One day Betty Nash was in need of a large painting for her new home. After looking at different paintings in magazines, she realized that she could make the piece herself. A friend working at Denison Cotton Mill got her a large piece of canvas and her husband built a stretcher frame. Soon, Nash’s 50 inch by 50 inch painting was on her wall.

Now if you are visiting art galleries in downtown Denison and you see a piece with a peppermint hiding in it, it is most likely the work of Nash.

“I have loved art and been artistic all of my life, finding different ways to express it,” she said in an email. “I have always loved to draw.”

Nash said she enjoyed that one experience so much that she decided to learn how to paint.

“Studying with different teachers and taking workshops from some of the nation’s top artists, plus acquiring an extensive library of art books, I slowly learned,” she said. “While taking a workshop from internationally known artist David Leffel, I became fascinated with the Old Masters realistic style called chiaroscuro … which means from dark to light. A choice was made to devote my time to mastering this technique.”

Having found her own “aha” moment, Nash believes each person should find an artistic outlet that suites him or her.

“I would encourage anyone wanting to find their artistic outlet to follow their heart,” she said. “Do what you love, whether it be painting, music, sewing, cooking or whatever. Only you know what you love to do.”

Nash’s work is well known by area collectors and has been seen nationally and internationally.

“Through the years, I have won awards in numerous exhibitions and been featured in both International Artists and American Artists magazines,” she said “In 1999, I started entering national judged art festivals. Purchasing an RV, my husband Bob and I traveled to different states with the festivals. I have recently decided to retire from doing them and Cottonwood 2018 in Richardson, TX will be my last.”

Cottonwood Art Festival is Saturday and Sunday at Cottonwood Park in Richardson. Admission and parking are free.

Nash’s work is shown locally at the Mary Karam Gallery in Denison.

“I am often asked if I teach,” Nash said. “The only person I have taught is my grandson Jason when he was 7-10 years old at which time he was given a guitar … started practicing … stopped painting.”

Even though she has spent more than 20 years as a painter, you will not find replicas of her work. Each piece is unique.

“I paint only in oil as I feel only oils give the richness in color that I am striving for,” she said. “I paint only originals. No prints nor giclees are made of them so that they stay original.”