Marilyn Ormsbee Strother is a native of Champaign-Urbana, Illinois where she grew up spending summers on the beaches of Southern California and backpacking with her family in, at the time, virtually unpeopled places like the Sierras. When she was a junior in high school Hallmark bought one of her watercolors for their collection. Marilyn went on to receive her BFA with honors from Mills College in Oakland, California under the tutelage of Ralph Du Casse.

Through years of self-discipline and of having a strong sense of purpose, Marilyn cultivated her talent at every opportunity. She worked as a graphic artist and mural painter, studied watercolor painting under Timothy Clark in California and also under Billy Morrow Jackson at the University of Illinois. She was an artist in the Peace Corps in Nicaragua where she illustrated a book on the flora of the Santiago Volcano National Park. She has exhibited in many one-woman shows and outdoor art fairs across the country. She also has been privileged to show her work in such places as the United Nations in Manhattan and the distinguished Newington-Cropsey Gallery in Hastings-on-Hudson, NY.

Marilyn Strother explores pattern, metaphors and playfulness in her paintings. She is influenced by a lifelong love of nature, many years of gardening and a strong connection to Oriental culture from her years spent in the San Francisco Bay area. Her natural subjects are rendered realistically with great sensitivity to color. Her best artistic moments have been experiencing how relationships in nature and in things reveal themselves. It is remarkable how the flow of pigment in water during the artistic rendering of a leaf or petal is so like the flow of life in the plants themselves. Especially in autumn, one can observe the foliage pigment changing, or retreating from, its growing season colors. Metaphors abound in nature and there is a constant narration of this to the artist as she works.

I prefer to work from life and begin almost all of my watercolors starting with a pencil drawing of the subject directly onto the paper. Many pieces are composites made from two or three different real elements in my surroundings with an imaginary background. For a long time my total range of subjects has been very eclectic, including night scenes, antique elements in still lifes, and Japanese patterns.

"Light is the only actor." Johannes Vermeer 1632-1675 - the original "painter of light"

A few years ago Marilyn began to explore the joys of oil painting and is beginning to include pieces in this medium in her exhibitions.

Selected Exhibitions


Guilds and Associations

Gallery representation

Media and Publications