Meet The Maker: Susie Bettenhausen

Meet Susie! She’s the artist behind Serena, Harper and Julia from our Well + Wonder collection. We fell in love with Susie’s organic, painterly lines and knew from the start that she was the perfect fit for us. Susie is constantly inspired by the beach and water, which can clearly be seen in her work. Being that she is both coastal and southern, Susie says “the culture and soul in the south feed the imagination like nowhere else.  Geography, water, and wide open spaces make their way into my work time and time again.” Follow along to learn more about the Florida-based artist!

First off, tell us a little about yourself!

I’m a full-time professional artist and owner of The Studio Gallery in Grayton Beach, FL.  I’ve been painting for over 25 years.  Having been raised in Louisiana and Alabama, I’m a southern girl through and through.  I ventured out west to Waco, Texas for college at Baylor and now live in Florida between the 30A area and Palm Beach County.  I have 2 wonderful teenage boys, an enormously supportive husband and a yellow lab named Islamorada Blue. 

What are some of the major sources of inspiration for your artwork?

Inspiration! I love talking about it and I love to inspire others!  As a professional artist, the reality is we can’t live inspired every moment of every day.  The in between moments are just as important as the inspired ones. Those are the times we just have to go to work, keep creating and continue pushing our talents to see where they can take us.  That being said, there are things that absolutely set my soul a dancin’ and make me want to sketch, doodle, paint, write or whatever else I can come up with at the time.  Geography moves me.  Warm, coastal, humid, tropical places with wide open horizons send me into a creative tailspin.  The sound of palm trees swooshing in the breeze is all I need to create my best work!

How would you describe your artistic style?

I’d say my artistic style is calming and generally on the loose and somewhat minimal side.  Even when a composition has a lot going on, I try to portray a calm in the chaos through the use of color or lack thereof. I try to achieve this by using a good deal of pastel colors in my work.  The pale tints and low saturation are soft and soothing while a touch of intense vibrance creates the contrast and interest in a work.  

We loved working together on the Well & Wonder collection! Tell us a little about the design process for each print.

I loved working on the Well and Wonder collection as well! The pattern ideas are drawn from things I notice along the coast.  The striped Julia pattern was inspired by rippled sand under the edge of the clear Gulf water and the tiniest of bird prints wandering beside the sea.  The florals of the Serena and Harper prints are simplifications of the flowers that pop up beside the coast.  

What’s your favorite pattern from the collection and why?

My favorite is hard to pick!  It’s a toss up between the Serena Sea Salt and the Serena Pink.  I’ve been drawn to sweet simple florals lately so they both fit the bill.  The Sea Salt calls to me with its blue green coastal colors but I am forever a fan of pinks so I love the way the Serena Pink pops off that white background.  

What advice do you have for picking art for your home?

When it comes to choosing art for your home, I’ll repeat the advice of many and say, buy what you love.  Buy what triggers something inside you when you look at it.  Buy what takes your breath away.  Buy what you find interesting.  Don’t worry about whether it matches the sofa!  The best collections are just that…collections of different interesting pieces…pieces that are acquired over time and come together as a curated delight.