Tuesday, August 12, 2008
It seems appropriate to continue a Scandinavian theme, which leads me to Bettye Olson, Swedish-German by heritage, Norwegian by marriage, and very much a Minnesotan.
Bettye and Howard Olson have been friends with my husband for decades, and I was fortunate to inherit them when we married. No truer friends exist anywhere. Howard was best man at our wedding. They were steadfast in support of us during Larry's long and difficult hospitalization at Mayo Clinic, and made the journey down from St. Paul to Rochester on numerous occasions to be present personally.
I am fortunate to know Bettye, one of Minnesota's, and indeed the United States', premier watercolorists.
Bettye Olson is a Minnesota treasure. Her vision is singular and translates with seeming effortlessness to canvas. Part Emily Carr, part Georgia O'Keefe, Bettye sees the world, whether it's running water, a meadow, mountains, flowers, or rocks, and puts her own inimitable flourish of color on it for our enjoyment. In her career spanning over six decades, she has travelled the world, from Santa Fe to Sitka, Norway to New Mexico, bringing that vision to others.
I am blessed to have a number of Bettye Olson's paintings on the walls of my homes, some of which were already there when I married my husband, and others I've acquired since. But Bettye's paintings grace far greater venues, including major corporations in Minnesota and throughout the Midwest, and a number of universities.
Bettye has had numerous shows and exhibitions worldwide and been active as both an artist and an educator, including as Director of the College of the Third Age at Augsburg, a position she held recently for several years. In late 2006 St. Catherine's College hung her show, "Persistence of Vision: Bettye Olson's Work in Retrospect."