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My Story | Mary Elizabeth Peterson

In 1997 I had 11 hours of life-saving brain surgery. I decided then: "if I can't paint, pull the plug." I rehabbed, finished art school and promptly gave birth to twins. So much for the timing of my career! I wasn't able to get serious about my art until 2010. Somehow, as if by some magic I don't understand, my art found a following of collectors, museum curators and businesspeople who even today sell it worldwide and put it in movies and hotels and such. I'm shocked by it all and so grateful.

In 2017 I had brain surgery to improve the old fix, but complications led to strokes. Plural. It took seven months, but I made a full recovery. I'm still working on my "come back" in the studio. My art is a different than before. I haven't been so sure about it. My progress has been slow and my output limited. Some days I've thought I'd lost my art or my best work was behind me and I should hang up my smock.

Recently, I was juried into an exhibit with my new work by a curator with excellent credentials. I can't even find the words. I've struggled back from the brink of death three times, and yes, it IS a feat to be a multiple time self-taught walker, button buttoner, etc. But I don't believe in talent. You learn your art skills or any other skill for that matter with practice. Or you lose it through the lack thereof. But finding The Art Spirit again? Now that, dear hearts, is YUGE.

Art cannot be separated from life. It is the expression of the greatest need of which life is capable, and we value art not because of the skilled product, but because of its revelation of a life’s experience.
— Robert Henri