Betty Gerstner
About Me

I have been a China Painter for over 25 years, and I have prefered this medium over any of the others I have tried. Although, after learning to do watercolor painting after I moved to Hawaii, about 5 years ago, its hard to know now which one I like best. My specialty is painting animals  (my favorite is the tiger and other big cats) and portraits of people.    I use my own photos as a source for most of my paintings.

I have enjoyed doing art in some form or another every since I can remember. I have worked in oil, acrylics, pastels, charcoal, pencil and pen and ink.

I discovered china painting over 25 years ago when I was painting with acrylics on small objects, porcelain blanks and cabacons for jewelry settings. This involved painting scenery, flowers, animals, etc. on the object and then coating the object with resin to protect it from peeling and chipping. It was a messy, laborous project. As I complained about the process to a friend, they asked "why don't you do it with china paint?". "China paint? what is that?", I asked. As a result of this conversation, I searched for a place where I could learn about this method of painting. In Downey, where I worked at my daytime job, I found Mary Foster's studio, "Foster and Capps", and started taking lessons with the teachers who worked out of her studio. I took lessons, developing my skill with this unique art for several years. When Mary and her husband retired, I drifted away from china painting for awhile.

In 1990, when I moved to Orange County, California, I decided to try and find a china studio and begin lessons again. I attended a California China Painting Teachers Association (CCPTA) show in Anaheim and found Hulda Stoppelmann, of Hulda's Studio. I began taking lessons from Hulda and did so until I moved to Hawaii in April, 2000.

Some years ago, while still living in California, I began taking lessons in the use of lusters from Michael Sullivan, who has over 20 years in this medium.   Before I began taking lessons from Michael, I thought lusters were used mainly as backgrounds for a china painting subject.  Now I do complete paintings using only luster colors. The luster vase I'm most proud of is a pillow vase with the face of a wolf on one side and the wolf cubs on the other side (see my main page, the Luster Paintings section, for the thumbnail link to a photo of this vase).

In April, 2000, a month after my retirement from L.A. County, I moved to Hawaii to help my sister take care of my ailing mother. Unfortunately, our mother suffered a stroke 10 days after my arrival and subsequently died in May of that same year. I have come to love Hawaii, something I did not think would happen when I lived on the mainland.  In January, 2001, I purchased a home in the South Kona District in a development called Kona Paradise. This house had a beautiful view of the ocean and I could hear the waves at night.

There are no china painting teachers (that I know of) here on the Big Island, but I purchased a kiln and plan to continue china painting in my home.  In late 2001, I started classes in watercolor which I am thoroughly enjoying.  As I finish a watercolor painting, I add it to this page.

In September-October, 2003, I sold my home in the Kona Paradise area of the Big Island and purchased a home in the little upcountry town of Captain Cook.

Shortly after my move to Captain Cook, Dancer, my cat, who came to live with me in January, 2002, disappeared. Amazingly, I got him back almost exactly a year later. The person who found him located me because of the Microchip I had implanted in Dancer when we lived in Kona Paradise. I think the reason he disappeared was because he got lost in the "jungle" across the road from my house. When I got him back, I walked around with him for several days, making sure he could find me again during the time he was exploring the area around my house. He seems to be acclimated to our surroundings now. I missed him a lot while he was gone because he was an adorable and very affectionate cat.  He loved to "attack" geckos which were on the outside of the windows at my Kona Paradise home.  I have done two watercolor paintings of him. The thumbnails linked to the photos of these paintings are on my main page, in the Watercolor section.

My new house has a separate unit which I have converted for my studio. I now teach china painting there. I have about 7 students most of the time.

During 2003 I did some watercolor paintings of family pets as gifts for Christmas. Because my adult children might view this web page, I held off displaying the pet paintings and two seascapes, also Christmas gifts, until after the 2003-2004 holidays. I have now posted the pet portraits and two seascapes on this web page. I also have photos of other pets I have painted as gifts or commissions.


If you would like to write Betty about her paintings,
you can click on the link below to open an email message box:

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