Love for nature inspires artist Betsy Olmsted

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As a child, Betsy Olmsted considered becoming a naturalist. Instead, she channeled her love for nature and her creative impulses into a career as an artist, textile designer and small business owner. She creates original works of art on paper using the traditional techniques of watercolour, gouache and ink. Then, his whimsical representations of flora and fauna are printed on fabrics and wallpapers, as well as household and decorative items (dishtowels, table linens, pillows, quilts), and clothing and accessories.

Beth Moeller helps artists manage their artist business

In addition to her boutique at Saratoga Marketplace on Broadway in Saratoga Springs, products featuring her designs can be found in over 100 boutiques across the United States as well as through collaborations with retailers such as Garnet Hill (bedding and pajamas for children), Trader Joe’s (greeting cards) and Windham Fabrics, to name a few.

Q: What inspired you to get involved in art?

A: I just knew that I was an artist. When I was in high school, I loved to draw and create things.

Deciding to be an artist is different, it’s not really that. It’s more like you’re just an artist. I guess that’s how I always imagined it.

Q: How has art shaped your career?

A: I have a foundation from Skidmore College, in fine art and the more conceptual type of art and sculpture that I was doing with my work there. Then I was able to use the skills I had and (turn them) into a career as a designer.

Q: What challenges have you encountered integrating art into your work?

A: When you own a design-based business, you do everything, not just illustration or design. So I spend most of my time doing development, reading purchase orders, invoicing, and fulfilling and shipping orders. It can be a mental challenge because you want to have fun (stuff), but often you are doing what you need for a successful business.

Q: What advice would you give to up-and-coming artists launching their careers?

A: Take what you do best and be the best at that skill or that thing because you have to be able to stand out from everyone else. You have to figure out how to focus on this thing. Push yourself in that direction.

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