After losing my husband to cancer before COVID, I pulled out my dry watercolor paints and created a series of 30+ letter size paintings called "Healing from Grief." This series inspired me to paint a larger variety of watercolors, launching me into a new sense of excitement as a Fine Artist.
The patterned designs of many of my watercolor paintings are void of a horizon, allowing the viewer to enter a tranquil world with me. Some of my paintings include gouache archival ink on 140 lb. Arches watercolor paper. In addition, I paint to the bleed which allows me (on a few paintings) to cut and reassemble pieces of the original artwork, dry mounting the new arrangement on acid free mat board. UV archival conservation glass is also used on all my framed artwork.
I'm excited to be participating in my first "Open Studio" and invite you to join me October 9, 10, 16, 17 (2nd and 3rd weekend in October). Look for me in the "Open Studios Art Tour Guide" Catalogue No. 273 or contact me at Marsha@Strong-SmithStudio.com
Marsha's Artist Journey Begins:
Marsha's love for art started when she was in elementary school. A fourth-grade teacher held up a picture she painted and told the class how beautiful it was. This encouraging moment motivated her to enter art contests. In high school Marsha won First Prize in the "All County Banner Contest." She created a banner for a local club and won first prize in the State of California plus other awards for her art. Creating art projects with her three children while they were growing up, also gave them a love for art. 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 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