Posted by: Nancy | April 19, 2009

Art show

I’d like to introduce an artist today.

Her work is modern and non-traditional; her technique is to patiently draw and color tiny shapes in fluid lines until her page is utterly full.

The result is a swirling mass of colors, with an illusion of movement. Often there will be a surprising omission in the pattern, a jarring break in the movement that forces a deeper look at the image.

A bit of her background: She has worked for 25 years at her local public library, and now holds the distinction of being the longest-serving employee there.

You wouldn’t describe her as an athlete, although she competed in gymnastics and swimming with respectable results during her school years.  But is fanatical about the workout routine she follows at Curves, where she is an inspiration to friends and staffers.

She loves to travel and one of her favorite things is dining out and trying new foods.

She loves music of all types. She’s quick to start up a song by herself in the car with family, and she loves live music, especially Irish traditional by Eddie Delahunt.

But her art is her passion.

She starts by laying out her colored pens in an arrangement of her design.  Next she makes a few foundational points on the page — defining if the work will be based on circles, triangles, squares or lines.

The foundational points might be at the corners, or in a cluster somewhere on the page. From there, she fills in the rest with alternating colors in a pattern she can see at the outset.

Her name is Beth Tracewell, and (full disclosure) she is my sister, and in many ways, my teacher.


She does her art because she loves doing it.  It’s that simple.

She reminds me to be open to possibilities, to embrace creativity in any form. Sometimes she astounds me with the things she can see, sometimes making me feel blind.

She doesn’t worry about things she doesn’t understand, but she loves to learn new things and she takes delight in exploring the new.

Being around her is a reminder to refocus.  Somehow, that’s what she accomplishes with her art, too.


  1. […] has Down Syndrome, and at 51, she has had many remarkable adventures and experiences: success as an artist, competing as an athlete in Special Olympics, a 25-year career with a public library, international […]

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