Martha Pettigrew has been part of the Celebration of Fine Art family for 25 years. In that time, she’s experimented with both sculpture and painting. She finds creative inspiration everywhere and is never afraid to go where it leads.
Martha believes we all have an artist within us and she has followed her inner artist from museum halls where she worked as a scientific illustrator to the streets of Mexico, where she first drew inspiration for her colorful oil paintings. She shares more about her creative journey below.
How did you get started in art?
I really think that every small child is an artist at heart until something happens and they quit. I just didn’t quit. I just kept doing it.
I have a bachelor of fine arts degree from the University of Nebraska. I worked as a scientific illustrator for a museum for about six years. My husband and I raised racehorses for a while, and then I got into the art business.
How has your art evolved?
Starting as a scientific illustrator, my work was very tight. I did a lot of black and white, pencil and pen and ink. When I started doing sculpture, I started by doing figures and horses. Then I went into other kinds of animals and some abstract, and it’s evolved into a lot of different things.
I got back into painting after we got home from a trip to Mexico. We had gone five or six times to learn Spanish. I was really influenced by the color and the vivacity of life; I decided to start painting again. I started by doing some little Mexican street scenes –– doors, windows, alleyways, colorful buildings –– and it just evolved into all the work I’m doing now.
What inspires your work?
I can be inspired by just about anything, from a building to a landscape, to a rock, a wave, a cloud –– anything I see can lead to something artistic.
What makes the Celebration of Fine Art unique?
All the people we meet –– the clients, the other artists. I come here, not only to sell my work and to expand my horizons, but to reunite with my artist friends. We see the same people year after year. We make new friends every year, too, but there is a core of artists here. It’s like a big dysfunctional family, you might say.