Staff Pick Series

Birds of Texas by Betsy Denny

On Display October 11 - November 4 in The Arts Council Lobby

Meet the Artist: Betsy Denny

Betsy is an abstract artist who paints with her own significant modern style. She is an Austin, Texas based artist who enjoys the fluidity of painting with acrylic ink. Her brushstrokes convey beauty and energy. These bold elements are combined with her soft curvilinear shapes to create the complexity and depth seen in each piece. Betsy's love of abstract shapes helps her to explore various forms of subject matter and different ways of expressing her viewpoint and appreciation of natural states of being, and how this impacts us. She begins her process by thinking about several ideas. There is an evolution of painted or sketched mock-ups over several weeks to break them down into simplified concepts and to decide which ones can work together to create a whole. Once Betsy begins her piece, the process unfolds in a very organic and effortless way. Betsy holds a Bachelor of Art in Fashion and Costume Design and returned to school later to complete a Master of Science in Nursing. After working for some years as a Registered Nurse and mother of young children, she began to prioritize her well-being by nourishing her creativity. She has found that painting provides a sense of balance and direction for endless opportunities for self-connection, increased confidence, and growth within a community that strongly values the creative process. She continues to work as a Nurse Educator while developing her professional artistry to feel a sense of freedom and have more fun in both professions. Her work has recently been shown at the Fine Art Exhibit at Inspired Minds Gallery in Buda, Texas and the Summer Strut Exhibit that was recently featured in Tribeza magazine at Link & Pin in Austin, Texas. She is currently working on a new black and white series while preparing for the West Austin Studio Tour where she will be showing her work at The Commune in Austin during the first two weekends of November.


Artist Statement: "I love to create a variety of organic abstract shapes to portray different types of subject matter. I use smooth and slow brushstrokes to help control the acrylic ink and feel of the fluidity of my curvilinear shapes. My authentic modern take on soft lines adds to each concept and accentuates the overall composition. The juxtaposition of the shapes next to one another may look over simplified but together they speak to the complexity of what I was able to convey in each piece. In my Birds of Texas series, I focus on the natural beauty of each bird, and the characteristics that make them so identifiable. I capture their energy and slightly exaggerate their posture or movements. The shapes that I have painted are arranged in a way to experience the movement of each bird in flight or at rest. The colors are bold and somewhat layered to add a perception of depth to the feathers and appearance of them as the light may change. It was important for me to focus on a series that I could share my appreciation for some of the native wildlife of Texas with other admirers of this state."


Previous Featured Artists


Meet the Artist: Thomas Flynn II

Thomas Flynn II is a multimedia artist working primarily with acrylic and traditional inks focusing on color relationships, the physical nature of dreams, and the sacredness within nature. His work has been included in the SCAD permanent collection, on the cover of the inaugural issue of New Visionary Magazine, featured as a directory artist on Visionary Arts Collective, featured artist on Musik Curatorial, and on other publications. He has exhibited in Texas, Georgia, and curated into virtual group and solo exhibitions internationally. Flynn received a B.F.A. in painting and a minor in art history from the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) in 2016. Flynn is currently living and working in Austin, TX.


Artist Statement: "My work occupies a place between landscape and figurative painting. I’m painting the layers of entanglement between the mind’s eye and the landscape that the body finds itself in. In this landscape, memories and future apprehensions cross through the threshold of vision infusing the present with their intense and often overwhelming sights. I think that the acknowledgment of this tenuous mixture is a mystical and spiritual experience. The act of actively recognizing my mind’s attempts at rectifying the past, present, and future is the subject of my current work. Formally, my work is built on color relationships and often utilizes botanical imagery to cement a specific place and time. The many layers are built up intuitively but usually start from a collage of images from nature or my daily life. In paint application, I shift between representation and color-blocked fields, referencing a disjointed narrative- something like a half-remembered dream. I am also drawn to bright contrasting colors that are influenced by ocular color theory, or how the eyes physically perceive color when information is lacking or delayed. Think of when you stand up too fast, or rub your eyes for too long - it is those star colors locked in the eyes that find their way into my work. It is my hope that my paintings can be seen as a representation of an inner journey, giving shape and form to the formless land of thought – ultimately searching for a space of shared connection through the examination of the environment and the things that inhabit that space."


Meet the Artist: Charles Wallis

Charles is a classically trained master painter with a degree in art from Baylor. His study began with drawing, followed by painting traditional representation. He then moved to impressionism, abstraction and non-objective paintings. He is accomplished and versatile in style and subject matter. In 2021 the Texas House Of Representatives acknowledged his success in his art and his contribution to the arts in Texas with the passing of the bill HR000743. His art is an expression of his spirit to the spirits of others that connect with it. He seeks to create a memory, a wish, a fantasy or moment of joy or peacein the soul of the viewer. He pursues idea, color combinations or images that attract his attention and he may paint them realistically, or as an impression or abstraction. This exhibition of his work includes oils, acrylic and watercolor pieces as well as traditional realism, impressionism, abstraction and non-objective art.


"All Together Alone" by Alexandra Green

Alexandra Green is an emerging artist from College Station, TX (b. 1999). She graduated with a B.A. in Visual and Dramatic Arts, Studio Art, from Rice University in May 2021. Upon graduation, she was awarded Distinction in Research and Creative Works for her March 2021 solo exhibition, Being Green, and is also the 2021 recipient of the Raymond John Swift Medal in Art. Due to her unique upbringing, she has cultivated an interest in popular culture, family stories, literature, and finding how she fits in with the rest of the world. Upon returning home, she joined a local professional artist’s association, Bryan Contemporary Artists, or BCA, and has been showing her work on a regular basis. Having participated in almost one dozen exhibitions since her college graduation, she feels incredibly privileged to have the opportunity to show her work in her hometown. She currently has her work on display at The Frame Gallery in Downtown Bryan and The Studio Experience in Galveston, TX.


"Surreal Southwest" by Grace Wesson

Grace Wesson is a self taught artist currently living in Bryan, Texas. She originally moved here from San Diego, California to study biology and biomedical science at Texas A&M University, and worked with cattle and pigs. She has been painting with oils, primarily in the alla prima style, since 2021. More information can be found at