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Marthalyn Fortson Paintings Bio

'Light coming out of Darkness' is a central theme in my life and in my work and has always fascinated me! When light pours through my studio windows, it illuminates a portion of my canvas and gives it a glow. I want to capture that magic. I enjoy being outside and often walk in the woods as a break from painting. At various times of day, the light filtering through the trees, almost mesmerizes me. I want to transfer those dancing shadows, shapes, and patterns to my canvas. Rembrandt and Vermeer are my favorite artists, largely because of their incredible handling of light.


I was born in a small town in Georgia in 1951. Fort Valley was known throughout the world for the best peaches and the home of Blue Bird school buses.  As a child, I always created with my hands with any available resource.  Red Georgia clay became figures and pots.  Once a concrete driveway became my canvas, as I drew my masterpiece with the oily green husk of a pecan.  I spent many hours scrubbing off that drawing but that didn't deter me.  From kindergarten through college, much to the chagrin of my teachers,  I copiously illustrated my notebooks and papers, on the covers, in the margins and in areas I should have been writing information pertinent to class.


At sixteen, I spent several weeks in Honduras living in an abandoned store with another girl my age.  We lived among the people, gave immunizations, and offered the little we had learned in training.  Later, my husband and I went back to Guatemala.  The people in the villages were so colorful and happy.  I drew them every day.


The summer after high school I lived in Europe with a Swiss family.  I can still remember the window in my room opening out to a herb garden and heavily laden cherry tree.  Every morning I would hang my comforter out the window to air, as was the custom there.  I had a beautiful view of the village below with quaint roofs and a steeple.  Of course, I drew them.  The cathedrals and art museums were amazing.


My sophomore year I sailed around the world. When we were at sea, I studied the water, sky and the different cultures. When we ported I would draw the people, buildings, and impressions of aromas and music.  We visited Morocco, Senegal, South Africa, Liberia, Kenya, Japan, Taiwan, India and Hong Kong.  It was a life changing experience.  I have taken classes from internationally known artists, Carla O'Connor, Judi Betts, Robert Johnson, Ben Smith, Bill Davidson and Marc Chatov.  I have spent years studying with Marc and am in a small mentoring group with him.


I have tried many styles, plein air, super realism, modernism, abstract, and non-representational.  I have recently found my niche, where what is coming from me is a unique culmination of all these experiences.  My work is intuitive. I do not plan and visualize my paintings ahead.  It is a process where they evolve in ever changing directions.


My engineer husband and I have a grown daughter, son, daughter-in-law, and one grandchild.  This is a new season in my life with freedom I feel is reflected in my art.  This series is "Light, Shadows, and Victory".



Juried Shows:

Riverdale Jazz Festival

Governor's Tourism Expo

Fine Arts Division, Perry State Fair


Art Studies:

Colleges: GCSU, Mercer University, Wesleyan College, and World Campus Afloat

Mentored by Marc Chatov

Extended work with Bill Davidson

Various workshops including internationally known Carla O'Connor, Judi Betts and Scott Duce


Cover of Magazine, "Ovations"

Featured interviews twice, "Macon Food and Culture"

Past president of Art on the Avenue

Fine Art Association, featured artist

One Man Show, Macon Arts

Member of Middle Georgia Art Association

Purchases by various corporations, universities, and restaurants

Taught adult workshops and children's classes for several years

Traveled in Central America, Asia, and Africa with some extended stays in Europe

Show work in North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia


For more information please email me!