Betty L Beer

Artist, Brookings, SD

"I make art to promote a habit of reflection.
It is a way to savor life."

Betty L Beer is a regional contemporary realist painter who has been painting and drawing since childhood. She studied Art Studio at Oberlin College and Edinburgh University, Edinburgh, Scotland and then took a break from art to practice law. She is now a retired attorney and has lived in Brookings, SD since 1996. She works in oil and pastel and specializes in portraits and landscapes. She has taken workshops with Burt Silverman, Daniel Greene, Sherry McGraw and Margaret Carter Baumgaertner. She has lived in both small towns and large cities and has traveled broadly.   

Betty’s work is realistic and centers on universal themes illustrated in the particular. Often there are references to poetry or art history. Her work is reflective and is intended to be pondered and savored. She believes that creating good art demands that the artist must live in the fullness of experience so that a depth of sensation can be transmitted to the viewer. The viewer must, in turn, take time to unearth the essence, nuances and richness of both the seen and unseen.

She has published two books: Savoring, which pairs her oil and pastel work with poems by local poets, and Faces of Brookings, which is a compilation of 100 portraits of local citizens of Brookings (available at the South Dakota art Museum in Brookings, SD), with comments on her art path, stories from the sittings, and observations about Brookings. Faces of Brookings was featured in South Dakota Magazine May/June 2019 issue.

Betty’s Resume includes:

  • Featured artist at the South Dakota Art Museum South Dakota Artist Series

  • Accepted into the SD Governor’s Show three times

  • One-person shows at the Brookings Art Center, the Dakota Prairie Museum, the Museum of Visual Materials, the Marshall Area Fine Arts Center, and the Ritz Gallery, SDSU

  • Won Honorable Mention for “Sally and Jake” at the Portrait Society of Atlanta, Marietta Cobb Museum, Marietta, Georgia

  • Juried twice into the Mid-America Pastel Society show in St. Joseph, Missouri, and also the Breckenridge Fine Arts Center, Breckenridge, Texas

  • Works were chosen to be on the cover for the Buchanan Center for the Arts, National Juried Exhibition, the book Influence, Action and Voice: Contemporary South Dakota Women, and on the South Dakota State Poetry Society publication, Four Quarters to a Section. 

Betty’s works are in the collections of Visual Arts Center of the Washington Pavilion, the Library of the University of Minnesota, Marshall, MN, Pheasant Restaurant, Brookings, SD, and Avera Addiction Center. Her work is also held in the private art collection of Judge Karen Schrier.

Commissioned Works Include:

  • Keith Corbett, Brigadier General, USMC Reserves

  • Honorable Tom Dempster, South Dakota State Senator

  • Monsigneur James Michael Doyle

  • Dr. David Allan Evans, Emeritus Poet Laureate South Dakota

  • Dr. Norman Gambill, Head of Art and Art History Department, SDSU

  • Delta David Gier, Music Director, South Dakota Symphony

  • Al Kurtenback and Dr. Duane Sander, co-founders, Daktronics, Inc.

  • Ethel Austin Martin, former Director of National Dairy Council and developer of food pyramid

  • Dr. Peggy Miller, Former President of SDSU and first female president of a land grant university.

  • Dr. Carol J. Peterson, former Provost and First V.P. of SDSU

  • Various corporate officers and individuals