Peggy Gould has put her art on a shelf several times in her life, but a bout with cancer changed her thinking.
"It made me more determined than ever to paint," Gould said. "I had more paintings in me and I did not want life to end."
When Gould was a child, she dreamed of becoming a "real artist" but her parents favored a practical pursuit for their daughter.
So, she married after high school, worked as a secretary and had two children.
During that time she took classes at a local art museum, began a course in illustration and enrolled in art classes at Purdue University in Lafayette, Ind.
Life intruded in the mid-1970s, so for 10 years, she put her art aside.
Then, in 1987 Gould moved to Oregon and was able to return to her "passion."
She opened an apothecary and art shop where she sold her paintings and perfume oils and lotions she created.
When she began to teach art at Portland Community College she could not have know another life-altering event would present itself on her path.
She enjoyed the camaraderie of teaching more than helping her oil painting students understand color and composition.
Then, in one of her classes, a handsome man named John Gould attracted her attention.
"He was the best part of my teaching job," she said.
"I quit soon after we met, when I found I was more interested in the teacher than in the art," John said.
"He paints walls now," Peggy countered with a smile for her other half. As a Christmas present last year, John enclosed the back porch of their home so Peggy could have a studio.
She calls it Cedar Haven because she has always loved the scent of cedar wood and because it is her cozy retreat.
The studio windows overlook a nearby bird feeder, and further away, the hills shaped by the Verde River.
In fact, Gould used a rock formation she can see from her back yard as a model for a painting of a mountain lion.
Most of her paintings are Southwest mountain landscapes.
"I really enjoyed painting seascapes when I lived in the Pacific Northwest, but there is not so much call for them here," Gould said.
Although she is inspired by impressionistic paintings (James Coleman is her favorite) Gould's style is realistic and she prefers to work on one painting until it is done.
"Everybody has a creative gene they can develop and express," she said. "When something I paint gives someone else pleasure, that is a bonus!"
Gould's days to host Artists of the Rim Gallery in Payson are March 7 and March 28.
She is also one of the featured artists there for March.
Name: Peggy Gould
Medium: Oil painting
Advice to beginning artists: Follow your dreams. Do what you love and keep doing it.
Award most proud: First place at the Tillamook County Fair in Oregon for a painting of a Holstein cow titled "Tillamook Sunrise." (The painting is now at Myra's Gallery.)
Motto: The words I live by from Proverbs 3:5. "Trust in the Lord with all your heart but lean not on your understanding."
Why Payson? "Fresh air, clean water, low crime and the beauty, what else? I think this is an artist's paradise."
Upcoming projects: I am looking forward to painting a scene of the Rim with an eagle in it. I just finished painting a Rim scene with an elk. And, I have photos and memories of trips to Hawaii and Panama that I plan to create more paintings from.
Hobby: I am so driven during the day I can't do anything but paint or work.
Movie: The Sandpiper
Type of books: Memoirs
Food: Fresh baked bread and real butter and Fettuccini Alfredo
Music: Andrea Bocelli, Yanni, Kenny G
Points of contact: Artists of the Rim Gallery, Payson, (928) 472-1159, Myra's Gallery, Pine (928) 476-476-2256 and online at www.cedarhave.bravehost.com.