Betty Beshoar considers herself to be a private artist and would much prefer being tucked deep in the Peaks Mill woods near Elkhorn Creek to sitting out in the open near a trailhead at Lower Cove Spring Park where we caught up with her one particularly humid day toward the end of summer.
“This is outside my comfort zone,” she explained, in between greeting afternoon hikers and curious late-lunchers who wandered over to check out the painting taped to her easel.
A self-taught landscape artist, Beshoar has always been drawn to water. At first, it was the Kentucky River, when she lived on Taylor Avenue downtown, and now Elkhorn Creek always seems to be calling her name.
“I have my little corner of the world and I could paint there every day,” she said of her favorite spot on a neighboring farm in Peaks Mill, where she and Mike Roberts own 70 acres. “I just pack up my paint and supplies, get in the golf cart and go.”
A former aquatic biologist, Beshoar feels emotionally connected to nature and often finds herself in a meditative and observational state when painting outdoors. However, plein air painting presents its own set of challenges including pesky and persistent bugs, heat and the everchanging angle of the sunlight.
A self-described late bloomer, she didn’t seriously pick up a paintbrush until post-retirement and quickly came to the realization that oil paints — her favorite medium — don’t mix with residential living. So, for more than eight years, she has divided her time between painting outdoors and in her working studio on the seventh floor of the McClure Building in downtown Frankfort.
“I absolutely love it up there,” she said of her perch with panoramic views of Frankfort — the town she “fell in love with the minute she got here” following graduation from Murray State University.
The eclectic bunch who also have offices and studios in the McClure Building — including fellow artists, attorneys, an acupuncturist and therapists, also make her feel at home.
“People come in barefoot, you just never know,” Beshoar explained adding she considers her space a working studio meaning she doesn’t keep set hours.
During October, her work will travel across the Kentucky River to be featured in the art gallery inside the café at Rebecca Ruth Candy Tours and Museum on West Second Street, where a different local artist is showcased each month. Her art will be available for purchase.
“It’s all about appreciating where you live,” Beshoar continued, “and I love Frankfort.”