We are very lucky to have the very talented Susie Bettenhausen on Well + Wonder. She is originally from Alabama and currently resides in both Palm Beach County or in her studio located in the 30A area of Florida. She uses acrylic, watercolor, pastel, and charcoal and her color combinations and brush strokes create beautiful, fresh, and unique pieces that are truly timeless. We sat down to get to know this sweet southern artist a bit better and learn more about this lady beyond her painting. And this is what she had to say…
What is currently on your nightstand?
A sweet note from my kids, a tiny marble bowl that I use as a catch-all for my earrings I forgot to take off, the Baylor Magazine and Tim Tebow’s book, Shaken.
Tell us about your childhood. What is the most memorable moment as a young person?
My childhood was full of imagination and creative entrepreneurial endeavors. I spearheaded everything from the neighborhood Unicorn Club to the annual Cabbage Patch Festival. If there was a lemonade stand, I was behind it. A yearly front yard Halloween Fright Fest…that was me. I was that kid. My sweet parents would always cart me around town gathering the needed supplies to fulfill my vision. My most memorable moments were always in the summer. Nearly every summer from middle school on was spent adventuring down to various islands in the Caribbean. These expeditions around the tropics not only sealed my love for all things coastal but it also cemented my affection for creative adventure.
If you could only have one supply in your art studio, what would it be and why?
Crud paper. That’s not the official name of it but it’s what we called it at the architecture firm I worked for in Ft. Worth. It’s nothing more than sketch paper rolls but that crinkly sound gets me in the creative mood every time! My studio is filled with it.
What is your favorite room in your house? Describe it.
The back porch. Because we live in Florida, we spend as much time outdoors as we do inside. We truly live out there. Sitting on the couch by the fire pit while looking out at a sea of palm trees is far better than being inside.
What is your biggest score online?
Cars! I have developed a hobby of buying and selling gas-guzzling, impractical, sometimes vintage SUVs. Lately these purchases have all been online. I bought a G Wagon from Houston that I never saw and ended up loving it. Favorite car I’ve ever owned, hands down. My best online score was probably a 1991 Range Rover County Great Divide Edition that I bought sight unseen. It was shipped from New York and I crossed my fingers as to what would actually show up. I was pleasantly surprised as it was far better than I ever imagined!
What is the benefit of buying art through a collective? What do you recommend for those that are new to buying original art?
Buying through a collective is a wonderful way to purchase, especially for those starting out when it comes to investing in art. When a client connects with a collective it exposes them to an entire network of artists with varying styles yet some sort of common thread. In today’s fast paced world it also simplifies things and saves time. A designer can reach out to W+W and have a highly curated array at their fingertips.
If you have the entire day to spend in an art museum, which one and why?
The Amon Carter and the Modern, both in Ft. Worth, TX. They’re right next door to each other so whenever I’m in town I try to visit both. The Amon Carter has a considerable collection of Remington and Russell that I can’t get enough of. Next door at the Modern, I stroll around in awe of the architecture and hope they have a giant Motherwell on display. I could stand in front of one of his Elegy pieces for hours.
What is your favorite hotel and what makes it special?
That’s a tie. First, the Kulm in St. Moritz, Switzerland. My husband and I spent some time there while living in the UK and we both loved it. He had to drag me out kicking and screaming. Second would be Cibolo Creek Ranch in Shafter, TX. It doesn’t feel like a hotel at all but rather a private ranch which is what it essentially is. Hidden along the Mexican border in west Texas, it’s a little piece of secluded heaven. With only a handful of guests at a time, it’s one of the few remaining escapes I’ve encountered.
I can never get on a plane without….
A sketch pad and pens.
What do you do to relax?
I grab a beach chair and head to the ocean. I’ve always sought out water. In college, I raced sailboats so I would head to the lake, hop in a boat and unwind for a few hours.
When do you get the biggest surge of inspiration?
Either early in the morning or late afternoon.
What is your idea of a date night? Dinner and a movie or dancing all night?
I am all about the dress up and have dinner nights. I’d have been at home in Edwardian England. I’d skip the movie since I prefer face to face conversation. The more courses in a meal, the better. A 3 hour meal like we experienced when we lived in Europe are fine by me. When we’re in the Palm Beach area, we love to go to the Breakers. We catch a sunset on the beach and have an early dinner at one of the fabulous restaurants on the island. Home by 10:00 is a late night these days! When we’re in the 30A area, date nights seem to be a little more low-key. We grab our chairs and a picnic and head to Grayton beach for the evening. Sunset on the gulf coast is pretty wonderful!
Tell us about your favorite painting that you have created.
One of my most recent favorites is a lavender and periwinkle piece that hangs on the water in Inlet Beach, FL.
One piece of advice for buying original art?
Buy what you love.
share this post