Among the artists in our community is Ahwatukee Foothills resident Sandra Marshall. She is both a wife and a mother, who spends most of her free time painting from her home studio.
She grew up with a love for art, which quickly became a burning passion. "My first real artistic memory was in the kindergarten when I took an art class with older kids," she said. "I remember the parents pointing to a painting I made of a raccoon asking who made it and they all pointed to me. That moment stuck in my head. I loved having people appreciate my artwork."
As a child Marshall lived in New York and would often find herself painting the beautiful flowers she would watch bloom in the gardens. Her parents were always very supportive of her art, and even supplied her with a fresh coat of white paint on the basement walls so that she could have the freedom to let her mind run wild and paint whatever she wanted.
As Marshall got older her passion for art only grew stronger. She painted portraits and murals full time for about 10 years. She then took her first painting trip to Tuscany, Italy, which changed her entire life. One trip led to another and, eventually, Marshall and one of her college friends started their own company called "Porta a Porta," which means "Door to Door" in Italian.
Her job was to bring people from the U.S., who had an interest in art and cooking, to Italy where she would then teach them how to paint in the Italian hillsides of Tuscany.
"They would sit out in fields of poppies, painting, saying it was like a dream," Marshall said.
For the past several years she has been mainly painting contemporary botanicals.
"My inspiration for this type of artwork came from both the gardens of New York and the poppies of Tuscany," Marshall explained.
Her passion for art doesn't stop there; she strives to share her passion with as many children and adults as she can. As a Daisy Scout leader, Marshall uses art to get the girls interested in community service. Their latest goal is to decorate the white walls of the Ronald McDonald House at Phoenix Children's Hospital.
"We have a big plan coming up to make the walls bring smiles to the kids and families that stay there," Marshall said.
Art has always and will continue to hold a special place in her heart.
"I feel so lucky to have had parents who saw my passion and helped me run with it, and I am forever grateful," Marshall said.
• Kimberly Haug is interning this semester for the "Ahwatukee Foothills News." She is a senior at Arizona State University.