Kaethe Bealer

Living on a Boat and Working with Acrylic Paint, with Kaethe Bealer


Imagine living on a boat in the San Francisco Bay area – doesn’t that sound AMAZING? How would you optimize your working area? What materials would you use? Instead of guessing the answers to this beautiful scenario – I got to ask my friend Kaethe Bealer all about it!

Kaethe is a long time listener of Savvy Painter and she’s participated in several of my workshops over the years. I have been so impressed with Kaethe’s growth as an artist. From life on a boat to her process using acrylic paint I know Kaethe’s unique insights and reflections will help artists like you in a number of ways.

Life on a boat

Seriously though – what is it like living on a boat near San Francisco? Don’t you want to know? Apparently, it is not always as romantic as it sounds. As you can imagine space is at a premium. Forget leaving a studio space set up – if space isn’t being used – then things have to be put away. Thankfully, Kaethe has a supportive spouse who encourages her and supports her in her growth as an artist. While life on a boat sounds challenging – Kaethe also has some stellar work to show for it – which she has to store off boat at her father-in-law’s house.

Why acrylic paint?

Speaking of Kaethe’s artwork – I was interested to hear what type of paint she uses on her boat and why. Kaethe uses acrylic paint and works mostly on panel – her subject matter is varied – she loves to explore whatever catches her interest. With her life on the boat – Kaethe has found acrylic paint to be the best material to use – it’s easy to clean up! She has a little evaporation bucket outside that she uses to discard her dirty water. Kaethe also uses Open Golden which is an extended drying acrylic paint.

Just keep painting

“Just keep painting” is one of the mantras that has impacted Kaethe on her journey as an artist. She experienced a significant period in her life where she stopped painting and it took her awhile to get back into the rhythm. These days Kaethe is committed to putting in the time and logging those hours at the canvas. She wants to encourage her artistic peers to keep at it and stay in the game. Selling her work on the internet was a huge turning point for Kaethe – that experience also buoyed her spirits and emboldened her to get her work featured in art galleries.

Workshop junkie

Have you heard the term, “Workshop junkie?” I would consider myself a workshop junkie – I LOVE workshops. If money wasn’t a factor I’d fill up my days in workshops with fellow artists honing my skills and learning new techniques and insights. In our conversation – Kaethe and I also discussed the danger of using workshops as a crutch. Attending too many workshops can lead to thinking too little of your abilities and hamstringing your growth. Finding the balance is not an easy task but it is crucial – you need to have a healthy mindset!

Outline of This Episode

  • [0:45] I introduce my guest, Kaethe Bealer.
  • [3:15] What led Kaethe to her current work with acrylic paint?
  • [5:15] Living on a boat, is it as romantic as it sounds? How does Kaethe manage it?
  • [8:45] Kaethe describes her process and how she works with various acrylic colors.
  • [15:30] How did Kaethe lose the “Chalky” feel of her paintings?
  • [20:30] Kaethe and I talk about the influence of Peggi Kroll Roberts.
  • [23:30] Make sure to check out the Trekell Art Supplies competition.
  • [25:30] Just keep painting.
  • [30:00] Kaethe describes her evolution as an artist.
  • [37:30] Advice Kaethe has for fellow artists.
  • [40:30] How does Kaethe decide which art competitions to enter?
  • [45:00] Kaethe and I discuss the value of workshops.
  • [47:00] What led Kaethe to jump back into her artwork?
  • [49:00] Closing thoughts from Kaethe.

This episode sponsored by:


If you love animals and love painting all that luscious fur, I want to let you know that Trekell Art Supplies is accepting submissions for their Pet Portrait Competition. Submit your entry by August 31st 2019. For more information, go to Trekell.com

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