell us what you do: Moonsail is an independently owned business that specializes in all things art. We do everything from handmade clothing and accessories to paintings, illustrations, woodburnings, and embroideries.


Tell us about your history: We started in 2006 as a one woman operation when I was 14. Originally, I was just making custom clothing items for people at my high school, but soon it grew into an online business with customers all over the country. In the past 9 years, we have expanded our focus to include art of all sorts.


Tell us about the importance of your work: I feel like my work is a creative outlet for all the little inspirations I stumble across in my daily life. Some of it is meant to be silly and cute, while other things are coming from a deeper, more sensitive part of my life. I really enjoy being able to express the highs and lows of my life through a positive outlet.


Tell us why you live in Athens. I was originally drawn to Athens by some of my best friends who spoke highly of the art scene in the area. I’ve been here for two years at this point and I still find new inspirations on a daily basis. So many people here are artistic in one way or another. I’ve been working with Indie South and The Broad Collective lately. Those two brands in particular are a major driving force for why I love this town so much. It’s just an amazing feeling to be apart of a constantly growing and changing artistic environment.


Describe your favorite things about this city: I love that there’s always something going on! It has all the quirks of a small town, with the entertainment of a larger city. I’m constantly flipping through Flagpole for things to do and have never been disappointed! I also love that I feel comfortable going to events by myself because it’s practically guaranteed that I’ll run into someone I know. Athens is really just a perfect mix of everything I could ask for in a town.


Community Q&A with Artist Anna Edwards


Meet the artist: Anna Edwards

Stay in touch: @dustmadejewelry

Check out her website: http://www.dustmade.com


Tell us what you do: I am super inspired by nature and flowers and patterning. I love raw, uncanny aspect of nature and its spontaneity. It is always changing, always transforming, and always awe-inspiring. I want my audience to rejoice in these qualities of nature as they hold and wear my work! Overall, I really just want people to love it when they wear it. I want them to feel special and unique and love to put it on!


Tell us about your history: I grew up in Moultrie, Georgia. It’s a baby town in really, really south GA. Like any small town, a lot of people are dying to get out by the time they graduate. I was ready to go to college because I knew college was fun. But really, I LOVE Moultrie and the sweet and engaged community that it has to offer. Growing up there was extremely special and I know that it influenced a lot of who I am today.

I have an incredible family…I’m sure that’s what anyone would say. But I really believe that they are the best! My family owns a BBQ restaurant in Moultrie and so I grew up with the restaurant as our dining room and where we are most of our meals! No complaints there. That where I learned how important eating with people was. I love the fellowship and conversation that you bask in while sitting around the dinner table.

I got married in May and have loved every second of being a wife. Marriage is the best and has been such a safe place for me to dream and do as an artist.


Tell us about the importance of your work: I like to think that my work is important, but I also understand how incredibly small I am in the grand scheme of things. Some artist might get discouraged by that fact, but when you truly understand how minuscule you are in this world, its an incredibly freeing reality. There’s no pressure to perform. There’s no pressure to try to be anyone but yourself. It’s exciting to know that a million small pieces make up the HUGE puzzle of life and we each get to be one of those pieces. I find myself constantly working and making and wondering what role my work will play in the end! I think the suspense is motivating and inspiring.

I love working with my hands. Handmade is special. Every handmade piece is inherently one-of-a-kind. Working with my hands has opened, for me, a whole new vista through which I am able to understand what is going on around me. Often, as I am making, my flaws seem magnified. My imperfections always work their way to the surface. I love that. It’s a constant and gracious reminder that I am not perfect and that I don’t have to pretend I am.


Tell us why you live in Athens: Originally, I moved to Athens before my freshman year to attend UGA. Like a lot of people who initially come for school, I’m still here and it’s year 5. Athens is a city of opportunity. It offers entertainment, yummy foods and a close community. Athens seems to have shrunk from when I got here 5 years ago. It has a way of sucking you in and connecting you with other like-minded and like-hearted people. The result is that it feels like a small hometown that never stops loving, inspiring and supporting each other.


Describe your favorite things about this city: White Tiger, Endless coffee shops, everyone’s weird and no one cares, the importance of the arts, Ike and Jane, everyone runs/walks/bikes, it’s not just a stepping stone where you come for school and move on, Taqueria, fall in Athens, I could go on and on and on…


Community Q&A with Artist Barbara Odil


Meet the artist: Barbara Odil

Check out her website: http://www.barbaraodil.com
More information about the Prince Avenue Art Crawl can be found here!

