The Journey of Betty Buckner
As a child art was as much a part of my everyday life as was eating and playing. I was drawing pictures before I could read or write. I first became aware that I had some ability when I was in the third grade in a two room schoolhouse. Our assignment was to draw a historical character or event and my portrait was picked by the teacher to show to the “big” room, 5th through 8th grades.
Because there were no art programs in the elementary schools of that day, my first art class was at Washington State College in Pullman, Washington. When I excelled in all of my beginning art classes I decided to major in Fine Arts. Not very practical, but I loved it and graduated with high honors.
The fairy tale ended when I tramped the streets of Seattle with my portfolio under my arm trying to find art employment. Finally, I was hired by an engraving company to do layouts and hand lettering. This was before any print sheets of lettering could be pasted and used. It was excellent experience.
I studied in New York City at the Traphagen School of Design and also worked designing packaging for Speed Products Company. But I didn’t stay in New York long. My future husband had given me an engagement ring before I left Seattle so after a few months I returned to Washington.
When we were first married I worked for a sign company designing neon signs. I stayed at home raising our three talented and lovely daughters and during that time I kept my easel standing prominently in our living area so I could paint if I had the time. After my children were all in school, I attended San Francisco State University and studied under Alexander Nepote. Non objective painting was being taught at this time which gave me a knowledge of color, shapes and values without adhering to physical subjects.
We relocated to Malibu and I joined Women Painters West and became president for two years. I participated in many exhibits, winning numerous awards. At this time I also studied with George DeGroat at Otis Art Institute painting still lifes and figure studies. I became active at the Los Angeles Art Association and had a solo exhibit in their gallery. I had a one person exhibit at Brand Library in Glendale and solo shows in Santa Monica and the Pacific Palisades. I judged art exhibits for many Associations and taught oil and acrylic painting for the Santa Monica City College. I also taught painting to adults in Malibu.
In 1993 the wild fires swept through Malibu and my husband and I lost our home that we had designed and built. With the exception of a few items and four paintings, everything was gone. Our daughter Cory and her husband Nick lost their home in the fire as well. Her very strong work was lost too.
After the fire, we moved to Camarillo and began a new life with new friends and new art associations. Buenaventura Art Association has been an important part of my life as an artist. Studio Channel Islands Art is an outstanding facility and gave me the privilege to have a successful one man exhibit.