Tamara Moore Conscious Business | Workforce Development | Strategic Facilitation | DJ
It was one of those beautiful, sunny September mornings where just the right amount of autumn crispness was in the air. Most of the leaves were still green, full of summer’s abundant delight. As I drove to Betz’s, I recalled the words she wrote on my itinerary, “Just a thumbnail sketch – who knows what’s going to happen.”
Betz is one of those rare people who are worthy of a one-word name. When you meet her, you are instantly enveloped by her energy and creative curiosity. It is as if you are in the front seat of an amusement park ride; a little apprehensive about where this will take you, but excited nonetheless. I first met Betz at the Lawrence Dryhurst Gallery. The gallery features the works of only one artist…Betz. Many describe her art as “relational” as it is imbued with energy and emotion, just waiting to engage the unsuspecting passerby. You can’t help but stop and have an experience with one of her pieces.
Although I am not an artist, I consider myself a creative and enjoy hearing the life stories and processes of other innovators. Betz and I have connected over bold ideas and strong coffee and also learned from each other’s diverse life experiences. One day she presented an intriguing offer, “I have been testing a one-day immersive painting experience and want you to try it out. Before you say no and tell me you are not an artist, I want to explain. It’s not about learning my painting technique. It’s about learning about you.”
I showed up for the “Betz Experience” and was greeted by Betz with a fresh cup of steaming, roasted coffee. The smell started to wake up my other senses; even the colors of the artwork around me became more vivid.
Betz told me very little about what would happen, except that she was going to interrupt me during the process if she caught me thinking too much.
As someone who can overanalyze anything, I told her this might be a very disruptive day. Lastly, she asked me to set a one-word intention for my experience. As I looked out the window, I saw one golden leaf gently fall to the ground. “Surrender,” I said.
We prepped 15 canvases, some in white and others in black Gesso. I felt the anxiety start to build in my head. I was trying to solve the puzzle of how to create 15 pieces in the next couple of hours. As if sensing my dilemma, Betz abruptly told me to sit. In this moment, her certain voice of authority was a relief. The music began and Betz directed me to focus on my breathing, to be present and go with the melodies and rhythms. I began to surrender.
I am torn because I want to write and relay the richness of what unfolded in the next couple of hours, but I also want to honor that you may wish to have your own experience. Let’s chat if you decide to do it. In the meantime, consider this story a secret I can’t help but leak on some level.
Expect the unexpected and release control. At all times I felt safe, but the colors, tools and techniques felt edgy, risky. Before I could really lean into that uncertainty, Betz would move me on to the next canvas. Nothing felt complete, finished or perfected. It was chaotic to me, a mess in progress.
Betz works on many levels. She challenges you emotionally, but also takes care of you physically. She provides a nourishing lunch and invigorating afternoon tea break. After giving up control in the morning and with the aid of afternoon caffeine, I found the freedom to play. I forgot about trying to create something amazing and just had fun.
We wrapped up the day by placing the 15 paintings on display, rotating them on easels to capture the essences of the work. My inner child, which had been vulnerably on display was quickly being consumed by my inner critic. The culmination of the Betz Experience is “Wine with Wayne.” Betz’s husband Wayne is a self-made renaissance man with the innate gifts of both art and business sense. Betz poured us all generous glasses of a bold red. We walked and talked about each piece.
Wayne asked questions and described what he saw and felt. He then asked me, “Which of these pieces would you hang in your home?”
I thought back to how I had felt when Betz had first told me about the experience. I knew then that even if I didn’t create something great, I would at least find something fun, unexpected or profound in one of the paintings. “None of them,” I said. “I don’t like any of them.” My heart sank. I felt resigned. I couldn’t connect with anything in them. Betz also looked disappointed.
“These paintings represent you,” Wayne explained. “I think you need to sit with them. What are they trying to tell you?” Wayne was very gracious. He explained to me that there were 4 or 5 of my pieces that he would hang in the gallery for an upcoming show. He would price them and take the customary commission. He said this with confidence, the kind of authentic confidence that was not designed to appease me. I appreciated this.
