Scotia, , NY
Betty Pieper received her first set of oils at the age of ten and has been painting ever since. Her work has been selected by prominent jurors for prestigious regional and national exhibitions and is owned by people throughout the country. Before the age of five, Betty had lived on Dean Street in Brooklyn, on Forsythe Street in Manhattan, on an estate in Westchester county, and with her grandparents in rural New York. She watched her father build their house nearby only to sell it and announce a move to California. In San Bernardino she lived in a trailer park and later in a rural farmhouse without running water, then in an historic mansion with an Indian cellar. How did this itinerant childhood influence her art?
"I learned to expect the unexpected...going to sleep in a car in the darkness of the mountains and waking up to endless desert. Or, seeing the glitter and glow of Las Vegas from the rear window at night and then waking to a sunrise ahead lighting a boulevard of palm trees in California. I had never seen a palm tree before! And how many children can draw and color all day at school? I was allowed to do so because the teacher and the migrant kids spoke only Spanish and I had not a clue. In Canajoharie, I went to the library every day after school. Who knew that the paintings I scrutinized every time I looked up from my homework were original Winslow Homers and other world class art from the Arkell collection?
Later, in Schenectady, my passion for painting ignited from watching the late Salvatore Cascio paint. His way of seeing, his facile rendering of water colors, his innovation astounded me. That he thought I could be another Georgia O'Keefe (I didn't know the name!) didn't hurt either. Yet, I found this well known, talented mentor because he was art director for General Electric Company in Schenectady - yet another move. The past is parent to the present in creative work."
Realizing that my art is intensely personal and autobiographical, I created a series of small works titled, "It's My Life". My search for roots and stability is further expressed in "Six Generations of Women" - life size painted figures from my great grandmother through my granddaughter. For many years now I have lived in the town where my father built our first house and just over the ridge from where my great grandparents settled over a century ago."