Tell us what you do: My creations are sculptural figurative work from wood; primarily driftwood or fallen wood gathered in my travels. My work celebrates the beauty and simplicity I find in nature. As I walk in the woods, along the beach or on sandy creek shores, I delight in the myriad of natural objects that have fallen, washed ashore or been carried by the wind. Just being in nature nurtures my soul.

Tell us about your history: I grew up in Macon, Georgia and was fortunate to be there as the whole music scene began in the late 1960s. The friendships I formed at that time were based on shared creativity, respect for and living in nature and reconnecting to the Earth through living simply. The processes of creation and play are integral parts of my life. As a young child I spent many hours drawing and playing in the woods and creek. Often I saw animals, faces and other magical beings in the clouds, trees and flowing water. I gathered rocks and driftwood from the creek, fallen wood, leaves, moss, flowers and mushrooms to assemble altars under a large old oak.

I studied art at Mercer University during that time and began earning a living through my artistic endeavors.

Tell us about the importance of your work: Technological devlopments and urban sprawl in western culture often impede or sever one’s connection to the natural world. My artwork provides them an opportunity to pause and reconnect to the Earth.

In my current body of work I use roots and wood to express the expansions and contractions found in the cycle of life. The sculptures are composed of materials gathered primarily from Georgia, South Carolina and New Mexico. They tell stories I carry home from my travels.

Tell us why you live in Athens. I came to Athens in 1977 because of the strong arts community. My friendships, home, family and spiritual community keep me tethered here.

Describe your favorite things about this city: I really enjoy all the greenspace, trees, old neighborhoods, and music and art scenes. The public displays around town greatly enahce our environment.







Community Q&A with Artist Chris Taylor


Meet the artist: Chris Taylor

Stay in touch: @tattoed_dad

Check out his website: www.34north.org

Find him on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/34DegreesNorth

Find him on Twitter: @tattoed_dad

Tell us what you do: I’m a land artist, creating exertive, ephemeral and site-specific works using only the materials on hand. Pieces are not meant to last, photos are generally the only record. If I’m lucky, they’ll last long enough for someone to stumble on later.

Tell us about your history: I’ve been an artist most of my life. I liked painting and making things. I’ve played drums since I was 13, sometimes getting paid to do it. But, you know those times in your life when you think “after this, nothing will ever be the same…”? That’s how I felt after seeing Andy Goldsworthy’s “Rivers and Tides” one morning on PBS. This was an art form and way of looking at the world that had always been in the back of my mind and was now legitimized. After studying him and other, modern artists like Will Beckers, Julia Brooklyn, Richard Schilling, Nils-Udo, and Richard Long I dove in and started creating. I’m not aware of any other land artists working in the South, but if there are, we should really hang out.

Tell us about the importance of your work: I do a lot of work for children. When teaching, my hope is to pass along discovery in the details. A stick, flower, bark, leaves, anything that makes a child stop and see what’s really around them. The state of modern childhood and it’s lack of nature education has been groused about ad nauseam, and only a portion of it is correct. The fact is, a child will figure out this point of view if left alone. The issue is kids aren’t left alone to discover very often.

Tell us why you live in Athens. My wife and I have lived here for 16 years, buying our first home in Athens for the sole purpose of wanting to live in Athens. We now have an 11-year-old-daughter in school here and couldn’t be happier.

Describe your favorite things about this city: Athens allows you to be who you want to be with no judgment. I’ve played music on stage at the 40-Watt and the Classic Center. I’ve taught children art at Sandy Creek. I’ve volunteered to feed students in the Clarke County School system. All you have to do is ask, and our community presents as many options as you could hope for.

Interested in checking out Chris’ work? He currently has two photos on display at the Tannery Row Artist Colony Gallery until November or you can find him at the Mountain Arts and Crafts Celebration at Cloudland Canyon State Park on November 1 and 2.









Community Q&A with Artist Karla Pruitt


Meet the artist: Karla Pruitt

Stay in touch: @karla_pruitt

Check out her website: http://www.karlapruitt.com/

Tell us what you do: I paint and create patterns that I sell in my online shop and license to companies for product development on items like wallpaper and greeting cards.

Tell us about your history: I grew up in South Florida in a design loving family, went to SCAD in Savannah and majored in Fibers (textile design). I moved to Atlanta for a job as a home textile designer, and then worked as a gift product designer in Athens.

Tell us about the importance of your work: I think creating beautiful things to live around is a natural and humble part of being human. I hope my designs bring a little color into people’s lives.

Tell us why you live in Athens: My husband and I moved here just because we liked it! I am greatly influenced in my work by where I live, and walking around Athens helped inspire my wallpaper line for Hygge & West.

Describe your favorite things about this city: I love the perfect little city size of Athens, the people we’ve met here, the local restaurants and shops, and my favorite little neighborhood of Normaltown.