Still, I left uneasy that night. I couldn’t pinpoint what was off. I had a very good day with Betz. The experience was amazing. I leaned into my growth edge and was challenged in good ways. I wasn’t upset and didn’t feel any judgement, shame or self-pity…so what was it? I remembered my intention, and I surrendered.
One week later, I was triggered by a colleague who was putting in long, exhausting hours on our project. I had been working for years on life balance, releasing my need for perfectionism in my work. Watching my colleague made me think, do I need to be doing more? As I sat with that swirling thought, it all came together for me in perfect clarity. The Betz experience exposed a core value that I had held sacred: Good things come from hard work and effort. I grew up in the Midwest and this was our rally cry for generations. Although there are great results from this belief, it does not mean that good things cannot also emerge with little time and effort. More time and effort do not always make it better.
Each of my creations from the Betz experience were not overthought or overworked. As I reviewed them from a new paradigm, I did find 1 or 2 that I would hang on my wall. I may not have found something fun, unexpected and profound in the paintings, but I did in the Betz Experience.
My name is Sandy and I have been an artist for 30 plus years. I have shown my art in many venues and galleries and have had art collectors buy my art over the years. I started out painting in watercolor and for the last 18 years have become proficient in oil and pastels. My art has been of a story telling nature, mostly Horses, People and Landscapes, and very detail oriented. I wanted to take the Betz Experience and see if I could loosen up on my painting style. Like I said, I have been meticulous about detail and now I have a desire to break loose from these tight constraints.
I had a wonderful experience! It was like playing as a kid, which helped me completely depart from my critical nature. Betz created an environment somewhat like moving and dancing inside a whirlwind. I was, at times, on a wild ride like a roller coaster, her unorthodox method kept my brain from attaching to some outcome.
When we took our lunch break, it was filled with wonderful food and extraordinary thoughts about all sorts of art experiences from my past. I dipped back into the feelings I had as a young person playing music in live bands. I felt like being a gambler on a high roll and the energy just kept coming!
We started the afternoon session with meditation and some high energy music that allowed the muse to kick back in. The paint and the energy were flowing, although, When I started having some angst creep in, Betz’s method took over and the old inner critic didn’t break through she left to go fix a snack. I was alone with my thoughts and I started trying to fix paintings. When she came back the tension left, and my mind opened. We finished off the day on a good note and I fell into a deep sleep that night.
I realized that for the first time the experience wasn’t about creating monumental pieces of art after painting for a big block of time. For me, this was a great experience of letting go of control, striving, and longing for… what? Perfection? There it was…. the ah ha, the take away! I have a great feeling of gratitude for this experience and for Betz! I can only imagine how the Betz Experience could be so beneficial to anyone, experienced artist, a beginner artist, non-artist, a person who could care less about art… it’s about listening to the inner being, maybe even the inner child or happy person, and letting go of the critic that strives to control every aspect of our lives.
Christina Subject: Our day together Date: December 13, 2020
Dearest Betz, A day like no other! I’m not sure which aspect I most treasure! My intuitive self being awakened in another dimension-experiencing art as its creator- joyous trust between teacher and seeker- validation- good food-deepening friendship there is more however further sharing will occur without electronics! I have spoken with a couple of friends one is [—-] she might be calling soon.
THANK YOU, Chris, It was so fulfilling, entertaining, immersing, introspective, you know, very fun.
We both stretched more than our 70’s bodies from the floor to get to an outer body experience. I still observe your work in amazement.
For a person that says she isn’t an artist, well, feel again.
Some of your works are still drying and I’ll call you when it’s time. If you want to take all of them home and bring them back when the time
comes, that’s ok. I have numbered the backs and still have the sheet with the titles.
I believe we had a success for both of us. I am forever expanding that world and will be magically traveling in the artist’s path with this
New Betz Experience. Thanks for being one of the first ten!!!