Experiencing the art and people of these places has helped me formulate a more spiritually direct or primal style.
Since 1990, I have played the shakuhachi, a traditional bamboo flute from Japan, as a form of meditation as well as music making. Meditation is a spur to creativity. By looking inward I've helped still and nourish my spirit; by nourishing my spirit I have returned to nature and fostered a sense of compassion.
Bette Alexander lives and works in Manhattan, and also maintains a home/studio in rural upstate New York near Delhi. She has two children and three grandchildren. She has been painting since age 16, when she saw El Greco's "View of Toledo," and realized that painting was her life's work.
In 2009-2010 she was selected to be an Artists Fellow at the Educational Alliance at the 14th Street Y, NYC. Part of her time was spent studying Pardes, (Hebrew for orchard, an ancient mystical garden) which is a small portion from the Talmud. Many of her recent tree and garden pictures are based on this theme.
In 2012, Bette’s work on paper, "Peruvian Melody," was featured in the US Arts and Embassy's desk diary. The diary, printed in an edition of 30,000, was used as an official gift, given by American Embassy ambassadors and other officials to members of the international community and host country nationals.
I find the best way to
express my visions and
ideas of the world is
with the human figure.
In the past I have worked with themes, each theme taking several years. I have been fascinated by a certain type of woman that I observe on the streets and stores of NYC and upstate NY. These women are isolated and denigrated by our culture but are lively and beautiful if you take a moment to look.
I have also depicted the long gone wooden synagogues and denizens of rural Eastern Europe, mostly Poland. I work from photographs to create colorful imaginary landscapes.
Other figurative works like "Janna and Me," are based on my own family and reflect my search for greater personal meaning and ancestral connections.
The inspiration for painting and drawing dancers came from the Rainbow Gardens dance/beer hall near my summer studio in rural upstate New York. I loved going there to watch the wonderful energy. Most everyone got up on the wooden floor and danced. They danced all kinds of steps and just enjoyed themselves!
At present I use oil sticks and oil paints to portray my subjects. I enjoy the vibrant colors and easy directness of these mediums, and the way I can use tools and even fingers to articulate the surfaces. Heavy texture has always fascinated me. I like to dig in and really develop and shape my surfaces. In the past I have also used dirt and mud, materials that connect me physically to the earth.
Travel has been an important influence. I have visited the statues of Easter Island, the mud houses and mosques of Mali, and lived along the Sepik River in Papua New Guinea. I love the spirit of these people and the simplicity of their lives.
Please visit the resume page for a more complete list of Bette's accomplishments.