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A Pop of Colour: An interview with artist Betsey Iannarelli

Updated: Apr 2

An interview with painter and embroidery artist Betsey Iannarelli, who creates beautifully colourful paintings with an embroidery twist.


Today I have five minutes with Betsey Iannarelli, a creator of original, restorative embroidered paintings, full of boldness and whimsy.

She first drew my eye on Instagram, where her use of colour, balance, and of course, nature-based design, jumped out from the crowd.

EDIT: Unfortunately since this post was created, Betsey has shut down her shop :(, but perhaps some of her responses can inspire others reading this post!

Floral painting and embroidery works in progress by Betsey Ian of Betsey Ian Studio
Colourful Works in Progress by Betsey. Photo credit @betseyianstudio

1. How did you get into art?

I have always loved art since I was a child. I got more into watercolors when I was in college and post-grad, but didn’t really start spending more time painting until my daughter was born in 2018.

I found myself with more time on my hands after I switched jobs and was working part-time from home. I started using acrylics in the fall of 2018 and began adding embroidery to my work in January 2020.

A photo or floral and embroidery artist Betsey Ian
A Picture of Artist Betsey Iannarelli. Photo Credit @betseyianstudio

2. How did you find your distinctive style?

Daily painting! Exploring so many different subjects, color palettes, mediums until I found something that just seemed to click with me. The more I created, the more I found myself settling into a style that became both familiar and challenging to me!

3. What is your favourite thing about being an artist?

So many things… but the process of creating is the biggest thing. It’s just such a breath of fresh air in my life. One of my favorite quotes is “art washes away from the soul, the dust of everyday life.” from Picasso. That really resonates with me- because I feel like the process of creating is something separate from the day-to-day grind and it brings so much joy to my life!

A beautiful landscape of paint and embroidery
Beautiful Landscape Art by Betsey Iannarelli. Photo Credit @betseyianstudio

4. What message do you hope people get from your work?

I hope it encourages people to find that thing that “fits” them - I believe everyone has the ability to be creative, they just need to find the medium (or combination of mediums!) that suits them and brings them joy.

I also hope my work encourages people to embrace the whimsy in their lives - the things that aren’t quite following the status quo, that are a bit different set apart from the norm.

Colourful still life and florals mixed media embroidery and paint by Betsey Ian
Colourful, Whimsical florals by Betsey. Photo credit @betseyianstudio

5. I noticed recently that you were talking about Podcasts, and how sometimes they can introduce self doubt – something a lot of artists experience. How do you overcome self doubt?

Yes, I have definitely struggled with this at times. It’s hard to hear a very established artist telling you there is a “good” or “right” way of approaching art or your creative business and there are things you shouldn’t do.

One thing that has helped me is to limit the amount of podcasts I am listening to now. I don’t listen to many anymore, and especially not while I am creating. Someone commented on a post on my instagram recently, “learning to trust myself is the most challenging part of being an artist” and that is so true.

I am learning to turn off other voices and do what I think is best for my process and business even if it goes against the grain. The more I am able to do that the more confident I am becoming.

6. If you could give people just starting out on their artistic journey a piece of advice, what would you say?

Try to limit looking at other people's work while you are creating. It is fine to look at others while you are trying to learn techniques - but if you do too much of that it will stifle your own unique artistic voice. It becomes harder to separate their work from your work and it will take you longer to find your own style!

Betsey Ian's floral pastel art explorations
Some of Betsey's latest pastel exploration. Photo credit @betseyianstudio

Thank you so much for joining us on the blog today Betsey, it was a total pleasure to have you.

If you liked reading this interview, check out my interview with mapmaker and illustrator Helen Cann, or my previous interview with illustrator Georgia Camden.

As always, thanks for reading!


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