Bette Ridgeway

Bette Ridgeway

About the Artist:

Since 1996 I’ve maintained an art practice in Santa Fe, NM, where the high desert light fuels my spirit.  My career began in the sweatshop of Reuben Donnelley Advertising as a young graphic artist and over many decades taken me to the outdoor marketplaces in Tananarive, Madagascar, the urban dynamism of Santiago, Chile, and the modern youthful capital of Australia in New South Wales…Canberra.  And many places in between.


Stimulated by the variety of the colors and customs on 5 continents, along with growing up in the beautiful Adirondack Mountains of upstate New York, I have come to know this:  I love making things. I love the color.


A recent “dance” with cancer has given me some perspective on the creative part of my life, to notice what I notice.  I look deeply into my creative impulses and see clearly now that my joy is color. I am in love with the movement in my work, sometimes kinetic and full of emotion, sometimes bold and masterful, sometimes languid and tentative.


My work is how I process life and find my balance. It is no surprise that I am drawn to the computer and the artistic avenue it affords me.  I explore digital design and study film making.  I love designing an innovative online presence for myself and clients. The computer and the studio bring me balance and rewards.

My journey has not been an easy one. But there are moments in the studio when everything is just working so well, the music is playing and the creative wheels are turning.  Time does not exist. Only the piece of art unfolds under my strong hands. I am only the channel. It is not mine. Like a child, it comes through me but it is not mine. It goes out into the world – it has a life of its own.




Pushing the boundaries of light, color, and design, Bette Ridgeway is best known for her large-scale, luminous poured canvases, which, in recent years have garnered the artist international recognition.  


Among her international awards: "International Prize - 2019 Artist of the Year" presented in Mantua, Italy in June, 2019, "WAA 2019 "Womens' Essence" at the Venice Biennale in May 2019, and Art Tour International Magazine's“Top 60 Contemporary Masters.

In 2016 she received the prestigious Leonardo DaVinci prize in Rome, Italy. In addition, she won the Oxford University Alumni Prize at the “Art of the Mind” exhibition at the Chianciano Art Museum in Tuscany in 2012.

She participated in the inaugural London Art Biennale in January of 2013 and at the Gagliardi Gallery in London in April 2013.


Trained as a watercolorist, the artist’s love affair with water media began as a youngster growing up in the Adirondack Mountains in upstate New York (only a few miles from Canada) where she was surrounded by the beauty of nature.


Informed by this early experience, she has traveled the globe, studying, painting, teaching, and exhibiting her work, while embracing the customs and colors of the diverse cultures of Africa, Australia, Europe, Asia, Mexico, and South America. Ridgeway’s formal art studies at Russell Sage College, New York School of Interior Design, and the Art Students League gave her the basic tools in the use of materials and techniques. Her personal style, however, was a long time in development.


Always an artist, she postponed her art career to raise her family and hold a job. While working in Washington DC as CEO of Very Special Arts, an educational affiliate of the JF Kennedy Center, which provides arts programs for disabled children and youth, she was fortunate to meet the internationally acclaimed artist, Paul Jenkins.


This was a life-changing experience. Jenkins became a friend and mentor, encouraging the artist to work large and focus on color, space, and time.  He once jokingly referred to his paintings as “chaos” and Ridgeway’s as “controlled chaos”.


Ridgeway took Jenkins’ advice and has spent the last 30 years developing her signature technique in which she uses many layers of thin, transparent acrylics on linen and canvas to produce a fluidity and viscosity similar to traditional watercolor. The effect is both sensual and powerful.


The artist’s paintings are featured in many books, among them: “International Contemporary Masters 2010” published by World Wide Art Books, “100 Artists of the Southwest,” published by Schiffer Books, “Masters of Today” and “100 Famous Contemporary Artists” both published by WOA Publishing, Stockholm Sweden.


The work is also included in many public and private collections including the John Deere Corporate Collection, the Federal Reserve Bank, Criteria Communications, the Mayo Clinic, and Northwest College.  Actor, Tim Allen has two of Ridgeway’s paintings in his personal art collection.


