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Bettina Swirkal

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Bettina ( Betty) Swirkal was born on Nov.4, 1924.  Her parents were of Lavian descent, and Betty and her family continued ties with her Latvian family her entire life.  


Betty’s father was a tailor, and it was his influence and that of an uncle who was an artist that developed her attention to detail. Betty’s early career was that of a draftsperson. Here her attention to detail made her in great demand.  At one point in her career she worked for MIT and helped with the blueprints necessary for radar.  For her work she received accommodation from the United States Government.  


Later, in life she decided to pursue her love of art.  She attended the Art Students League of New York.  It is here that she met John Bisignano, her future life partner.  They mutually supported each other’s work and forged a wonderful life together.  Eventually they moved to Maine to pursue their art full time.  


While John’s work is influenced by his career as a commercial artist, Betty’s  works are quite realistic in nature.  Betty had a love of both botanicals and horses.  She and John would often visit the Flower Shows in New York and photograph the exhibitions. They also went on long photographic shoots, capturing the beauty of all Nature.  Many of these photos were the inspiration for her work.  


Betty’s second love was horses, especially Carousel horses.  She and John would visit Asbury Park, NJ and Ry,NY to photograph carousels.  Many of the photographed horses find a home in her work.  


Not only do Betty’s paintings capture exquisite detail, but they also capture a nostalgia for halcyon days, when life was simpler. 


(843) 789-9565, P.O. Box 273, 85 Main Street, Wiscasset, ME 04578