Meet the Artist: Tami Bethel

the artist studio | sept. 2017

The artist poses with her work in her garden.In what medium do you work?

Watercolor is my primary medium. I love the transparency and yet boldness that can be achieved with paint and water!

I enjoy photography as it gives me endless subjects to compose paintings.

I used to design and make clothes for myself, family and then customers. I also designed our gardens with thought to what time of year the plants would bloom and the color and shape of their leaves and flowers [would take] in relation to the plants near them. I like bold and exciting colors.

From where do you draw inspiration?

My inspirations are grandchildren, our daughters, my husband, people, flowers/nature, wild animals and old architecture in Europe. One important thing I have learned over the years is to paint what I am really passionate about.

On a week-long bicycle trip along the Dordogne River in France, I was inspired by the medieval towns. We have visited Paris a couple of times and I was enchanted with the outdoor cafes, Parisian people, the paintings on buildings and statues everywhere. In the Louvre I studied the masters, awed by their brilliance and talent. At Versailles I fell in love with the acres of formal gardens. Painting has taught me to really “see" the world in all its infinite beauty.

After a side trip to Monet's home and gardens at Giverney, France, I could see why he got his inspiration to paint each morning from the light on his magnificent gardens. Nature always amazes me and brings me joy. Now when I take photographs, I always look for dramatic light on the subject.

When were you first interested in art and at what time did you know it would be a part of your life?

Art has always been a part of my life. Eighteen years ago I took a watercolor painting course at NWTC. After taking classes on painting portraits from Jann Schonke, I realized that I loved painting people. It is exciting to me, as I near the end of a portrait, to see the personality of the subject come alive.

I am constantly trying new ways to express myself in painting, garden design, photography and cooking.

How much of a role has living in Northeastern Wisconsin played in your work?

After my first class through NWTC, I joined the Northeast Wisconsin Watercolor Society. At our monthly meetings, I meet talented watercolor artists. I have grown in my art from watching the demonstration given at each meeting by a different artist. Through this group, I have taken many different workshops.

I feel honored to belong to the Green Bay Art Colony. We are a diverse group of women artists who express ourselves in many different mediums. We inspire and grow together in our art and friendships and share these gifts with the community in exhibits at the ARTgarage, Neville Museum and other venues. In spring of this year, in partnership with NWTC's Artisan Center, we put on art workshops for the community. We also hosted a High Tea at Heritage Hill to raise money for art scholarships.

Sandy Melroy gave me a delightful opportunity to help with an Art Camp for Syble Hopp School at the Artisan Center. It was a day of art and fellowship. There was a big smile on my face when I drove home.

The Allouez Community Center is a gathering place on Wednesday morning for 20 watercolor artists. We enjoy painting, critiquing each other's work and friendship.

Where can others go to see your current work?

Northeast Wisconsin Watercolor Society has an exhibit “Splash" at the ARTgarage from October 6 - 27.

The Art Colony exhibits February 9 - April 1 2018, at the Neville Museum, and in May at the ARTgarge.

I am also on the following websites: Green Bay Art Colony: and Northeast Watercolor Society:

Do you have a favorite quote or words of advice you'd like to share with others?

I once heard someone ask an artist when purchasing their painting, “How many hours did it take you to paint it?" The artist replied, “a lifetime."

I have two favorite quotes: “My garden is my most beautiful Masterpiece" by Claude Monet and “Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life" by Pablo Picasso.

The Green Bay Art Colony, founded in 1915, is the oldest art group in Green Bay. The Green Bay Art Colony is a woman's organization that promotes the arts in the community through exhibitions and scholarships.

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