My name is Betty Ortega and everything that I have created since 2002 is signed Brightfire Woman. It is a name I created to mark my work and as the only name I work under as an artist. It is the name I chose for my Wiccan name and I created it from my spirit, so it made sense to me. I have taken a lot of razz about it over the years online. Some characterize it and me, based on what they thought it was about.
What I am signing, each time I sign Brightfire Woman, is an affirmation of my identity as a Bipolar Female. I came here as both and will leave here as both. Combined they are the spark that ignites my creativity and the lens through which I view the world.
I also wanted my own name and mark to sign my art, a name that would never change. I have been married 3 times and divorced twice. I don’t want to created under the name of an MIA husband and I am way past feeling maiden. I am the mother of two and a Grandmother. It has always bothered me that my education, awards, and signed work are under four different surnames. It was my response as a feminist artist to give my self my own identity and to affirm what I identify with as my SELF.
I am local to the Peoria IL area and what you would call a mixed media artist. I was born and raised on Mackinaw Il. I was a BFA candidate in Photography at Illinois State University. I did acrylic painting for decades. Sculpted several times in life. I majored in Black & white fine art photography. I have always leaned towards figurative. I worked quite awhile doing 35 mm double exposures and dark room manipulations to combine images. I have worked digital for 7 years. I do so, using photographic and paint programs to combine and manipulate my photographs and to allow me to paint very large canvases digitally by completely repainting with each size increase at 300 resolution.
I like to experiment and love the processes and coming up with my own. I like to create paintings that hold their own from a distance and yet, I feel inside them close up. Ideas come to me very 3-d and I Iike to push the flatness of a canvas and escape that plane. Where I am headed is creating a body of work combining my favorite aspects all these disciplines. I am switching to oils, as the best paint for layering images and incorporating digital elements.
This website is the only site I will journal that journey on. I intend to share the various stages of a work and all learning experiences and discoveries along the way. It is a recommitment late in life to what I feel passionate about, making art.