Betsey MacDonald lives in Clayville, Rhode Island with her husband, 4 horses, 4 dogs and 3 cats. Betsey has a BFA in art and an MA in studio art. She also completed a pre-med program and taught chemistry and anatomy for 25 years. Betsey currently teaches art at Cumberland High School in RI where she is constantly inspired by her students and their enthusiasm and creativity.
Through her interest and understanding of science, she is a keen observer of nature and animals. Her real passion is for horses. Leonardo DaVinci is her inspiration. She strives for his accuracy of anatomy but applies her own energy and bold color approach to her work. Artists whose work Betsey constantly studies are Lucien Freud, John Singer Sargeant and Jenny Saville. She admires their brushwork, color and spontaneity and is very motivated by their work.
Betsey has designed posters for the United Nations, state of Massachusetts, town of Westport and The Ocean State Marathon. She has illustrated three children’s books, one of which she also wrote. She has had more than 25 solo exhibitions. Her paintings hang in more than 400 private homes across the country.
Her most recent art show was an exhibition at AS220 in Providence, RI. This show was entitled “Mute Creatures” and focused on animal slaughter and abuse. Paintings from this show are currently on loan to be used in a new movie by Karen Iacabbo.
Betsey has had horses for 40 years. She has competed in disciplines ranging from saddle seat, jumping, western, polo, hunter paces and dressage. She does all her own horse training and has won several Massachusetts and New England championships. She no longer shows very much but trail rides all over New England and just has a blast with her Morgan horses.
Betsey uses watercolor, oil, pencil and currently is experimenting with collage. Her watercolors are fluid and bold with dramatic light effects. Her oils, on canvas or board, employ clean, strong tones and portray the life and energy of her subjects. For her portraits, Betsey uses the classical technique of a monochromatic under painting then adds color and glazes. Betsey enjoys painting scenes of boats, farms, the ocean and anything white enhanced by shadows and light. However, her special skills and understanding are most evident in her animal work.