Betty York is one of Florida’s new breed of artists whose rich and varied background has been the catalyst for her current success. Her watercolor and oil paintings created on location are a vibrant and joyous embodiment of old-world sensitivity. In recent years, she realized her childhood dream of the artist she wanted to become.
Growing up in Kansas City, she demonstrated artistic competence at an early age as evidenced by her ability to design her own clothes and paint favorite subjects. She had no formal art instruction until her senior year in high school. Thanks to the encouragement of her first instructor, she entered state and national art competitions, taking first place in all of them. On the basis of her artistic and scholastic achievements (valedictorian), she received two full scholarships; the first to Kansas City University and the second to the Kansas City Art Institute, which was awarded by the Hallmark Card Company where she worked part-time during her years of study.
Upon completion of her schooling, she joined the staff of Hallmark as a full-time designer, often winning prizes for her floral creations, a subject she still loves.
In 1951 she married her college sweetheart John Marsh after he had graduated from dental school. In 1954 producer Louis de Rochemont II selected them to portray themselves, a typical American couple, in the second of the new Cinerama movies, CINERAMA HOLIDAY (1955). The camera followed them around Switzerland and Paris, while simultaneously a Swiss couple toured the U.S.
After a few years at Hallmark and by then divorced, she moved to NYC to pursue a career in modeling and television commercials, freelancing as a greeting card artist for Bergdorf Goodman and several NY-based card companies.
During the ensuing years she pursued careers in marketing, fashion and even produced and hosted her own hour-long TV show.
She eventually moved to San Francisco and had a lengthy career working for Holiday Inn in sales and marketing. Her work enabled extensive international travel. Throughout she kept her long-standing love affair with art alive by attending workshops and studying with the best instructors she could find. She always looked forward to the day when she could devote full-time to painting.
She now resides in Sarasota, Florida, a small culturally oriented city where she finds the slower pace and colorful ambience, as well as the artistic climate and cultural stimuli all she hoped for. She calls her new home the San Francisco of Florida.
Her paintings are exhibited regularly in art shows and are part of private collections, throughout the United States and abroad, of people who are attracted to her fresh and colorful style.