My art career had me going all around the block, figuratively speaking. I mean, I have done lots of different things in the quest to express myself. I started painting seriously in the 70’s and 80’s when we moved south to the warm climate of Florida. Previously, I had a studio where I taught painting privately and I had a regular crowd of students week by week. My college dual-degree was in Fine Art and Education. So, when I was raising small kiddos, it was the best way to parent and use my gifts for others, while working part-time.
Living in Florida, I decided to hone my skills so that I could compete in art exhibits on a professional level. A Masters Degree in Fine Art was not possible for me at the time due to finances and tuition costs. I had made the decision that my children’s education was more important. I already had two degrees at this point, strangely on both ends of the spectrum. I had earned an R.N in 1979. Here’s why! I had been teaching art in the public schools of north New Jersey in the’60s. Schools were beginning to drop art and use the funds to Math and Science programs. I saw the art programs in the schools as being easily disposable. This was now the age of NASA and space exploration and we aspired to make our kids scientists rather than artists.
A previous goal of mine was to become a nurse. Art was for my enjoyment. However, now I had to determine if I would still be in a job or should I follow my previous plan to go to Nursing School. Just as long as there were sick people, I would have a job. I figured out how I could work full time in nursing and still paint and keep my art career going. During the seventies through the nineties, I painted seriously and entered national juried exhibits. This venture really honed my skills. I had to deal with rejection of not getting into an exhibit without getting discouraged. I joined a professional group of women artists who got together for critiques one a week. This was one of the most valuable things I did!
I do not want to sound vain, but I really needed critique from people who were at my level of art or higher. If golfers wants to get better, they play with BETTER players. They may lose a lot but they learn a lot too! Besides, you learn to grow a ‘thicker skin’ to take the contest rejections in stride. It was at this time, I had some of my work published in 3 art books by Rockport Publishers and received many art awards and Best in Shows. As I look back now, I see God’s hand in it all. How did this publisher find me to ask me to send them slides of my work? I have no idea except that it had to be God who gave me my gift in the first place and wanted to use it.
I realize many of you are not spiritually inclined and that is fine with me. However, if I am to share the truth of what happened to me, I have to be forthright. God gave me favor. God opened doors for me. Some of those doors would have been very unlikely if He had not done it. So through it, I learned to include Him in my plans and to even trust Him with my career. I let Him take the reigns by prompting me to explore different venues.
My Etsy Shop is His idea. I retired from teaching last June after 24 years in the teaching profession. Yes, I am older than dirt so there are not may jobs around for me. God gave me the idea to open an Etsy Shop since I have so many paintings to sell, but He also wanted it more for those who would buy my art. He wanted me to have a spiritual side in my art. He gave me the idea to start a canvas by paining a blessing that He would give me from Scripture, right onto the raw canvas. I mean, actually printing it out in paint. Then I was to paint over it completely and only allow parts of the blessing to come through the resulting painting. Somehow, this spoke to me because His idea was not about ME but about people who would be blessed by my art.
Truthfully, I am past the point in my life where I am looking for self-promotion or for a career featured in the limelight. I am satisfied with what I have done with my life. I have run a really good race. This was how ‘Artfully Blessed’ and this website were born. You can find my shop easily on Etsy.com and by simply searching ‘Gegerson’ or ‘MarshArt’.
What is left for me in my present venture? I want to improve MarshArt.Com. I have tons more artwork to post and want to improve my web page. Next, I plan to sell my bigger paintings as giclee prints. I am going to be 78 soon and I am not ready to lay down my paintbrush. I am studying the ins and outs of ‘search engine optimization’ and social media. I decided I really have to be a Renaissance Woman if I want to keep up with the times. It is exciting, baffling and somewhat scary as I venture into cyber world.
Perhaps my life ventures will help you find your niche of how to produce art and what you want to do with it. I hope so. The world needs artists and the color and beauty because everything is so gray and dark. Play in your art. Grow in it. Then begin to share it like I have.