Betty Hageman began her fine art career in 2005 as a natural extension of her graphic design projects focused on environmental awareness and natural resources management. Based on working retreats to iconic and isolated natural ecologies, Betty creates artwork that interprets and interacts with hidden micro-environments and their inhabitants.

Recently Betty Hageman was awarded a First Place Award by the Eastside Association of Fine Arts at their 2011 Open Juried Abstract Show at the Seattle Design Center in Seattle, WA. Entitled “Alive Below,” the 3-by-8-foot canvas was created using only soil, compost and charcoal. Jurors Kamla Kakaria and Larry Calkins praised the unique materials used, and called the piece “mysterious and inviting.”

In a recent site-specific Installation at ArtsWest Gallery in West Seattle, “Soil Horizons/Personal Horizons,” Betty compared the earth’s layers of rock and dirt to stages experienced in her own life. Kat Chow of the Seattle Weekly wrote, “Hageman combines earth-stained canvas and Plexiglass vitrines filled with natural, gathered materials to suggest how her internal processes reflect and parallel the Earth’s own processes of accrual.
Betty’s work has appeared in many juried exhibits and galleries around the region.


My artwork explores recurring biomorphic bodies and passageways that inhabit deep or hidden environments throughout the natural world, from micro to macro scale. Based on excursions to specific ecosystems around the country, I document and abstract patterns from soil, rock, water, atmosphere, and living organisms such as lichen, mold, algae and bacteria. Sites I have worked include a Blue Ridge Mountain streambed, Wyoming rangelands, an Oregon coastal estuary, the California deserts of Joshua Tree National Park, and my own Seattle back yard.

Some paintings are created by applying many transparent acrylic color layers that wrap around the canvas sides and exhibit a depth and translucency similar to encaustic. Others use dirt, compost and charcoal as art materials, thereby producing portraits of the subject matter using the subject matter as medium. I also take microphotographs of my original paintings and print them on handmade paper pulped from recycled City of Seattle habitat restoration  and sustainable development reports.

Through these processes, I attempt to interpret and interact with places and materials in new ways, to reinforce our sense of connection with and stewardship of the earth.