Marilyn Colter lived her early years on her family’s generational ranch in rural Arizona close to an Apache Indian reservation in Apache County. Her grandfather had a close relationship with the nearby Apache’s trial leader and took Colter with him on his visits, where she embraced a strong affinity and respect for the tribe’s culture. One can tell the impact these experiences have had on her creativity.
Colter believes she chose watercolor as her creative medium because, as she looks back, her mother gave her a set of watercolors when she was 5 years old. Although her mom was just trying to entertain her while she got her housework done, the medium stuck. Colter’s chosen media has been watercolor every since.
Later, her family moved to a farm in Timnath, Colorado, near Fort Collins, which had good schools and Colorado State University. After marriage and two children, she attended CSU, getting a journalism degree, which helped land an editor job with a local newspaper. Colter’s writing and editing career took off, and she won several awards for excellence from the Colorado Press Association.
During this time, Colter continued to paint, and eventually she realized painting was her path. She opened an art gallery in the village of Red Feather Lakes, Colorado, where she sold her paintings and others’. She also taught painting classes.
After suffering from some health issues, Colter decided she would like a new start. She visited Trinidad with the encouragement of friends and found the small ranching town to her liking. The town also had the beginning of an art community. She felt at home.
Colter became a member of the co-op Corazon Gallery in , selling her paintings and establishing a following. She recently sold work to the new Cancer Center at the local hospital.
Her affinity for nature gives her work a mystical quality that appeals to an individual’s viewing of her paintings, which are timeless and enduring.