Marlys (Marley) Wright Smith

I have always liked to draw but never had the chance to pursue it. We only had art until the 8th grade, nothing in High School. Married right out of High School and raising 5 son’s didn’t give me a great deal of time to draw. I actually wanted to be a dress designer when I graduated from High School.

In my late 30’s I discovered decorative painting. This is a method painting which was easily taught through learning strokes and techniques; using other people’s patterns. Since I had lost several years to train in drawing, this appealed to me. I began using other artist’s patterns and eventually evolved into designing my own patterns as many decorative artists do. I have learned from many very talented, nationally known Master decorative artists, as well as Master Norwegian Rosemalers from Norway and the United States, through the years.

I owned and operated a Painting Shop for 8 years during the 70’s and 80’s, where I taught along with 7 other teachers and we sold supplies. I taught decorative painting for the San Lorenzo Adult School for 14 years. I began painting and teaching Rosemaling pretty much exclusively in the mid 1980’s. Rosemaling is the Norwegian folk painting which dates back to the 1700’s.   It consists of stylized flowers and Scroll work. Norwegian being my heritage made it special. I also have studied and pursued the folk arts of Germany, Sweden, Holland and Russia.

My ornaments have hung in the Smithsonian Museum, the White House and Blair House, in Washington DC, the Sacramento State Capitol and John Olague Rotunda at the Hayward City Hall.

I have participated in Norway Day Festival in San Francisco for over 20 years as well as a variety of Festivals and Fairs throughout the Bay Area.

My teaching of Folk Art and Rosemaling has taken me to many places in California.