By Christina Fuoco-Karasinski
When Beth Zink approached her parents about studying art, she made a pact with her father that she would major in education at Bethany College.
“My elementary school art teacher told my mother I had a gift,” Zink says. “I was in public school and she suggested I continue to get more art education, so my mother persuaded my dad to allow me to major in art in college, but I also had to study education.”
Her teacher’s hunch was correct. Zink went on to become a successful artist in Cave Creek.
“My mother lived to be 92, so she saw me make a successful living as an artist,” says Zink, whose father died prior. “I just do what I love.”
Zink grew up on the East Coast and lived with her husband in Colorado, until his job sent him to the Valley in 1986. Arriving in Arizona, Zink was instantly in love.
“I had never seen the cactus flowers and the cactus plants themselves,” says Zink, who did post-grad work at the University of South Carolina. “I was taken by how unique and special they are. I think plants like agave, prickly pear and the different varieties are beautiful. When you see your first spring desert bloom, you can’t believe these gnarly plants have beautiful flowers. I’m really taken by the uniqueness of the flora in the desert,”
So much so that she focuses on them in her paintings. She’s well known for her desert botanical pieces painted with bold, dynamic colors. Zink also paints landscapes and performs commissioned work for people who want something special.
“About 50% of my business is commissioned work, where a client needs a specific piece,” she says. “I have an endless source of inspiration.
“I took graduate-level courses in painting and drawing. I’ve done photography, pottery and sculpture, but my true love is really drawing and painting. That’s my strength.”
Zink’s studio is open year-round by appointment when she’s not at her Pinetop cabin. Clients can stop by and peruse Zink’s artwork on the wall. She also wells giclee prints, high-quality ink jet prints on canvas.
“I don’t inventory giclee,” she says. “I do special orders. I had a client who made an appointment to come to the studio, and she ordered a giclee of a painting she saw.
“Another option is throw pillows and framed tiles. I also have a royalty agreement with purses and a card company. I collaborate with Frame My TV, which is on the north side of Boston. They make motorized giclee that cover a TV set. It hides any TV set up to 114 inches. You can choose from multiple frames. That’s a real specialty item for people who really hate their television set. It’s for somebody who entertains a lot and do not want that big black box.”
Zink shares her talent with the public. She teaches classes and workshops out of her Cave Creek studio from October to May, and painting classes in Pinetop from June to October.
“I have regular weekly classes—one-day all-day painting workshops, a start-to-finish painting class with all supplies included,” Zink says. “They’re geared toward beginners. There’s no major investment. They can test the water and see what they’d like to do. Those are very popular. The one-day workshop is $150, and they take home a 14-inch-by-18-inch painting.”
During the pandemic, Zink took to the web to teach classes.
“I realized in early April that I wasn’t going to be teaching anymore this spring,” she says. “I had to cancel my workshops and my classes. I woke up one morning and had a great idea. I thought, ‘Let’s do some videos.’
“My husband—who’s very supportive—and I started collaborating on what we could do to entertain ourselves and reach out to people who couldn’t take the classes any longer. It started with his instruction and me being silly, like imitating the ‘Gong Show.’ I’ve done 14 so far. I have a Bob Ross wig. I have a blonde bombshell wig. I just make it silly but educational at the same time.”
Zink has garnered more than 4,000 YouTube views and a slew of emails thanking her for what she’s done. She added many art lovers say they’re staying sane during the lockdown with her videos.
“We turned it into something that’s a lot more meaningful than we ever dreamed it would be,” she says. “We’re going to keep it going. It’s fun for us to do. My husband is more involved. He interacts with me when I’m doing the painting demonstration. We’re having a lot of fun together creating these. It’s been a hoot.”