Artist Profile: Sue Betanzos

Painter Sue Betanzos presents her portfolio of reverse glass paintings. We spoke with her about the process and story behind her work.


St. Francis and Wolf, reverse glass painting, 20"x16"

“St. Francis and Wolf”, reverse glass painting, 20″x16″


ABI: Tell us about your current direction.

SB: St. Francis is meaningful to me because he is an iconic figure whose appeal has only grown in popularity over the centuries. Even though he lived a short time, he was a really good person who continues to be a symbol of love, nature, animals, and joy of life.


"St. Francis Guardian of Eagle Forest", reverse glass painting, 10" x 12"​

“St. Francis Guardian of Eagle Forest”, reverse glass painting, 10″ x 12″​


As one collector says, “ St. Francis is one of the original environmentalists.”

It’s a pleasure and a challenge to design and create the St. Francis paintings on glass, each destined to become a collector’s personal memento of furry and feathered loved ones.


"St. Francis and Birds"​​​, reverse glass painting, 12" x 9"

“St. Francis and Birds”​​​, reverse glass painting, 12″ x 9”


ABI: What studio technique do you use to create your art?

SB: I learned my current glass painting technique by trial and error. My paintings are not fired, they are painted with enamel paints on the backside of the glass in reverse. Details are painted first, working backwards, with no room for errors. The detail work itself takes almost as much time as the painting.


St. Francis painting in progress.

St. Francis painting in progress.


The whimsical colorful style of the St. Francis paintings is the result of my desire to try something opposite of my usual realistic style. I learned to paint backwards/reverse with rich, jewel colors in happy stylized designs full of gold and silver highlights. I love the way this style has developed, attracting new collectors drawn to St. Francis and the detailed fun paintings.


Mermaid painting in progress.

Mermaid painting in progress.


Working as a graphic designer and illustrator in the USAF, as well as years of previous experience, has influenced my current art leading me to St. Francis glass paintings.


"Mermaid" reverse glass painting

“Mermaid” reverse glass painting


ABI: What reaction do you get from people who view your work?

SB: From first time viewers of the reverse glass paintings, there is disbelief that the painting is done on the back side of the glass. Then amazed admiration. Then inquires about commissioned work or prints.


"San Pascual", reverse glass painting, 12" x 9"

“San Pascual”, reverse glass painting, 12″ x 9″


Collectors of St. Francis art who have commissioned personal paintings become very emotional, loving every meaningful detail of a painting created just for them.


"St. Francis and Kitties", reverse glass painting, 10" x 12"

“St. Francis and Kitties”, reverse glass painting, 10″ x 12″


The glass paintings not only have the main subjects of St. Francis with their pets, but also include detailed local flora and fauna.


"St. Francis and Dogs", reverse glass painting, 10" x 12"

“St. Francis and Dogs”, reverse glass painting, 10″ x 12″


The letters I receive from collectors are often very touching, telling stories of the pets and places. Good times and happy magic memories are what I want to share with the St. Francis paintings.

It’s where the Rainbow Bridge has “visiting hours” ….always.


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