It’s very possible that neighbors might see Rochester Artist, Peggy Martinez, photographing flowers in and around her neighborhood in the town of Chili, where she resides with her husband, Cesar, daughter, Rebecca, and two active puppies. They may even invite her to their backyards, exchange flowers and offer a cup of coffee! Peggy Martinez takes hundreds of photos to find the perfect one to serve as a muse for a painting. Flowers aren’t the only subjects she paints, but it’s the one subject she consistently goes back to and enjoys.
Peggy Martinez, a self- taught artist was born in Rochester, New York. She is one of four children born to Margo and Domingo Martinez. Peggy’s entire family moved to Puerto Rico in 1971 to see if the warmer climate would improve her younger sister’s asthma who later succumbed to the illness at the age of 33, after their return to Rochester.
The artist enjoyed drawing at a very early age, but the extra spark occurred at the Rochester Puerto Rican Festival founded by her father. The festival at the time held a children’s art contest in which Peggy entered at the age of 8 years old. When Peggy’s name was called out as the 1st place winner, Peggy thought she had won the lotto! The prize could not be more fitting as it was an Art drawing kit. This ignited the artist with a lifelong love for art.
Peggy attended Kutztown State College, in Kutztown, Pa. She moved back to Rochester and started working part-time at Marine Midland Bank. She had two beautiful daughters from her first marriage, Francesca and Jasmine Simei. In addition to being a homemaker she made a career out of banking. During a back to school shopping spree for her daughters, Peggy purchased inexpensive watercolor materials to give it a try; a purchase that turned into a 14 year commitment. Peggy read every book and watched every video related to watercolors and exhausted all the resources at the local library. Peggy attended classes and workshops with nationally award winning artists. Today, Peggy teaches, exhibits, lectures, demonstrates and judges art shows. Painting has become her passion and outlet which she enjoys very much.
In addition to showcasing the beauty in flowers, Peggy paints home portraits and landscapes. Feeling the most comfortable painting flowers, Peggy sees the life of a flower one that imitates life. In photographing a full bloom, she notices the buds underneath, as if the mother was protecting her child. As the flowers go through their changes, this artist sees the life, death, and struggle that are very similar to life.
The artist created an award winning art collection titled “Gift of the Rose”, a collection of a variety of roses in different colors, that speak to the stages of life. The fine art collection in oil paints is dedicated in memory of her sister, Margarita “Margie” Martinez, which we mentioned earlier succumbed to a lifelong battle with chronic asthma in 1999. Margie left two young children to the care of their mother. For Peggy this affected her tremendously and it was the perfect opportunity for her to raise awareness to asthma and its affects.
In addition to many awards and recognition for her art, Peggy felt the greatest highlight in her career was creating a painting in 8 minutes as collaboration with the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra as part of the 3 day educational series performances for 15,000 children in Monroe County. The artist painted a watercolor in 8 minutes to Tchaikovsky “Romeo and Juliet Overture”. Although it was nerve wrecking, it was an incredible opportunity that led to other speed painting collaboration with musicians and a professional story-tellers at an art gallery in Syracuse and at the Memorial Art Gallery in Rochester.
Although Peggy continues to work in banking, she continues to paint for private businesses and has built a website; peggymartinez.net, where she showcases her art. Peggy also participates at several art festivals during the summer, including the Naples Art Festival, Letchworth Art Festival, Cornhill and Clothesline Art Festival and the Allentown Art Festival where she has won awards. During the winter, she teaches oil painting for all level skills at a Different Path Art Gallery. She has been featured on PBS, Democrat & Chronicle as “Woman to Watch”, El Mensajero, Gates-Chili Post and Imagen promoting asthma awareness. Her artwork has been featured in American Art Collector and Still Points Art Quarterly magazine.
This Latina is definitely a woman to watch. Her paintings are magnificent and each painting speaks to individuals as it captures their attention.