Betty Caithness passed away peacefully at her home on Thursday, December 21, 2017. She will be especially remembered for her Rufus Porter inspired landscapes. She was an icon in the Decorative Painting Industry for more than 40 years. Her work encompassed designing, publishing, seminar teaching and licensing of her designs. Her true love was teaching.
Betty was born in DeKalb, Illinois. She took her first painting class in the 1970s from Billie Colley who gave her such a good background to build on. She began developing her own designs in early 1980s. Her designs took on the look of Rufus Porter, an inventor and itinerant artist in the 19th century. She began experimenting with paint graining for a decorative finish to her painted scenes. Paint graining was a product of the “Porter era” and often referred to as putty or vinegar graining. Today, we call it Faux Finishing.
Betty was honored to be selected as the artist to paint an egg representing the state of Virginia for the 2004 White House Easter Egg Collection, a tradition that began in 1994 where each state sent a decorated egg to the White House for display.
Betty’s first licensed collection was with Crazy Mountain. Many of her designs were licensed with Painted Planet Licensing Group in 2005. She had a large display of gift bags and boxes in Target; artwork on cookie tins for a company from Denmark; numerous greeting cards; Christmas seal artist for the American Lung Society; a puzzle by Ravensburger; and, she was also a Courage Center artist. Richly painted folk art styled landscapes can be found in a quilt fabric collection by Windham Fabrics designed by Betty featuring quaint country homes, riders on horseback, silhouettes of trees, smooth pebbles and a great cutaway stripe of the rolling countryside.
Betty was a member of Shades of Blue Ridge Chapter in Lynchburg, Virginia since 1999 as well as a member of the Society of Decorative Painters.
Betty inspired so many of us over the years. She will be missed by all of us who took her seminars and painted many of her landscape scenes from her Heritage Painting pattern packets.