Born in the Adirondack Mountains of New York, Ridgeway’s education preceding her four-decade art career began with graphic design at Russell Sage College in Troy, New York. Professional designer with Reuben H. Donnelley Advertising Corporation was her first position. Next came the School of Interior Design Art and the Art Students League, both in New York City.

Studies continued abroad: painting, exhibiting, teaching, immersed in the cultures of Madagascar, Australia and Chile.

Returning to the United States, her fine art and professional careers continued. Visual arts specialist for the Maryland National Capital Park & Planning Commission and Executive Director and CEO of Very Special Arts an educational affiliate of The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, were amongst her positions.

1970s- Acclaimed Abstract Expressionist painter Paul Jenkins, saw a light in Ridgeway and closely mentored her over several decades. Forty years hence, her signature technique of “Layering Light” on large-scale, luminous poured canvases and metal sculptures has been perfected.

Mid-1990s-current Ridgeway has been creating and residing in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Global exhibitions include 80+ museums, universities and galleries, including: Palais Royale, Paris, Embassy of Madagascar and London Art Biennale.

Awards include Top 60 Contemporary Masters, Leonardo DaVinci Prize, Rome and Sandro Botticelli Prize, Museum of Florence, Italy.

Mayo Clinic and Federal Reserve Bank are amongst Ridgeway’s many permanent public placements.

Numerous books and publications have featured her work, among them: International Contemporary Masters and 100 Famous Contemporary Artists. Ridgeway has also penned several books about art and process.

“The best artists learn by themselves. Painting is a solitary experience, and to achieve excellence in painting requires time and patience. We accumulate valuable life experiences and friendships that touch our souls. In my case, I was fortunate to always find someone from whom to learn and grow, as an artist and person. I chose the greats to be my teachers – Turner, Matisse, Monet and Gauguin. I love the Renaissance masters for depth of color and the French impressionists for their bold departure from traditional realism. Twentieth Century masters such as Hopper and the Wyeths affected me deeply, as well as con-temporary masters such as Mitchell, Diebenkorn, Frankenthaler and Gerhard Richter, who inspired me to dive deeply into my signature style. Paul Jenkins, the consummate master, continues to be a beacon of achievement that I strive for each day.”

~Bette Ridgeway


Bette Ridgeway is best known for her large-scale, luminous poured canvases that push the boundaries of light, color and design. Her youth spent in the beautiful Adirondack Mountains of upstate New York and her extensive global travel filled have informed her colorful palette. For the past two decades, the high desert light of Santa Fe, NM has fueled Ridgeway’s art practice.

Her three decades of mentorship by the acclaimed Abstract Expressionist Paul Jenkins set her on her lifetime journey of non-objective painting on large canvas. She explores the interrelation and change of color in various conditions and on a variety of surfaces. Her artistic foundations in line drawing, watercolor, graphic design, and oils gave way to acrylics, which she found to be more versatile for her layering technique. Ridgeway has spent the last 30 years developing her signature technique, called “layering light,” in which she uses many layers of thin, transparent acrylics on linen and canvas to produce a fluidity and viscosity similar to traditional watercolor. Delving further, Ridgeway expanded her work into 3D, joining paint and resin to aluminum and steel with sculptures of minimal towers.

Ridgeway depicts movement in her work, sometimes kinetic and full of emotion, sometimes bold and masterful, sometimes languid and tentative. She sees herself as the channel, the work coming it comes through her but it is not hers. It goes out into the world – it has a life of its own.


Cosmos | Mixed Media Acrylic on Canvas Fine Art Piece | MAC Art Galleries


Acrylic on Canvas 38″ x 34″



Acrylic on Canvas 52″ x 130″ SOLD


Acrylic on Canvas 54″ x 48″ SOLD


Acrylic on Canvas 44″ x 56″ SOLD


Acrylic on Canvas 40″ x 60″ SOLD


Acrylic on Canvas 72″ x 50″ SOLD