Jacob’s Ladder Blog is thrilled to welcome the artist Marianne Paluso to our Artist’s Page!
When l first discovered Marianne’s artistic creativity, I could immediately see her love for children through the sweet and whimsical characters she painted; they evoked memories of the toys l had played with as a child, and the fun l had in dreaming and creating my own artwork. I was also drawn to Marianne’s attention to detail and the combination of soft and vibrant hues she uses, as well as her application of varying mediums such as watercolors, acrylics, and pastels.
Upon increasing my acquaintance with her, l was moved by Marianne’s gentle, humble nature and her incredible heart to help others. It is Marianne’s fervent desire to bring clarity to those who question their purpose in life and to make them aware that God has a good plan for them. Life is full of seasons, Marianne states, and what doesn’t make sense to you in this season, God will use for your good in the next with His perfect timing. You are gifted, blessed, and His precious child, and His grace will always be with you.
We hope you enjoy viewing Marianne’s artwork and listening to her songs, and that her story touches your heart as it did mine!
Blog banner: “Showers of Blessings”
Who l am
My name is Marianne Paluso. I live in East Tennessee very near the Smoky Mountain National Park. I am a wife, a mother, and a grandmother. I am a retired nurse of 42 years; however, presently, I work as a stay-at-home artist.
A life bridge and the truths l learned from walking across it
I am so honored to be asked to participate in the Artist’s Page for Jacob’s Ladder Blog.
I want to share some of my story that built a bridge between what I had hoped to become and what I eventually became.
I have learned 2 valuable truths while walking across this life bridge:
Truth No. 1 – God’s timing is perfect.
Truth No. 2 – I believe that we have different gifts for different seasons of our lives.
An encouragement for those of you who are asking themselves, “What am l doing here?”
I do hope that the life lessons l share with you in this space will speak to someone who may be reading this and asking themselves, “What am I doing here?”
My childhood and how l discovered my love for the arts
Let me start my story with my childhood.
I had a wonderful time growing up on a farm in Ohio where I could wander about, enjoy nature, reach out and touch a dog, a pony, or a lamb. However, something was missing – other kids! I was very lonely and somewhat introspective. Out of this grew a great imagination. From early on, I was drawn to the arts.
Music and painting were my love and my friend. In fact, l first colored and painted with my grandmother. Therefore, when I graduated from high school, l enrolled in college to study art.
A career change
However, during this time my dad became critically ill and died. My mother decided to pull me from art school and enroll me in a nursing program. She reasoned that an artist “would starve in a ditch”.
I was a nurse for 42 years. I did not resent the career change, because I learned to look at nursing as a healing art. The recipe for nursing includes skill, perseverance, much compassion, and sometimes even a pinch of humor.
Additionally, I learned great empathy, which I have drawn upon many times in my writing and art.
Music and incorporating God’s Word
While working as a nurse, I needed a creative outlet. Therefore, I began writing and performing as a singer-songwriter, which I did for about 10 years.
At that time, I wrote folk music from a Christian perspective. All of my songs are stories full of truth and symbolism, which point back to the gospel of Christ.
My husband and I produced 2 albums. The first, Greener Grass, was very direct in its Christian message, and most of the songs were straight from Scripture. I will be re-releasing Greener Grass on my website Little House Treasures in the near future.
The following is an audio recording of one of the songs on the Greener Grass album, “Tiny Baby’s Majesty”:
The second album, Miss Lucy’s House, was more indirect in its scriptural nature; however, the symbolism is heavy between home and heaven. This album can be purchased on my website Little House Treasures.
The following is an audio recording of “Miss Lucy’s House”, which is the lead track from the eponymous album Miss Lucy’s House:
I also had a small music ministry in surrounding states visiting colleges, festivals, and churches. I always felt that I wanted my music to reach everyone but especially those who did not know anything about Jesus.
One time, I was doing a Passion Play pre-performance, where a group of high school students were attending. I overheard one of them ask, “Who was Jesus?”
I couldn’t even imagine it at first, but yes – there are folks who don’t know who Jesus is!
It became my mission to reach these people: I wanted to teach them about Jesus through my story songs.
What happened to the music?
At this point, I lost my brother. This affected me deeply, and I lost my way. As a result, I locked up my music studio and never went back.
It took my heart a very long time to begin to heal. I battled anger and depression. I couldn’t listen to music, because it was too beautiful, yet too painful.
My spirit was crushed but God knew me. He had plans for me. He was holding me up, as I walked across life’s bridge.
What healed me?
There were many tears after my brother passed away. However, what healed my heart was God’s continual quiet voice whispering, “Keep going, you are worth it.”
I also was blessed by a godly husband, who stood by my side even when it was rough waters. When I was sinking, my husband was my comfort, my confidante, and my support.
Further down the road, the birth of my first grandchild also healed my heart. Now l have a second grandchild! All are blessings and promises of God’s love.
I want to say this: Never underestimate the prayers of your grandparents and the effect of those prayers on your life. Paul addresses this to Timothy in 2 Timothy1:5 (KJV). I know I was prayed for by my grandmother, and I pray for my children and their children. Those prayers live on.
