A love of nature inspires artist Betsy Olmsted

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As child, Betsy Olmsted envisioned she would become a naturalist. Instead she has 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 traditional techniques of watercolor, gouache, and ink. Then, her whimsical depictions of flora and fauna are printed on fabrics and wallpaper, as well as home goods and decor (tea towels, table linens, pillows, quilts), and clothing and accessories.

Beth Moeller helps artists manage the business of being an artist

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

Q: What prompted you to get involved with art?

A: I just knew I was an artist. When I was in high school, I just loved drawing and creating things. 

Deciding to be an artist is different, it’s not really like that. It’s more like you just are 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 the fine arts and the more conceptual type of art and sculpture that I was doing with my work there. Then I was able to take the skills that I had and (turn it) into a design career.

Q: What challenges have you faced infusing art into your work?

A: When you own a business that’s designed-based, you are doing everything, not just the artwork or the design. So, I spend most of my time doing development, reading purchase orders, invoicing and filling and shipping orders. That can be a mental challenge because you want to be doing the fun (stuff), but a lot of times you’re doing what you need to for a successful business.

Q: What advice would you give to upcoming artists launching their careers?

A: Take what you are best at doing and be the best at that skill or that thing because you need to be able to set yourself apart from everybody else. You’ve got to figure out how to hone in on that thing. Push yourself in that direction.

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