Artist Statement

2021 Open Studio Information:
I'm excited to have participated in my first "Open Studio." Now I'm back at work in my studio located in Santa Cruz and doing what I love best, creating art to sooth my restless soul.

Artist Statement:

After losing my husband, Noel Smith, to cancer right before COVID, I pulled out my dry watercolor paints and created a series of letter size paintings called "Healing from Grief." This inspired me to paint a larger variety of watercolors. This process has helped me to immerse myself in a new world. Most of my paintings are void of a horizon, allowing the viewer to take a tranquil journey with me.

The fragmented feelings I experienced had me cutting up a few watercolor paintings and methodically assembling them into geometric patterns. As a result, I'm learning how to reorganize my life and understand that it's never too late to begin again.

Marsha's Artist Journey Begins:

Marsha's love for art started when she was in elementary school. A fourth-grade teacher held up her picture and told the class how beautiful it was. This encouraging moment motivated her to continue her love of art. She was brave enough to enter art contests of all kinds and won several First Prizes for her work. For example, in high school she won the "All County Banner Contest." Marsha created a banner for a local club and won first prize in the State of California. As a parent Marsha's love for art was shared with her three children. Once her children were grown it was time to begin a lifelong dream of attending art school.

Marsha's Journey as a Professional Artist:

This journey started in 1982 after graduating from the California College of Arts in Oakland, California.

Marsha's first sale was a watercolor called "Morning Mist," held in a collection of work at Verbatim Corp. Shortly after, she was selected as one of the fine artists who sold a series of original watercolor paintings of botanicals during the Oakland Museum of Natural Science's annual "Natural Crafts Fair." One of her watercolors, a Snowy Owl, was reproduced by a client as a limited-edition print and sold at the Oakland Museum, the California Academy of Science, and also in "The Nature Company" stores around the Bay area. She was invited by Jacquie Marie Vaux, Realistic Animal & Nature artist, to sell original watercolor paintings along with her limited-edition Snowy Owl print at a San Rafael gallery. Marsha also worked with a Bay area interior designer. One of her commissions was a large fabric piece for a hotel in Sausalito, CA. George Lucas and a few of the Star Wars characters were present at the reception.

Her employment history, before art school, was in administration. Therefore, she thought working for a Silicon Valley company in corporate advertising would be a perfect fit but as a creative artist, Marsha found this unfulfilling. Another job opportunity led her to move to Santa Cruz.

During this time, Marsha purchased one of the first MacIntosh computers and joined a small group of people who traveled to Steve Jobs' Cupertino headquarters to learn how to use it. With this first little computer she created the graphics for a newsletter that turned into a 20-page bi-monthly newspaper that Marsha published with her husband.

Starting in 2006, Marsha began teaching a popular "Watercolor Techniques" class for adults called "Have Fun & Get Wild with Watercolor."™ She also wrote and illustrated a series of children’s “UnFROGetable” picture books that are sold by and made author visits at elementary schools. She had fun entertaining children, teenagers and adults at civic, commercial and corporate events as a Face Painter.  It was an honor when Sally Bookman painted Marsha in her beautiful book, “Sand Between Your Toes” which depicts local scenes and events in Santa Cruz, CA.

Many years after producing the Snowy Owl poster, a four-year old girl, saw Marsha's framed print for sale. She asked her dad to buy it for her because she wanted to be an artist just like the person who painted the owl. Marsha was surprised when she picked up the phone to hear the dad, who called from Minnesota, telling her the story. The little girl shared her precious artwork with Marsha and they became Facebook friends for a long time.

Marsha always told her children, grandchildren and watercolor students that we never know who is encouraged when we share our talents and artwork with others. Always do it willingly and often because if it wasn't for Marsha's 4th grade teacher she may have never launched on this artist journey.


2563 Aaron Drive, Santa Cruz, CA, USA

(Mobil) 831/462-2501