If your heart is broken today, go ahead and release your tears, for they are precious to God. In Psalm 56:8, King David says, “You number my wanderings; put my tears into Your bottle; are they not in Your book?”
Your tears are so precious to the Lord.
Why did I start painting?
After I retired from nursing, I had to do something as a creative outlet. It is hard leaving a highly regimented job and to then move forward in life “allowing my whimsy to run free”. I felt like I was being frivolous and naughty!
And yet, I was acutely aware that I was venturing into a new season.
I started doodling and painting and found that my granddaughter loved what I was doing. She and I had so much fun painting together!
However, I struggled with the idea that to be godly meant l shouldn’t be having fun, which isn’t true. If you are struggling with such thoughts as an artist, please knock it off! God loves you and has called you with a holy calling (James 1:17)! You can enjoy your life while you exercise the gifts He has given you!
So, that is what l did. As a result, I have built a cottage industry of designing patterns for my simple paintings that allow others to recreate them. My desire is for grandmothers, mothers, dads – in fact, anyone who wants to create – to find joy in painting, especially with the children in their lives.
Living in God’s perfect timing
The full circle of life is not lost on me. God knew the desires of my heart, which was the arts. He knew the perfect time and the perfect seasons to grant me these desires. It took many years, but He allowed me the privilege of experiencing both music and painting and to help others enjoy them too. Such an act of God’s grace causes me to weep with joy and gratitude. What a mighty God we serve!
If you feel you are wandering in the desert and are crying out, “What am I doing here?”, God hears you! He’s protecting you as He waits for the perfect time and the perfect season to bless you.
Trust in Him!
My most endearing art project – The Puddin’ Pie Girls
As a child, I played with paper dolls. I loved them. I particularly loved the sets which were the Lennon Sisters. I know most of you are asking, “What??? Who????”
Inspired by my childhood toys, I had in my mind a design for wooden dolls that could be painted and played with. Hence, in 2017, I designed the “Puddin’ Pie Girls” series. This started as a fun project with my granddaughter.
For some reason, I submitted my first Puddin’ Pie Girl to Painting Ezine, an online digital download painting magazine. And lo and behold, it was on the cover of their October issue in 2018!
Meanwhile, I have 5 Puddin’ Pie Girl designs and am just completing my 6th.
The painting patterns and step-by-step instructions for painting the Puddin’ Pie Girls, as well as my other pictures, are available for purchase on my website Little House Treasures. I also offer completed works for purchase and wooden painting surfaces.
All my products can be viewed in the gallery on my website.
Biblical inspiration and advice
Matthew 18:3-4 is very compelling to me. Jesus tells us to become as little children and to humble ourselves.
This is my goal as an artist. I try to look at things through a child’s eyes. Whatever is wholesome and pure, innocent and playful, whimsical and fun – this is my outlook on the things around me.
I believe the Holy Spirit whispers an idea and the child in me takes it and runs with it! Just when I think my work is complete, He whispers, “Go a little further.”
I never go with my initial finished work, because I know more will come. A word of advice is to sleep on it!
If you are inspired to start writing or painting, I would advise you to always write down any and all ideas, no matter how big or small: snippets of songs, sketches, things you have seen, ideas that you may want to refer back to – whatever comes to you. Keep them always! You will return to them again and again.
Why do that, you ask?
At times, my creative cup bubbles over; other times, it waits to be filled. That’s when I am thankful for the things I have jotted down along the way!
Challenges as a Christian Artist
Having done both music and painting, the pressure is great to go the way of the mainstream industry.
You will have well-meaning friends, publishers, and others giving you advice to change a lyric, shorten a song, create a new hook, or make your art more appealing to a wider audience by compromising on your original concept. I gave in to some of these things in the past, and it left me feeling sad and regretful.
I encourage you to stay the course. Some advice is instructional, but some is going to take you off your path. Pray for discernment always.
Stir up the gifts of God
2 Timothy 1:6 says to “stir up the Gift of God which is in you.”
God knew you before time began and laid out a plan for your life, bestowing special gifts upon you.
Keep your focus on the gifts God has given you. They are special, precious, and unique, and the world needs them.
I hope that in some small way, my words have encouraged you to keep your eyes on the course that was set before you by the One who created you.
When you find yourself asking, “Lord, what am I doing here?”, be assured that there will come a day when it will all come full circle and be made known.
God wants the best for you, His child. He is eternally patient with you and has good things in store for you. His timing is perfect and just because you are doing plumbing today, in the next season you may be doing electrical wiring! Not to worry, because you are still building a house for Him!
Life is not static but remains fluid until the end. Go with God’s flow!
P.S. Dear Mom, I am not starving in a ditch!
Special words of thanks
I thank God for the gifts He has laid upon me, special gifts for different seasons of my life.
I thank God for my husband, who has always supported me and stood by me during rough sailing on choppy waters.
I thank God for my children and grandchildren, who are bright stars in the sky and influence me daily.
You can also purchase my CD Miss Lucy’s House from my website, Little House Treasures:
Feel free to write me an email!
Email address: email@example.com
About Marianne Paluso: