My Journey

Marilyn Cummins in her studio at Orr Street Studios.
Photo by Jonathan Asher Photography

It’s never too late to follow a dream. I say that with confidence now, after finally listening to my pent-up desires and letting the artist within me come out to play and learn and create.

I grew up on a farm, surrounded by nature and having a penchant for drawing, whether in crayon on my nursery walls or with pen or pencil on any paper that was in reach. I dug shale clay out of the creek bank to see if I could paint with its muted colors (not really). I devoured the art books my mother provided for my sister and me, then flourished under the guidance of a great teacher at our small high school, Mel Panter.

Then, other than doing a couple of oil paintings at the end of college (in 1980, about the time my next art teacher was being born), I stopped. But the desire didn’t stop – any spare hour during a business trip I would explore art museums; my collection of art supplies and equipment for “some day” grew over the years.

Fast-forward through nearly 30 years post-high-school of working as an ag journalist, moving from Missouri to Philly for 15 years and back, marriage and a son – and I’m back living in Columbia, Mo., a wonderful place for art and artists. Most importantly, home to the teacher who appeared when I was ready, Joel Sager, artist-in-residence and now owner of Sager Braudis Gallery. I loved and admired Joel’s work, not knowing at the time that his parents came from the same rural county I did. I got up the nerve to take the first-ever month-long Workshop Salon he offered in June 2007, and his second a month later.

Then came the turning point, when Joel said he thought I had both the talent and the drive to pursue my art, and invited me to become his first on-going student. His belief in me, his willingness to share his amazing knowledge of art over the next five years of lessons, and sharing a studio for a time, helped me find my voice and footing as an artist in my own right. Ironically, my “voice” came to life while turning my fear/hate relationship with watercolor into love/understanding with Joel’s guidance.

Today I am one of many artists who call Orr Street Studios home. It is an amazing place to interact with each other and the public while creating our art. I encourage you to come visit us, virtually and in person, and to pursue your own creative dreams, no matter your age or time in life. There is an invincible summer in each of us.  – Marilyn