About Me

Bette Lesher

Bette Lesher is a self-taught Watercolor Painter, Printmaker and Photographer.

"I grew up in the Germantown and Mt. Airy section of Philadelphia. Early on I was influenced by the environment of my 19th century home on Johnson St., hand carved ceiling squares, pink marble tiles on fire-places and stained glass Pocket doors that slid into walls.

My Mom and Dad had exquisite taste in furniture and beautiful antiques passed down from their own parents. As a child I ran my hands over the intricate carved wood of those gems and lay on the floor tracing with little fingers the patterns of the Oriental rug in our dining room. I would escape into these woven gardens of birds and flowers for what seemed like hours. I loved all that detail.

I was 16 before my first visit to the Philadelphia Art Museum. I stopped in my tracks before the Flemish Masters. Their art was filled with patterns of tapestry and beautiful clothing. Picassos Blue Boy gave me pause, but his clowns! ( I wanted to paint a clown with diamond material of red, blue and gold.)

It would be 20 years before that seed of inspiration would germinate into a portrait of "Clay" in his Halloween costume his Mom had lovingly sewn.

More inspiration would come to me through the art of Norman Rockwell on Saturday Evening Post covers. He was a master painter of the beautiful nature of people just being themselves. His portraits of children still inspire me today, to catch their charm in Commissioned work. I love to photograph candid studies of them capturing their gestures of spontaneity of movement.

Most of all, I owe to my Mom, Dorthy Lahr, a seamstress of exquisite talent and imagination, my love of color…How to choose material, how to mix and match, in dresses, drapes and slipcovers and anything she put a needle to. She created masterpieces every single day her sewing machine hummed.

A word about "flowers" – No one could arrange lilies, peonies, roses or ivy, save perhaps Renoir, Monet or Van Gogh, as my Mom. She would compose a riot of color in one single vase that would make these Masters envious, but no one more than me…Thank you Mom for my palette!

My first studio, I rented in 1979, a tiny loft in Haddonfield, N.J. My youngest child of 5 was finally in kindergarden and I would have some "time", precious time to play with ink and the colors I coaxed out of my watercolor box, mixed on a tin palette. I used the photos I recorded in my 35mm Minolta, which was always on my shoulder, for studies to compose my paintings and to freeze an inspiration on any given day. Practice and more practice improved my skills.

I now consider each day a fresh empty space to be experienced and inspired by. I can take this inspiration and paint it, photograph it or write about it. On not so good days I can even store it and take a nap, only to awake to tell myself, the Best is yet to come…go paint!"

Bette Lesher