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Childhood Visits to the Art Institute Nurtured Marybeth Devine's Emerging Talent

Marybeth Devine, a Downers Grove, IL resident, considers herself lucky for her early introduction to fine art by her mother.

Killen Thomas Woods, County Kildare, Ireland; 11 x 14 oil on canvas (Scroll down for more of Marybeth's artwork)

When Marybeth was a little girl, her mom frequently took her to visit the Art Institute of Chicago – a fond memory that still resonates with her today. Her mother also enrolled her in the art museum’s children’s programming further fostering her daughter’s abilities.

At home Marybeth was surrounded by engaging picture books with colorful illustrations that captured her eye especially one favorite with Van Gogh’s sunflower painting on the cover. No surprise that her favorite pastime also included drawing, painting, and coloring.

“As a kid, I really liked hearing adults say I had talent,” Marybeth recalls. “However, it took me a very long time to understand that talent wasn’t finite. I always believed you were born with a certain amount of talent and that was it. I didn’t fully understand yet that talent can be developed and expanded upon.”

After high school, the Art Institute of Chicago readily accepted her as a student. However, before long, she decided to transfer to DePaul University switching majors from art to marketing.

“Although I loved my time as an art student, I started asking myself the question, ‘But how do I earn a living?’”

After 30 years in the workforce doing just that – earning a living – Marybeth picked up a paintbrush again and hasn’t looked back.

“I was always buying art supplies, but I didn’t do anything with them,” she recalls during her years as a busy professional.

Although she used her artistic talent in her marketing positions through art direction or photography, it wasn’t until retiring that she could devote time to painting again and resuming art classes.

Marybeth is a versatile artist working in oil, acrylic, and watercolor. Her favorite subjects often include landscapes and are usually based on a reference photograph she’s taken. She also creates color-rich abstracts.

“I’m inspired by color, love nature, and enjoy creating landscapes that often include a bird or animal,” she says. “I also love the energy of how different colors interact with each other.”

Gravitating toward a style she calls “impressionistic realism” gives her the freedom to add exciting elements of additional color that wouldn’t necessarily be reflected using a more realistic approach.

During the pandemic, Marybeth painted outside when weather allowed. She also took advantage of painting with friends through safe-distance backyard painting together or via ZOOM. These activities helped replace the loss of camaraderie art classes would normally provide.

Biggest Challenge?

“I’m still working on becoming a better artist, “she replies. “Focusing on building skills and getting better, staying loose, and remaining inspired -- getting a painting to look the way I want it to – these are ongoing challenges. However, I want this process to be fun, not a job.”


“Innate talent is not that important,” she says. “I’ve watched adults start painting for the first time in their lives and become amazing artists. Don’t limit yourself. No one has a finite amount of talent – put your mind to trying something new, work hard, and enjoy the process.”

From March 4, 2021 to April 10, 2021, her work can be seen at Elmhurst Art Museum in the Elmhurst Artists’ Guild Winter Members Show. Marybeth’s artwork is priced from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand framed. Quality prints of her original artwork are also available. Visit her website at: Home (

Pink Flower; 8 x 10 alcohol ink

Dripping Red; 24 x 24 acrylic

Cliff of Moher, Ireland; 11 x 14 oil on canvas

Wisconsin River, Upper Dells; 11 x 14 oil on canvas

Leopard at Brookfield Zoo; 11 x 10 oil on canvas


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