I am a self-taught artist who paints realistic paintings with tiny little details. I have always been “crafty” in one way or another—from knitting, sewing, and writing poetry in my youth, to needle point, decorative painting, and rug hooking as an adult raising 6 children.

I didn’t immerse myself in painting, however, until after being diagnosed with Parkinson disease. Painting realistic scenes in acrylics may be not the easiest thing for someone with Parkinson disease, but I needed the challenge to keep me focused on something other than my disability. The process is meditative, therapeutic, and often frustrating. My work is often dependant on the whims of my disease. Days that I am just too shaky to paint, I work on my website and try to teach and encourage others.

My preferred medium is acrylic, but I also enjoy drawing with graphite or charcoal and dabbling in watercolors, pastels, and anything else that comes along. I love taking a photograph and making it better than reality by adding more vibrant colors or focusing on an aspect that might get overlooked by the viewer—like the dew drops on a flower. My art focuses on celebrating the normalcy of life in a brighter, more focused way. Lately I have been realizing this may be a Freudian attempt to make my own reality better.

See Marilyn’s gallery here.

I started a website as kind of an online diary a few years ago. It has grown to become a teaching tool and a way to encourage others with neurologic illnesses find joy in art. Today, my art is less about me and what I create and more about how I use it to encourage others. Selling a painting isn’t nearly as satisfying as having someone who suffered a stroke say, “You’ve inspired me to try and paint again!”

I know as time goes on, I will no longer be able to paint such detail and will have to change my painting style, but I am looking forward to the change. I am excited to see where art will take me despite what my body can no longer do. Sometimes adversity brings positive changes into your life.

When life shakes you up, embrace the tremors and work with them!