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Published Authors > Judi Betts

Judi Betts, AWS


“I am a PAINTER who teaches,
not a teacher who paints.” Judi Betts

Artists should doodle more and Google less!”     Judi Betts

Judi Betts nws, aws has attained an international reputation for her transparent watercolor paintings. Her paintings have won over 100 awards in major competitions i.e. The National Academy of Design, American Watercolor Society, National Watercolor Society and Watercolor USA. Paintings by Judi appear on national TV, wine labels (5 International Awards in label competition), CDs, DVDs and in over 35 books. Invitational exhibitions include State of the Art, Taiwan Art Education Institute, Federation of Canadian Artists, Walt Disney’s EPCOT Center, Allied Artists of America at the Butler Institute, Pogan Galleries (CA), “Masters of Watercolor”, and Selected Artists of the National Arts Club.  Judi’s paintings were selected to be exhibited in the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Invitational Exhibitions of Contemporary International Water-Media Masters, sponsored by the Jiangsu Watercolor Research Institute in Nanjing, China. Another of her paintings was selected for inclusion in the Inaugural Shanghi Zhujiajiao International Watercolor Biennial in Shanghai. Her work is included in the E Gene Crain Collection (Newport Beach, CA). Two of her paintings were selected for viewing when portions of the collection were displayed at the Oceanside (CA) Museum of Art. The Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association featured CATTLE CALL on the June 2012 cover of their internationally circulated publication. Judi’s painting, COALIE and JAKE, was selected by the Springfield Art Museum to receive their Purchase Award from WATERCOLOR USA’S 50th Anniversary Exhibition in 2011. Judi’s painting FRESH START was selected to be exhibited in the 2009-2010 Exchange Exhibition between the Japan Watercolor Federation and Watercolor USA Honor Society. The exhibit was displayed in Tokyo in the Japanese National Art Center in April 2010. Senator and Mrs. Long commissioned Judi to paint the RUSSELL B LONG Federal Building and Court House for their private collection. Her painting of the Louisiana Old State Capital hung in the Rotunda of the Governor’s Mansion during the Foster Administration. Judi’s paintings are also in the Permanent Collections of the States of Arkansas and Louisiana, the New Orleans Museum of Art and the Springfield (MO) Art Museum.

Judi has received the Louisiana Governor’s Award for Professional Artist, the state’s most prestigious award; the Transparent Watercolor Society of America awarded her their “Master of Watercolor” designation. Judi was selected for a special award for ”Contributions to the medium of Watercolor” by Watercolor USA Honor Society and in 2012 received their Lifetime Achievement Award, their highest honor.  Judi is the author of the award winning books WATERCOLOR...Let’s Think About It!  (5th printing) and PAINTING...a QUEST toward XTRAORD!NARY (5 awards) and is also a contributor to many prominent art magazines. The ARTIST’S MAGAZINE selected Judi to be a juror for their 2002 International Art Competition which drew over 15000 entries. She judged the Experimental Art Category. Over her career, she has been juror/judge for over 150 national/international and regional competitions. In 2009, she served on the Awards Jury for the American Watercolor Society’s 142nd International Competition. More than 425 workshops have been presented by Judi; and she has given invitational sessions for watercolor societies in Norway, Puerto Rico, Sweden and Canada.

Judi is a signature member of the American and National Watercolor Societies. She also holds memberships in both the National and Salmagundi Art Clubs in New York City; and is listed in WHO’S WHO IN AMERICAN ART. Her paintings are included in corporate, university, museum and private collections.


Painting...a Quest toward Xtraordinary

The challenge of a serious painting adventure lies in discovering your creative competence and improving technical ability.  In painting there are many different ways of seeing and doing.  This book explores two approaches to painting creatively!  Paintings that more than meet the eye.  Paintings that --  excite your imagination, enrich your view, stimulate emotion and are painted from the heart.

Watercolor...Let's Think About It!

This award-winning book is a truly different book about painting - unique, provocative, and entertaining.  This book is about painting, but it is also about looking, a way of looking at our world.  It's also a book about thinking, thinking about painting.

Judi also produces Color-Sketch books for her workshops.  (Please see the Other Work and Products Tab.)
Click here to view a list of Judi's 2014 workshops!

