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Plein Air Artist Marilyn Eger: Inspired by Nature

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Acclaimed artist Marilyn Eger remembers the thrill of receiving her first paint-by-numbers kit when she was just five years old. As a little girl in St. Louis, Missouri, that gift from her grandmother ignited a fire that has burned in her ever since.

From grade school onward, Marilyn found herself endlessly drawing in the margins of her notebooks as she listened to her teachers and took immense delight in any assignment that included the chance to paint or illustrate. One assignment she remembers with particular fondness was a botany project that contained “a minimum of 75 percent pictures,” she said, laughing. Marilyn went on to study at Kansas City Art Institute, Delta Community College, Sacramento State and Cal State Stanislaus, eventually earning her master’s degree in fine art from San Francisco’s Academy of Fine Art.

That level of education and expertise wasn’t something she wanted to keep to herself. Marilyn has never stopped sharing the joy of art, especially with students, teaching at Bear Creek High School for 25 years. She is now retired from that job but has happy memories of guiding no fewer than 160 students per semester in the various practices of drawing, painting, sculpture, woodcuts, printmaking and AP Art.

Marilyn and her husband, Jerry, now live in the gently rolling farmlands of Clements, California, where they farm 45 acres of olive orchards of some 35,000 trees. Mostly a plein air painter, she tends to go out early in the day when the light is ideal and paints on site before heading back to the studio where she can refer to photos, if needed, to complete the piece. She adores documenting the farming history and rural beauty of the area as well as “the little details” that make up life all around her. Her goal is to capture a moment, a special feeling, and to share that magic with others.
In April 2023, Marilyn’s paintings were featured in HERLIFE Magazine’s agriculture-themed issue. Through her mastery of light and subject matter, her art causes the viewer to stop and absorb the beauty, color, glow and genuine serenity of her compositions.

Marilyn accepts commissioned requests from customers and most recently agreed to paint on site during a wedding at Durst Winery. She shared that it was an extraordinary experience and truly a joy to create a painting for the bride and groom that captured the magic of their special day.

For Marilyn, creating the wedding painting was just one example of how art has given her a deep attachment to the community. She feels meaningful connections from contributing to special events, her years teaching art at Bear Creek High School and instructing at the Lodi Community Art Center. Describing her current work at the art center, she elaborated, “There are so many lovely people there who have so much in common with me, and we just share so much with one another. It’s an extended community that is very important to me and to the other people there.”
In addition to teaching classes at the Lodi Community Art Center, Marilyn also curates the hanging of their art shows, both on site and annually at Durst Winery. It was this connection, in fact, that led to her painting the recent wedding. The event lent itself perfectly to her plein air style. Besides her upcoming art classes, Marilyn is also anticipating the Art Center’s Small Works event in December and their Holiday Boutique, December 9 and 10, where art and many other items will be for sale.

Marilyn says she is a very grateful person and explained that gratitude is something artists seem to have in common. “Almost every artist I know is very grateful, especially for the beauty around us. Capturing that beauty just gives you a sense of appreciation.” As well as her appreciation for beauty, Marilyn feels grateful for the prefered camaraderie she shares with fellow artists, students, and friends who regularly gather in her large barn-turned-studio to paint, share suggestions, and just catch up.

No matter the medium, Marilyn has found all art students have one attribute in common. “They can do so much more than they think they can.”

To see more of Marilyn Eger’s art, exhibits, or to purchase, visit, or To view the schedule of art classes and events at the Lodi Community Art Center, visit