Betty Haight and Stephanie Cunningham are both artists who met in 1998 at a local painting workshop. They became friends and early in their friendship they showed their individual art at several shows and galleries. Betty came up with an idea to collaborate, as she found a common ground in their work. Betty painted figures and Stephanie painted landscapes. They explored the idea of an alliance and found that their vision to join their art was successful. They both contribute to every piece they create, which they call "duets".
In 2008 they had their first show exhibiting their pieces and have been an art duo ever since. A whole new world opened up to them through collaboration.
Betty was raised in Northwest Iowa, in a resort area, called Okaboji. She had an idyllic childhood, raised on 80 acres of lakefront by parents who encouraged her in very creative ways. Her father was sort of a crazy inventor and tinkerer. They always had lots of projects and things going on around her home. She grew up making "stuff" and it turned into art.
As an adult she became an attorney and was with the San Bernardino County District Attorney office for 28 years. Betty was the first female attorney they ever hired. She worked as a prosecutor in every branch, from misdemeanors to death penalty trials. Eventually, she moved to administration and then retired as Assistant District Attorney.
Fun Factoids about Betty:
1. Her birthday, her sister's birthday, and birthdays of her 3 best friends are all on the first day of a month (might I add, so is mine).
2. She is studying Latin.
3. She rode in motocross and desert races in the 70s and early 80s.
4. She has a 19 year old cat, named Cassiopeia.
5. Her favorite art quote is "to make art, one needs to spend long, noodling days in the studio."
When Betty retired from full time law and started practicing only part time it allowed her to open a studio and seriously pursue her art. Her life is currently arranged so she is able to spend 3 or 4 hours there everyday. She works in oil, collage, and sculpture made out of wood, wire, string, and miscellaneous found items. She also works in books, primarily wallpaper books.
Stephanie was born in San Francisco. Her first memory of an artistic success was at the age of 4, when she had a finger painting selected to be hung in a children's art exhibit at the Palace of the Legion of Honor in San Francisco. This caused her parents to encourage her in art and led to her thinking of herself as an artist. She moved to Palm Springs when she was in the 3rd grade and stayed there until she graduated from high school. She continued her schooling in Southern California, majored in art and earned a masters degree.
She was an art teacher in public schools for 34 years, teaching both middle and high school. Her art reflects many years spent in the classroom, when she had to think on her feet and make creative things happen out of a variety of materials at hand.
Fun factoids about Stephanie:
1. Many people think she is a doted-on only child, but in fact she has a wonderful older brother.
2. She always wanted to be musical and play the piano professionally, but she is tone deaf and can't read music.
3. She married her high school sweetheart and they just celebrated their 57th anniversary. He is still her sweetheart.
4. She loves to write stories and is working on an idea for a children's book.
After she retired and raised her family, she had more time to devote to her art. She moved from watercolor, to collage, to printmaking and graphic design. This allowed her to explore the skills of each. Ultimately, she found the value of using mixed medias in one work to create her art pieces.