Marthann Masterson proves that it’s never too late to follow your passion. The artist first built up a successful catering career before tapping into a previously unknown passion for painting, and now she expresses her stories and emotions through brushstrokes.
Her paintings evoke deep feelings of past experiences of loss, rejection, and alcoholism. She believes it was divine intervention that lead her to a path into recovery; she’s been sober for 26 years. Now she uses representational art and paintings of chairs to explore human behavior.
“My art reflects feelings I have experienced in the past,” Masterson says, “and although some of the paintings evoke a serious topic, they tell a story about achieving happiness.”
Her first painting was about the vulnerabilities felt growing up as the middle child. The reactions from others showed Masterson that not only can many people relate, but also that recognizing those feelings and finding humor in them is powerful.
The painting was one winner in an international competition sponsored through the nonprofit organization Embracing Our Differences, having been viewed by 50,000 people.
However, Masterson’s passion for cooking and entertaining lead her first to a career in catering. Training under an accomplished French chef, Masterson learned the business before returning to Houston and forming her own catering business.
“I think cooking is art,” Masterson says. “Presentation is everything. To evolve into art, I really didn’t change careers.”
Though her catering business was thriving — she cooked for Mick Jagger, kings, and presidents, and hosted a popular cooking segment on television for a decade — Masterson couldn’t ignore her yearning for something different.
Four years of classes at Glassell School of Art later and Masterson struck out on her own. She paints every day in her studio at Winter Street Studios, telling her stories through representational pieces. The abstracts she paints are an expression of brilliant colors mixed together. They are big and beautiful, full of life. A stack of chairs evokes people interacting; a blast of color can express ultimate joy.
Masterson’s paintings have been exhibited in several spaces, and one of her paintings inspired a ballet in Sarasota, Florida. The colors and energy of Rothko and Pollock inspire her to explore similar vibrancy and freedom in her work, which is truly about sharing feelings and inspiration with others.
“I believe good art should tell a story,” Masterson says. “Mine does.”