Betsy Cook

About the Artist

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For 30 years my artist’s palette was my business—a creatively conceived and inspired 125-room Maine hotel with a popular restaurant and award-winning spa. Prior to selling the business, my painter-artist self often felt relegated to weekend warrior status. But since then, today, I work as a full-time artist making my art and home in Hallowell, Maine– where I moved after college–and Chapel Hill, North Carolina–just down the road from where I grew up. For the record I am a mother of two and an artist of many passions. In addition to cooking, as my name implies, other loves include: color, texture, encaustic mixed media, fibers, collage, calligraphy, chocolate making, oil painting, knitting, crocheting plastic bags, baking, sewing, embroidery, mosaicmaking, designing inspired interiors, flower essences, kabala, yoga, cross country skiing, shih tzus, tandem cycling and my 8th grade sweetheart and business partner whom I married 38 years ago. The what-to-paint dilemma can be the procrastinator’s best enabler, and for me it certainly was that way. That is, until I began using Jungian analysis to work with my dreams. Then it occurred to me that since intuition is a form of lucid dreaming, I could “listen” for the painting and allow it to dictate its form. I love this way of working because it demotes my brain and requires that it work in service of my intuition. There’s a spontaneity that comes from working this way, and it is regenerative, not draining. Most encaustic artists like to tell you that the technique of painting with melted wax is an ancient one, but history isn’t the big attraction for me; it’s the wax’s irresistible texture and hypnotic charm, as any kid who’s ever played with melting candles will tell you. Sometimes, I’ll start right out painting melted beeswax medium on a cradled board; other times, I save the wax to add interest and texture to an oil painting or collage. The melted wax colors can be blended and mixed like oil paints, layered, carved into or pooled for an infinity of imaginative effects which are often fun and whimsical, always divinely inspired.

AWARDS AND RECOGNITION –National Juried Encaustic Show, “Big Bad Wax”, Mount Dora, FL, January 2014 –1st Place Blue Ribbon, Maine Open Juried Art Show, 1999 –B/W Hotel International Design Award for design work for my hotel’s Spa Expansion & Renovation, 2004 –Named to Maine Innkeepers Association Hall of Fame, Fall, 2006 –Honored by Maine State Legislature, May 2007, with a Recognition of Achievement Ceremony for my 30-year hotel/restaurant career in Maine hospitality

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