Ann Aves Martin of Columbia, who decided late in life to pursue a love of art she had felt since childhood, died of complications from osteoarthritis April 15 at Gilchrist Center for Hospice Care. She was 72.
Born in New York City, she grew up in Grand Rapids, Mich., and graduated from East Grand Rapids High School in 1953.
In 1957, she earned her bachelor's degree in French from Rockford College in Illinois. During her junior year there, Mrs. Martin attended the University of Paris - La Sorbonne.
"She loved French and French things before that, but it really cemented it," recalled her husband, Donald L. Martin. "In France they thought she was from the provinces; her accent was that good."
After graduation, she held jobs in advertising and broadcasting, including one as a makeup artist for Merv Griffin in Chicago.
Her marriage in 1957 to George Lukidis produced one child, but ended in divorce two years later.
After a series of teaching jobs, she attended the University of Arkansas, where she met and married Mr. Martin, then a graduate student in English.
In the years that followed, she followed her husband to college teaching positions in Illinois, Washington State, Ohio, Mississippi and Virginia, working at home and in various other jobs in writing, editing and design.
It was in Richmond that she began to pursue an interest in art that her upbringing had discouraged as impractical. She studied with Richmond artists John Torres and Ann Lyne. She also attended the Art Student's League in Manhattan, and workshops in Vermont and Arizona with Wolf Kahn and David Leffel. She won a six-week fellowship at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts.
"It took her a while before she had the chutzpah to identify herself as an artist," her husband said. But in Richmond her paintings began to show and sell.
By the time her husband moved to a new job in Columbia in 1993, Martin was an established artist. Her works were purchased for corporate collections, the Federal Reserve Bank in Richmond and numerous private collections.
"A colorist at heart, she played her colors against one another in landscapes and still lifes," her husband wrote. "The point was the bounce of the colors, but letting those colors form recognizable objects."
In Maryland, she took studio space at Savage Mill, and was later chosen to join artists in the Howard County Center for the Arts, where she continued to work until early last year.
Artist Wynn Creasy of Alexandria, Va., counts Mrs. Martin as a major influence after his difficult childhood.
"Ann invited me in as part of her family and shared the first real kindness and love I ever knew," he said. "It was through her I explored my love of music and theater, and because of her I was exposed to the styles of art I love so much now."
Osteoarthritis had confined Mrs. Martin to a wheelchair during the 1990s, and last year she became bedridden but continued painting, her husband said.
A celebration of her life and work will be held in September at the Columbia Arts Center.
In addition to her husband, Mrs. Martin is survived by a brother, John Crake Aves of Grand Rapids, Mich.; a daughter, Jamie Ann Martin of Knoxville, Tenn.; and a son, Peter G. Lukidis of Evanston, Ill.