In the catalog for the artist’s 2000 Millennium Exhibition in NYC, Laurence F. Johnson, AACR, the Curator of the John Deere Corporate Collection wrote, “Alpha” the centerpiece of the exhibition really stunned me. It went off in my head with a psychedelic big-bang, forming a universe of kaleidoscopic stop-frame action of a thousand frames a millisecond. A billion light-years of searching sound filled the hemispheres of my mind”. The Deere Collection has acquired 3 large Ridgeway poured paintings over the years.


“Layering color on a variety of surfaces with transparent color combinations presents me with incredible challenges,” says Ridgeway, “along with very deep rewards”.



Exhibition History (selected)

2019 Solo exhibition, Hanson Gallery, Sausalito, CA
2019  Solo exhibition Anticus, Scottsdale, AZ  
2018 "Large Works" MAC Fine Art, Ft. Lauderdale, Fl.
2017 Desert Mountain Fine Art, Scottsdale

2015 "Layering Light" The Signature Gallery, Santa Fe, NM
2014 "The Language of Color" Legends Gallery, Santa Fe, NM

2013 Gagliardi Gallery, London, UK “Art of the Mind II” Exhibition

2013 London Art Biennale (Inaugural Edition)

2012 Galerie Joyce, Paris, FR, "Color of Butterfly"

2012 Chianciano Art Museum, Tuscany, Italy "Art of the Mind"

2012 Rio Grande Gallery, Albuquerque, NM

2010 The McDaniel Collection, Rancho de San Juan, NM 

2008 Ventana Fine Art, Santa Fe, NM

2007 M Gallery of Fine Art, Sarasota, FL

2007 Edmund Craig Fine Art, Ft. Worth, TX

2005 — 2006 Tadu Contemporary, Santa Fe, NM "Surface + Rhythm"

2004 Jordan Road Gallery, Sedona, AZ

2001 Expressions in Fine Art, Santa FE, NM

2000 ArtMerge Gallery, Dallas, TX "The Color of Jazz"

1999 Walter Wickiser Gallery, New York, NY "Milennium Exhibition"

1996 Waxlander Kadouri Gallery, Santa Fe, NM 

1989 FOTA Gallery, Alexandria, VA "Emerging Light"

1988 Windows Gallery, Beverly Hills, CA 

1986 Kobiashi Gallery, Kyoto, Japan "Watercolors on Paper"



COLLECTIONS (selected):


The Mayo Clinic

Scottsdale, AZ


The Waterstone Spa and Resort

Boca Raton, FL


The John Deere

Corporate Art Collection

Moline, IL


The Federal Reserve Bank

Corporate Collection

Richmond VA

The Wynfrey Hotel
Birmingham, AL


Criterion Communications

King of Prussia PA

VonLehman CPA & Advisory Firm
Cincinnati, Ohio


Maryland National Capital

Park & Planning Commission

Rockville MD


Northwestern University

St. Paul, MN



Corporate Collection

Boulder CO


Kostmayer Associates

Corporate Collection

Washington DC


Dane Penland

Director of Photography

Smithsonian Institution


Dr. William G. Melson

Curator Emeritus

Dept. of Mineral Sciences

Smithsonian Institution


Mr. & Mrs. John Warren

Albuquerque, NM


Mr. & Mrs. Michael Lederer

Richmond, CA


Matthew Reese

National Democratic Institute


Mr. & Mrs. Leonardo Abrussezi

Abrussezi Collection

Rome Italy


Lynne Russell, Director of Education

National Gallery of Art

Washington DC


Dr. Jack Kukuk

Director of Education

John F. Kennedy Center

for the Performing Arts


Marcello Nisi

The Nisi Foundation Collection

Rome, Italy


Ambassador Ronald Palmer

George Washington University

Washington DC


Dr. John Syphax

Washington DC  


Anne May

Santa Fe, NM


Julie & Jary Shimer

Rancho de San Juan

San Juan Pueblo, NM


Dudley McDaniel, M.D.

Rancho de San Juan

San Juan Pueblo, NM


Rebecca Copeland, M.D.

Johnson City, TN 

Mr. & Mrs. Steve Leer
Boca Grande, CA


Mr. & Mrs. Peter Marshall
Toronto, Ontario, Canada


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