How We Met

Around 2000, I saw a Judi Betts watercolor displayed in Taylor Clark Gallery in Baton Rouge.  I was looking for a judge for the Plaquemine Bank Art Alert Art Show and was given her contact information by the gallery.  She agreed to serve as a judge, and has since served in that role many times. 

I had the pleasure of working with her at the International Planetarium Society post-conference workshop held at Nottoway Plantation.  Judi provided a mini-workshop that served as a sampling of what she can do for the conference attendees at future conferences.  During this event, we developed a Best Practices document to present to IPS Council, based on the success of IPS 2012 held in Baton Rouge under the leadership of Jon Elvert.

In these two images, Judi draws what she sees out of the window at Nottoway Plantation. 
(Ian McLennan is taking a photo of the same in the background.)  Both photographs courtesy of David Kors.

I have worked with Judi to prepare a few interview articles requested by publishers of The Artists Magazine and Watercolor Artist, as well as for a showing at the Baton Rouge Gallery.  In so doing, we not only enhanced our professional relationship, but also our friendship.

Judi Betts, an Xtraordinary painter and person has a trademark line, “Artists should doodle more and Google less!” which is virtually the same message Natalie Goldberg shares with writers in her book The True Secret of Writing.  Goldberg instructs writers, to write by hand and feel the flow of handwriting with your entire body and being.  (I finished Goldberg's book and wrote this on Valentine’s Day during the Sochi Olympics, so emotion and practice are abundant in the air.)  I recently shared Natalie Goldberg's book In Living Color with Judi and she could not help but smile and recognized Goldberg's  affection for Matisse.

Buy the Books!

Buy the Books!

All books and items may be purchased from Aquarelle.  Contact Judi Betts at judibetts@att.net.
("Some books are available online, but they are either used or overpriced," Judi explained.)

Visit her website at www.judibettsaws.com.

2015 Workshop Schedule

Artist's Statement


My paintings are meant to illuminate life and stimulate discussion and thought about subjects and scenes found everyday. I try to give life to my subjects and entertain the viewer. I’m a happy person attuned to harmony. I want my viewers gladdened and awakened - awakened to see something old or new in a different way. I want to entertain my audience as I’m entertained by life … I like to laugh, love and share.

I was trained to see in black and white. It forces you to see negative shapes; to think about contrast. Contrast creates excitement and tension. I utilize flat area shapes to weave positive and negative shapes together. These are not “thing” shapes - such as a tree, they are usually patterns of light against a mid-tone or darker value. In my paintings they’ve become known as ‘magical shapes’. My shapes are edited and redesigned. I exaggerate what I see or leave out of my composition. I use shapes as visual arrows to help direct a viewer’s eye, to add visual vibration to the painting’s surface, or combine several small shapes to make a more interesting pattern. Often, I use these shapes to create intrigue, orchestrate color, and create rhythm. Just as rhythm in music structures a piece, I use patterning to create vibration, direction, balance and mood.

Simple shapes are also important to me. The simplest shapes can often be the most striking so I try to display my subjects in that manner. I make every effort to simplify that which is complicated. I eliminate unnecessary shapes and combine small pieces into one larger shape. All of the elements combined create a feeling - an atmosphere - I call “creative realism”.

Painting, for me, is the result of emotions which have evolved from personal experiences. I savor cheerfulness; and I try to be an optimistic, enthusiastic person. Emotion does not have to be happiness, but happiness is what I choose to display. I enjoy taking ordinary, everyday scenes and developing them into dramatic, simplified presentations by utilizing light, abstract configurations, and invented color. I am pleased that my work has been described as watercolors that ‘sparkle’!

Other Works and Products

From her recent cruise, Judi prepared a booklet.

Enjoy this sneak peak into some of the booklet pages -- click here to download the mini-PDF.








July 2014 - Alaska Workshop (See news page for more information.)


Judi Betts and Aquarelle offer several products including her Color-Sketch book and a popular double-ended Shape-Maker brush.  All items may be purchased from Aquarelle, contact Judi Betts @judibetts@att.net.  Visit www.judibettsaws.com.