An Interview with artist Marilyn Todd Daniels

Posted on December 31, 2015

You will soon be eighty. How do you feel about that? Will you still paint?

I think eighty is the new sixty-eight. Physically and mentally I don’t feel a great deal different from when I was teaching art at Collin College in McKinney (TX) at 68. After a lifetime of motivating reluctant freshmen and sophomores, I only retired at seventy-five to practice what I preached.

Having retained all my original body parts, I am still trying to devise ways to deal with knees that don’t quite do the job for which they were designed, like college freshmen. As for painting, I cannot envision life without a working studio. Musicians perform into great ages, and visual artists as well. Our works are our viva voce… our living voice.

What was your greatest triumph?

Hard to say. Perhaps learning to laugh in the face of adversity–rearing small children as a single mom, or getting a doctorate in spite of three teenagers or painting 400 large oil paintings for Furrs Cafeterias in six years. Perhaps it was the forty illustrated articles I wrote for Equine Images Magazine. In the arts, rejection is a given. Madness is not an uncommon reaction to too many disappointments. With the help of God and a supportive family, however, I avoided a padded cell. It also helps to be born in Oklahoma, a state where the crops will always be better next year… we just keep on going.

What was your greatest failure?

Probably relationships with husbands. Two divorced me and the last one died. This may be because my passions revolved around children, painting, travelling, horses, teaching and writing — not serving supper on time. However, without them I would not be where I am now, grateful to have experienced marriage with wonderful kids.

What is your greatest fear?

Not to accomplish the purposes for which God sent me. There are few fears that cannot be vanquished by faith in Christ. However, I want to move around the easel to speak plainly about my life as an artist and follower of Jesus. My generation lived through WWII, where the purpose was to win at any cost.. Thus I remain at heart a soldier like my father, whose battle stars were the result of the bloody south Pacific. After Guadalcanal, he came home with malaria and finished WWII as an instructor of field artillery at Ft. Sill, OK. I feel he still watches over me.

One size does not fit all, but I invite those of you who have followed Jesus to the cross to share with me in the joy of creation through the visual arts

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